• FEATURE ARTICLES

    DULCIMER FESTIVAL

    BEST OF TRADITION AND INNOVATION MEET

    By Leo Kretzner

    The 22nd Annual Harvest Festival of Dulcimers is this Saturday, October 1, in Costa Mesa (full details below). After a day of workshops, the evening concert presents a pair of performances featuring the very best of folk innovation and deep folk roots: Robert Force, pre-eminent west coast fretted dulcimer innovator of over 40 years, AND Cathy Barton and David Para, likewise seasoned professionals, from the heartlands of Missouri, on hammered dulcimer, banjo, guitar… and leaf. Yes, the leaf! Must be seen and heard to be believed!

    Read more: DULCIMER FESTIVAL


    Boots of Spanish Leather: Germán López in Concert

    Raitt Recital Hall, Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA

    By Ross Altman, PhD

    German LopezPart 1 – Germán López in concert at Pepperdine University

    The Spanish Civil War began eighty years ago last July 17, so Spain has been much on my mind this year. The Abraham Lincoln Brigade volunteers who sacrificed their lives to save the Spanish Republic from fascism made it an American war; 3,000 went to Spain and only 1500 came home—the bravest of the brave, Pete Seeger called them. The Lincoln Brigade’s last surviving veteran—Delmer Berg—passed away this year in Modesto, California at the age of 100—Modesto’s only white member of the NAACP. Picasso created the mural Guernica–the greatest painting of the 20th Century—in response to the bombing of the Basque village of Guernica.

    Read more: BOOTS OF SPANISH LEATHER: GERMÁN LÓPEZ


    CD REVIEWS

    TITLE: THE BEAUTIFUL NOT YET

    ARTIST: CARRIE NEWCOMER

    LABEL: AVAILABLE LIGHT RECORDS

    RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 16, 2016

    By Jackie Morris

    Carrie.Newcomer.TBNY .AlbumPageProfound and poetic, Carrie Newcomer’s 16th album, The Beautiful Not Yet, soothes the soul as it stimulates the senses. Capturing the mystery and miracle in the everyday, the songs are at once spiritual and down to earth, filled with wisdom and heart.

    If you simply read the lyrics on her website, you’ll find the words read like poetry. But in truth, even if I didn’t understand a word of English, I would still think this is one beautiful album. The primary reason is Newcomer’s voice – that celebrated, rich contralto that is so luscious, warm and honest, so natural yet perfectly nuanced, that it makes you feel good just to listen to it. Additionally, The Beautiful Not Yet features an array of gorgeous harmonies and an exciting blend of traditional roots instrumentation (banjo, acoustic guitar and mandolin) and chamber music (cello, violin, and piano).

    Read more: CARRIE NEWCOMER - THE BEAUTIFUL NOT YET


    TITLE: WHAT THE HEART WANTS

    ARTIST: BRITTA LEE SHAIN

    LABEL: INDIGO DESERT QUEEN

    RELEASE DATE: 2016

    By Jackie Morris

    Britta Lee Shain - What the Heart WantsBritta Lee Shain’s second CD, What the Heart Wants, should come with a warning label: “This album may be addictive.” In truth, I cannot stop listening to it. Shain’s unique brand of cool, bluesy folk-rock is more than “that good.” It is compelling.

    The album was released in tandem with the publication of Shain’s new book, Seeing The Real You At Last: Life and Love on the Road with Bob Dylan, a personal memoir chronicling her time with the folk icon in the 1980s. (One of the songs is a co-write with him, another is a cover of one of his latter-day (1997) hits, and still another … or others … are about him.) But regardless of this intriguing liaison, I have to emphasize that these songs stand on their own. And then some.

    Read more: BRITTA LEE SHAIN - WHAT THE HEART WANTS


    COLUMN OF THE WEEK

    September-October 2016

    The Return of the Santa Barbara Old-Time Fiddlers’ Convention

    By David Bragger

    FIDDLERS 2016The 45th Annual Santa Barbara Old-Time Fiddlers’ Convention & Festival (located in Goleta) is coming! On Sunday, October 9th, history is about to be remade. I am so pleased and proud to announce that I’ve been appointed the artistic director of the festival. After a strange turn of events over the last few years, the festival is now under the patronage of The Goleta Valley Historical Society! With the GVHS takeover and founder Peter Feldmann’s full blessing, I’m bringing back the original vision of the festival: Old-Time Music!

    What to expect:

    Read more: THE RETURN OF THE SANTA BARBARA OLD-TIME FIDDLERS’ CONVENTION

    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 10/1/16


    MUSIC


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    9:00am-8:00pm HARVEST FESTIVAL OF DULCIMERS

    6-8pm Concert: Cathy Barton & Dave Para; Robert Force

    Presbyterian Church of the Covenant

    2850 Fairview Road, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

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


    11:30am - 10:30pm TOPATOPA MOUNTAIN FOLK FEST

    With The White Buffalo, Grizfolk, Jaime Wyatt and the Bang Bangs,
    Todd Hannigan & Sleeping Chief, Shane Alexander & The Great Favorites,
    Dear Lemon Trees, Lee Koch Trio, The Brambles, Bryan Titus Trio

    Libbey Bowl

    201 South Signal Street, Ojai, CA 93023

    805-646-2094


    5:30pm PAUL ASBELL / DORIAN MICHAEL

    Santa Barbara Acoustic Instrument Celebration (SBAIC) Guitar Summit

    SOHo Restaurant and Music Club

    1221 State St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101

    805-962 7776


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    7:00pm JONATHAN McEUEN

    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.


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    7:30pm DOLLY PARTON

    Hollywood Bowl

    2301 North Highland Ave., Hollywood, CA 90068

    323-850-2000 213-480-3232


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    7:30pm ANNIE & THE HOT CLUB FEATURING RICHARD SMITH / MURIEL ANDERSON

    Santa Barbara Acoustic Instrument Celebration (SBAIC) Guitar Summit

    Lobero Theatre

    33 E.Canon Perdido St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101

    805-963-0761


    fwpick

    7:30pm RICHARD SHINDELL

    Brick 15

    915 Camino del Mar, Del Mar, CA 92014

    858-225-1315


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    8:00pm BOB NEUWIRTH & FRIENDS

    McCabe’s Guitar Shop

    3101 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405

    310-828-4497


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    8:00pm ROSANNE CASH

    Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons

    26455 Rockwell Canyon Rd., Santa Clarita, CA 91355

    661-362-5304


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    8:00pm WHISKEY SUNDAY

    Tam O’Shanter

    2980 Los Feliz Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90039

    323-664-0228


    10:00pm BIG BAD ROOSTER

    The Pike Bar & Fish Grill

    1836 E. 4th St., Long Beach, CA 90802

    562-437-4453



    DANCE


    NO EVENTS TODAY


    RECURRING EVENTS


    MUSIC


    2:00pm - 5:00pm NORTHRIDGE SONG CIRCLE (SONGMAKERS)

    first Saturday

    Northridge (Contact via Songmakers website)

    Unlisted, Northridge, CA

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

    Lisa Reinhardt 818-885-6108 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    6:30pm - 11:00pm SANTA MONICA TRADITIONAL FOLK MUSIC CLUB

    first Saturday

    Sha'Arei Am (Santa Monica Synagogue)

    1448 18th St., Santa Monica, CA 90404

    310-453-4276

    April Wayland 310-376-8760 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    6:30pm - 10:30pm ME-N-ED'S PIZZA PARLOR BLUEGRASS CONCERTS

    every Saturday

    Me N Eds Pizza Parlor

    4115 Paramount Blvd., Lakewood, CA 90712

    562-421-8908


    8:00pm FRET HOUSE OPEN MIC (SIGNUP 7:30PM)

    first Saturday

    Fret House

    309 N. Citrus, Covina, CA 91723-2006

    626-339-7020


    9:00pm G BURNS JUG BAND

    first Saturday

    Black Cat Bar

    4246 University Ave, San Diego, CA

    619-280-5834


    DANCE


    6:00pm - 9:00pm SOLVANG VILLAGE FOLK DANCERS

    first, second, fourth & fifth Saturday

    Bethania Lutheran Parish Hall

    603 Atterdag Rd., Solvang, CA

    David Heald 805-688-3397


    7:30pm - 11:00pm 1ST SATURDAY BRENTWOOD CONTRADANCE

    first Saturday

    Brentwood Youth House

    731 So. Bundy Dr., Brentwood, CA

    626-205-2044

    Beata Ponder 310-621-8538 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    8:00pm - 11:00pm VESELO SELO FOLK DANCERS

    first, third & fifth Saturday

    Unitarian Universalist Church in Anaheim

    511 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, CA

    Kathy Molga 949-573-1585


CARRIE NEWCOMER
HER LEGACY OF PEACE
THROUGH MUSIC

AN INTERVIEW

By Terry Roland

CARRIE_NEWCOMER.jpg
Photo by Jim McGuire

Carrie Newcomer is not so much a hit maker as she is a legacy-maker. And it's quite a legacy she's been creating; a flow of songs that stream down from her life as a writer, philosopher, peace activist, conservationist and a silence-practicing Quaker. 'Pay attention' she says, and so doing, miracles emerge in an abundance of small ways. Her peace-activism is not about the absence of war, but the presence of a grace everyone can experience each day by practicing what she refers to as 'the greatest law, love.'

Her current tour in support of her new album, Before & After, follows a good will mission to India where she shared her music and participated in the daily life of the people there. As she spoke on the phone from her Indiana home she elaborated on her philosophy and the influences behind her legacy of songs that serve to point her audience toward a deeper appreciation of their everyday lives.

CARRIE NEWCOMER
HER LEGACY OF PEACE THROUGH MUSIC

AN INTERVIEW

By Terry Roland

Carrie Newcomer plays at McCabe's on Friday, March 12 at 8:00pm  

CARRIE_NEWCOMER.jpg
Photo by Bill McGuire

Carrie Newcomer is not so much a hit maker as she is a legacy-maker. And it's quite a legacy she's been creating; a flow of songs that stream down from her life as a writer, philosopher, peace activist, conservationist and a silence-practicing Quaker. 'Pay attention' she says, and so doing, miracles emerge in an abundance of small ways. Her peace-activism is not about the absence of war, but the presence of a grace everyone can experience each day by practicing what she refers to as 'the greatest law, love.'

Her current tour in support of her new album, Before & After, follows a good will mission to India where she shared her music and participated in the daily life of the people there. As she spoke on the phone from her Indiana home she elaborated on her philosophy and the influences behind her legacy of songs that serve to point her audience toward a deeper appreciation of their everyday lives.

TERRY: How did you get started with the music as a career?

CARRIE: I started early on. I didn't come from a musical family. There was a music/arts program in the public school where I was raised. I became a part of wave of musicians and artists during my teenage years. I fell in love with poetry as I learned to pick guitar. I wrote some awful songs, but I was always drawn to the stories in the music. I went for visual arts in college. I got a degree to go along with it. I didn't start out in music even though it was my first love. But, then I began playing at schools, in coffee houses, and bowling alleys.

TERRY: Your songs carry a literary feel to them. Also, there are spiritual overtones.

CARRIE: I am a big reader. I love to read books. I love ideas. I love beautifully written language. I always leaned into language and stories. My dad was an educator. For me, reading has really made a difference. Spiritually, I've been a life long seeker. I don't think there are a lot of easy answers. There are really good questions. But, it's the questions that sustain me. Good questions are at the heart of my life. You know, it's the realm of the poets, theologians and mystics. That's how I approach songwriting.

TERRY: Tell me about the new album, Before & After.

CARRIE: It's about finding something extraordinary in an ordinary day. About paying attention. The idea of being in the moment. We live such busy lives. Someone once said we don't remember days, we remember moments. We remember songs.

TERRY: In one song you refer to religious cornflakes. What is that?

CARRIE: (Laughs) It's a metaphor for the packaged religion of today. The superficial. You know, it's like fast-food. It doesn't sustain you for very long. I have a spiritual current running through my work. But it's not exclusive, it's inclusive. I don't want to put the Sacred in a box.

TERRY: You identify yourself as Quaker.

CARRIE: I didn't grow up Quaker. I discovered it later. What drew me in was the silence. I've been attending a silent meeting for over 20 years. It's funny because people will say, ‘you're a woman whose life is in sound!' But, it's a balance. Some of my best language comes out of silence. It is actually really understandable.

TERRY: The silence-meditative place inspires music?

CARRIE: Yes. Taking time to be quiet, to reflect. Being a writer is a very solitary profession. You're alone a lot. You're committed to sitting down and showing up for work. You really have to sit down and be with the practice of writing. It's been said, writers get to live their lives twice. You live it, then you write it. There's a song on the album, I Meant To Do My Work Today. It's about that idea. We're so busy and there are all of these things we need to do. But, there are times when we're called to do nothing. We're a busy culture. Doing is everything. You know, I'm a proponent of doing. I love engaging. But there's a balance between being engaged and being quiet.

TERRY: Some of this sounds a bit like Zen.

CARRIE: I've heard Quakers called Zen-Christians. Some Quakers don't call themselves Christians. But, I've heard the term and it makes sense. There's a place for the contemplative, for the practice of meditation on the simplicity of the moment. You know, the Dali Lama always stops in our little town in southern Indiana. He has a brother who lives there. It's funny to read his itinerary....New York, Chicago, Bloomington, Indiana...(we both laugh). But there's a vibrant Buddhist community in the area.

TERRY: Do you take your songs beyond the spiritual, philosophical themes?

CARRIE: As a student of philosophy and religion there's a lot in the songs about my own exploration. I find wonderful truth there. The songs then become inclusive, compelling. It's a tricky thing to have universal themes. You can't write about world peace all the time. It's just too big to get your arms around. But, you can write about things that happen everyday. I can tell a story with particular human details.

TERRY: That's illustrated in the song, I Do Not Know Its Name, the story about meeting the man on the airport shuttle.

CARRIE: It's a true story. The title comes from the saying....'the name that can be named is not the Tao.' We just experience these moments of transcendence, these moments when we feel larger than ourselves. Maybe it can be found in some formal spiritual practice. But it's there in the little moments. I was on this shuttle early when this wonderful man just started singing and he told me he sang in a gospel choir. He finished the song, the doors opened and I never saw him again. I never forgot it. These are the moments we remember. Life is a series of these moments.

TERRY: How do you deal with conversation with the larger ‘Christian' community?

CARRIE: We talk in metaphor. As soon as you start to talk this way and people take it for something literal, it stops being a metaphor. People take it for something solid. This puts the Sacred into a very small container. I think it's interesting now. There's a spiritual movement everywhere. There's a rumble out there. People are really interested in spiritual conversation. They're not looking for easy answers, but authentic spiritual conversation. They sometimes find their way to my work. Putting ideas into action, making a difference. You know, the greatest law is love, but what does that mean? I had a conversation about this with author, Parker Palmer. He's a Mennonite. I love his work. It was this idea that we may not see the fruit of the seeds we plant but it's no less important to drop the seeds. Like the ripple in water from a small stone. But, this is not always encouraged in our culture. This is in the song, Stones in the River.

TERRY: Are there any other themes running through Before and After?

CARRIE: The title song is about moments that have changed me. They could be large or they could be very small moments. Once a friend read me a Mary Oliver poem over breakfast. I was never the same. Sometimes, it's just a friend who sits down with you. And I think, ‘how did she know what I needed most was someone to sit down and say it'll be okay?' The song Before and After is also about forgiveness, which begins with self-forgiveness. We have to give up all hope that we can ever change the past. Nothing can change what has happened. You get this loop in your head, how things might have turned out different. It takes forgiveness to step beyond that. I forgive myself, then I can forgive others. So, the songs on this album are universal themes written in a personal way.

TERRY: One of the most engaging songs on the album is Do No Harm.

CARRIE: It was inspired by a story by Scott Russell Sanders. It's from a collection of short stories, Wilderness Plots: Tales About the Settlement of the American Land taken from stories and incidents he encountered. It's funny, tragic, bewildering. This particular story was called Savages. He had read about this part of the country that was being settled by a man from the east. He was establishing a Utopian society where native Americans and white settlers could live and work together. It worked for ten years. Eventually, others came and it ended. But, the song is about trying to hold the balance with the best of our human nature. We've seen the worst, but we're quite capable of the best. We can achieve this. There is a violent side to human nature and those who don't get the idea of the greatest law, love. Look what happened in this story. We hold the tension between the worst and the very best of our nature.

TERRY: Tell me about your influences.

CARRIE: I have to say I was inspired early on by the singing poets with beautiful, interesting lyrics and poetry. Early on it was Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. That vein of songwriter and they still come out with amazing writing. Also, high on my influences list is a local songwriting group in Bloomington. There are five of us. We bring songs to the group. We give each other challenges. We push our edges. I've been part of this group for 8 years now. It's really a wonderful experience. One of the members is Krista Detor. She's so good. A good writer and singer. She sings harmony on Do No Harm. She has this beautiful low voice in the tenor range. Like Mary Chapin. It's so fun to sing with her. You don't usually hear two women with low voices. Singing together, we strike this sound. It works quite well.

TERRY: Who influences the ideas that come out of your songs?

CARRIE: Authors like Russell Sanders. I've worked with Barbara Kingsolver. Also Philip Gulley. I've really admired their work. It all works together.

TERRY: I heard you called If Not Now your first real folk song.

CARRIE: (laughs) Well, it's my first sing-along. It's a group song in the spirit of We Shall Overcome. It was written for a specific purpose. But, I hope it wouldn't be for just one thing but would reach across to all kinds of issues that need our attention, like health care. When do we start taking care of the least of these. When do we give our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters full legal rights? It can be used in a variety of ways. It's a song of hope.

TERRY: From the album, you have some really fine musicians featured.

CARRIE: Yes. There's Gary Walters on piano. He's worked with me for five or six years now. He's a wonderful pianist. He's with me on the album tour. I occasionally work with a band. A cellist and violinist. I love the musicians on this new album. They are a great combination of musicians. They're elegant players. Everyone on this album is masters of their instruments. It's not about how many notes they play, but that the right notes are placed perfectly, uncluttered. It's all about the song. That's what makes this work.

TERRY: There's a phrase which seems to sum up a lot of your philosophy. It's on the album, something about the center.

CARRIE: Yes. If holy is a sphere that cannot be rendered, / There is no middle place because all of it is center. It's inspired by a concept in physics.

TERRY: It strikes me as the inclusive/universal theme you've emphasized on Before and After and much of your previous work. I look forward to hearing the songs live. See you at McCabe's on March 12!

Terry Roland is an English teacher, freelance writer, occasional poet, songwriter and folk and country enthusiast. The music has been in his blood since being raised in Texas. He came to California where he was taught to say ‘dude' at an early age.