• PASSINGS

    RIP: ALAN JABBOUR

    (June 21, 1942-January 13, 2017)

    Alan Jabbour

    Alan Jabbour:

    Fiddler, Scholar, and Preserver of Tradition

    By Steve Goldfield

    Reprinted with permission from Summer 2006 issue of Fiddler Magazine

    Alan Jabbour has long been an integral part of the preservation of old time fiddling in America. Beginning his professional life as a professor of English Literature and Folklore, Alan soon moved into the musical arena, eventually becoming head of the Archive of Folk Culture at the Library of Congress, director of the Folk Arts program at the National Endowment for the Arts, and then director of the American Folklife Center. As a member of the Hollow Rock String Band, Alan brought old tunes to new audiences, and his documention of tunes from Henry Reed, the Hammons Family, and many others gave them a new life. Alan’s acclaimed recent album of fiddle and banjo duets with Ken Perlman is proof of a musical career still going strong.

    Read more: ALAN JABBOUR


    FEATURE ARTICLE

    How Did You Celebrate Martin Luther King’s Birthday?

    Lisa Finnie Broadcasting Live From “The Curvaceous Slopes of California”

    On The Dylan Hour and Masters of Song, 11:00am—1:00pm KCSN 88.5 FM

    By Ross Altman, PhD

    Bob Dylan Joan Baez and Paul Stookey
    Photo by Dan Budnik
    Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Paul Stookey at the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963 for the March On Washington.

    87 years after the most important moral leader of 20th Century America was born on January 15, 1929, his I Have a Dream speech from the 1963 March on Washington was played in its magnificent entirety by host Lisa Finnie to open her January 15 Dylan Hour radio broadcast on Martin Luther King’s birthday. Well, as poet e.e. cummings once wrote, “albutnotquitemost.”

    Read more: How Did You Celebrate Martin Luther King’s Birthday?


    SPOTLIGHT

    A NIGHT WITH WOODY GUTHRIE

    January 18th - 8:00pm

    Sidewalk Studio Theatre
    4150 W. Riverside Dr., Burbank, CA 91505

    Charged with songs like “1913 Massacre” “Union Maid” “Little Saka Sugar” “Going Down This Road Feeling Bad” and “This Land Is Your Land,” Rob Tepper steps into the shoes of America’s father of Folk Music, giving audiences a taste of the “Eternal teenager – scrawny, petulant, hilarious, angry… free,” through storytelling and song in, A NIGHT WITH WOODY GUTHRIE, directed by Sal Romeo.

    Read more: A NIGHT WITH WOODY GUTHRIE


    COLUMN OF THE WEEK

    January-February 2017

    GUANTANAMERA: JOSÉ MARTÍ TO FIDEL CASTRO

    By Ross Altman, PhD

    fidel-castro-marti-smRevolutions don’t take place in velvet boxes. It’s only the poets who make them lovely.

    ~ Carl Oglesby, President of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), 1965-66

    Imagine an American airport named for one of our great poets—like Edgar Allan Poe International Airport, or Walt Whitman Airport, or Emily Dickinson Airport; a pretty strange notion is it not? For the most part, in our country you have to be responsible for the deaths of thousands before anyone would think of naming an airport after you; think JFK in New York, or Ronald Reagan Airport in Washington, DC. Yet in a tiny island country just ninety miles away, their major airport is proudly named for their national poet: José Martí International Airport in Havana, Cuba. Who was José Martí?

    Read more: GUANTANAMERA: JOSÉ MARTÍ TO FIDEL CASTRO

    GRAMMY NOMINEES


    CD REVIEWS

    TITLE: THE LOVE STILL SHOWS

    ARTIST: DONNA LYNN CASKEY

    LABEL: CORDULIA MUSIC

    RELEASE DATE: February 10, 2017

    By Steve Werner

    TheLoveStillShowsIn troubling times, a voice of simplicity, humanity and compassion can go a long way to help soothe the worried and weary, be a salve to the soul and give hope where hope is running thin. It is in precisely these times that I find myself in my truck listening over and over to the new CD by Donna Lynn Caskey The Love Still Shows.

    Read more: THE LOVE STILL SHOWS - DONNA LYNN CASKEY


    TITLE: One Light Many Windows

    ARTIST: Merlin Snider

    LABEL: Barking Dog Music

    RELEASE DATE: November 21, 2016

    By Terry Bailey

    Merlin Snider - One Light Many WindowsYears ago I visited painter Friedensreich Hundertwasser in his Venice (Italy) studio. I was surprised to see canvases lining the walls in all sorts of styles – not just the colorful spiral and raindrop paintings he was well known for at the time.

     “My gallery owner prefers that I stick to one style. He believes that is what art buyers want from artists: a consistent identity,” he explained to me. “Sadly, I cannot even bring these other works of mine into the gallery.”

    This marketing identity demand bleeds over to all art forms: too often writers, filmmakers, composers, songwriters – all creators – are pressured to create in one style and stick to it.

    Read more: MERLIN SNIDER - ONE LIGHT MANY WINDOWS


    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


    everything but ...

    In Celebration of
    Martin Luther King Day

    Nina Simone singing
    Ain't Got No, I Got Life

    Read more: NINA SIMONE - AIN'T GOT NO, I GOT LIFE


    FULL CALENDAR

    MUSIC       DANCE

    TODAY'S CALENDAR 1/18/17


    MUSIC


    7:00pm CHI MCCLEAN / NATALIE GELMAN

    Arroyo Seco Golf Clubhouse

    1055 Lohman Ln, South Pasadena, CA 91030

    323-255-1506

    Presented by Wine and Song Series


    7:30pm MURIEL ANDERSON / STANLEY JORDAN

    Whittier College - Ruth Shannon Center for the Performing Arts

    6760 Painter Ave, Whittier, CA 90601

    562-907-4203


    8:00pm P.T. GAZELL & TIM MAY

    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.


    fwpick

    8:00pm A NIGHT WITH WOODY GUTHRIE

    Sidewalk Studio Theatre

    4150 Riverside Dr., Burbank, CA 91505

    323-769-5156

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


    8:00pm FREEBO & HIS FABULOUS FRIENDS


    With Chad Watson (bass), Fuzzbee Morse & Jeff Pevar (guitars), John Molo (drums)

    Cody’s Viva Cantina

    900 Riverside Dr., Burbank, CA 91506

    818-848-8810


    8:00pm ROY ZIMMERMAN

    House Concert in Venice

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



    DANCE


    NO EVENTS TODAY


    RECURRING EVENTS


    MUSIC


    6:00pm - 8:30pm LAGUNA INTERNATIONAL DANCERS (FOLK)

    every Wednesday

    Clubhouse 2

    24112 Moulton Pkwy., Laguna Woods, CA

    Miriam 949-680-9946


    DANCE


    5:30pm - 8:00pm LAGUNA WOOD FOLK DANCERS

    every Wednesday

    Clubhouse 2

    24112 Moulton Pkwy., Laguna Woods, CA


    7:15pm - 9:30pm SAN DIEGO INTERNATIONAL FOLK DANCE CLUB

    every Wednesday

    Balboa Park Club

    2150 Pan American Plaza, San Diego, CA

    Jean Cate 858-278-4619 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    7:30pm - 9:30pm ANAHEIM INTERNATIONAL FOLK DANCERS

    every Wednesday

    Unitarian Universalist Church in Anaheim

    511 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, CA

    Ruth or Ted Shapin 714-758-1050


    7:30pm - 9:30pm CONEJO VALLEY FOLK DANCERS

    every Wednesday

    Hillcrest Center for the Arts (Small Rehearsal Room)

    403 West Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks, CA

    Jill Lundgren 805-497-1957 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    7:30pm - 10:00pm SKANDIA DANCE CLUB (SCANDINAVIAN DANCING)

    every Wednesday

    Lindberg Park

    5041 Rhoda Way, Culver City, CA

    Frances Sotcher 310-827-3618 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    8:00pm WILD WOOD MORRIS DANCING

    every Wednesday

    Whaley Park

    5620 E Atherton St., Long Beach, CA

    Julie James 562-493-7151 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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.