• SPOTLIGHTS




    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


    FEATURE ARTICLE

    LA RECOLTE CAJUN BAND

    PLANTING SEEDS FOR A NEW CROP OF CAJUN CULTURE

    By Karen Redding

    LA RECOLTE CAJUN BANDAppearing on the West Coast for the very first time at the Long Beach Bayou Festival on Saturday, June 18, 2016, La Recolte Cajun Band is bringing the state of Louisiana with them- the state of mind, body, heart and soul of Acadiana and the state of authentic, traditional Cajun music.

    Read more: LA RECOLTE CAJUN BAND


    CONCERT REVIEW

    How to Tell the Real Bob Dylan

    In Concert at the Shrine Auditorium - June 16, 2016

    By Ross Altman, PhD

    Bob DylanStately, skinny Bob Dylan came from the stairhead, bearing a metal harmonica rack on which an acoustic Gibson guitar and “G” harp lay crossed. He opened with The Times, They Are A-Changing. But this was fifty-three ago, 1963, at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. This evening, at the Shrine Auditorium, he enters with a white, broad-brimmed hat reinforced with white coat and steps up to the microphone in front of a five-piece band with the opening strains of his Oscar-winning song, Things Have Changed.

    Read more: How to Tell the Real Bob Dylan


    CD REVIEWS

    TITLE: GUITAR STORIES

    ARTIST: JIM “KIMO” WEST

    LABEL: WESTERNMOST RECORDS (673553000928)

    RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 20, 2015

    By Audrey Coleman

    Jim Kimo West - Guitar StoriesFrom Maui to the mainland, Jim “Kimo” West has forged a reputation as a slack key guitar player worthy of kudos from Hawaiian masters of the open chord playing style based on dozens of mood-tinged tunings. George Kahumoku has invited him to play in the legendary Slack Key Show in Maui.

    Read more: JIM “KIMO” WEST - GUITAR STORIES


    TITLE: ALL THESE YEARS

    ARTIST: SOLAS

    LABEL: THL RECORDS

    RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 17, 2016

    By Anya Sturm

    Solas - All These YearsFor the past 20 years, Solas has blurred the line of modern and traditional Irish music. In their new album, All These Years, they blend traditional and contemporary tunes, American and Irish music, and even rock with traditional Celtic energy. Moira Smiley, the new singer, joins the long standing members consisting of Seamus Egan (flute, tenor banjo, mandolin, whistles, guitars, bodhran), Winifred Horan (fiddles, vocals), Eamon McElholm (guitars, keyboards, vocals) and, Mick McAuley (button accordion, vocals).

    Read more: SOLAS - ALL THESE YEARS


    TITLE: BEHAVE THE BRAVEST

    ARTIST: NUALA KENNEDY

    LABEL: UNDER THE ARCH RECORDS

    RELEASE DATE: January 29, 2016

    By Jackie Morris

    Nuala Kennedy - Behave the BravestA true Celtic gem! Nuala Kennedy’s fourth solo album, Behave The Bravest – Traditional Music from Ireland, Scotland, and Beyond - is a brilliant display of the acclaimed singer and flutist’s multi-faceted talent. The album, recorded over six months on three continents – while Nuala was on tour with her band in the U.K., Australia and the U.S. – provides a lovely mix of traditional music with an excitingly fresh sound. There are ancient ballads...a waulking song, sung in Gaelic...love songs from Scotland and Ulster...a contemporary Celtic instrumental...and two instrumental medleys, one of reels and the other of jigs.

    Read more: BEHAVE THE BRAVEST - NUALA KENNEDY


    TITLE: CAN’T STAY HERE THIS A-WAY

    ARTIST: BRUCE MOLSKY

    LABEL: OLD-TIME TIKI PARLOUR

    RELEASE DATE: MAY 2016

    By Pat Mac Swyney

    Bruce Molsky - Can't Stay Here This a-Way Last summer, the trailer for this latest release from the Old-Time Tiki Parlour started showing up on social media. It opens with black screen audio of Bruce Molsky blazing through the classic fiddle tune Old Sledge followed by a seemingly audacious quote from Darol Anger, a founding member and fiddler from the David Grisman Quintet; declaring Bruce Molsky to be “The Rembrandt of Appalachian Fiddle.”

    Read more: BRUCE MOLSKY - CAN’T STAY HERE THIS A-WAY


    COLUMN OF THE WEEK

    May-June 2016

    SAM EDELSTON

    FROM CLOCK RADIO TO MOUNTAIN DULCIMER

    By Joellen Lapidus

    Sam simply playingNancy Barker, who runs Kentucky Music Week, a mega one week dulcimer festival in Bardstown, Kentucky, sent me an email with the link: a mountain dulcimer arrangement of She’s Always A Woman by Billy Joel.

    My mind was blown, and I wrote Nancy, “Who is this guy?” After contacting him through Facebook, I spoke with him and discovered his road to dulcimer innovation...

    Read more: SAM EDELSTON

    PASSINGS

    Remembering Guy Clark:

    Goodbye to a Great One You Never Knew

    By Larry Wines

    Guy ClarkGuy Clark, an unquestionably influential artist, has left us. Johnny Cash was the first to record one of his songs. Next, Bobby Bare made the top-40 with another. All en-route to a number-one by Ricky Scaggs with a third. There were more. And it wasn't just his writing. He received two Grammy nominations for albums of his own, and there was a Grammy nom for the two-disc tribute by lots of big names singing from his deep catalog of originals.

    I interviewed him twice, once for print, once on live radio, where he sang with his guitar and longtime side man Verlon Thompson, and rang the phones off the wall. Both occasions were truly memorable. We'll get to that.

    Read more: REMEMBERING GUY CLARK


    everything but ...

    RIP: RALPH STANLEY

    (February 25, 1927 – June 23, 2016)

    RALPH EDMUND STANLEY (February 25, 1927 – June 23, 2016), also known as Dr. Ralph Stanley, was an American bluegrass artist, known for his distinctive singing and banjo playing. Stanley began playing music in 1946, originally with his brother Carter as part of the "Stanley Brothers", and most often as the leader of his band, the "Clinch Mountain Boys". He was part of the first generation of bluegrass musicians and was inducted into both the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor and the Grand Ole Opry.

    Read more: RIP: RALPH STANLEY


    FULL CALENDAR

    MUSIC       DANCE

    TODAY'S CALENDAR 6/27/16


    MUSIC


    7:00pm THE SAN GABRIEL 7

    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


    7:00pm - 10:00pm UKULELE AT THE E.P. FOSTER LIBRARY (SONGMAKERS)

    second & fourth Monday

    E.P. Foster Library

    651 East Main St., Ventura, CA

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


    7:30pm KULAK'S WOODSHED OPEN MIC (SIGNUP AT 7:00PM)

    every Monday

    Kulak's Woodshed

    5230-1/2 Laurel Canyon Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91607-4934

    818-766-9913


    7:30pm BROMBIES BLUEGRASS

    every Monday

    Viva Cantina

    900 Riverside Dr., Burbank, CA 91506

    818-515-4444

    Jo Ellen Doering 323-874-0213 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    9:00pm - 11:00pm CELTIC ARTS CENTER IRISH MUSIC SESSION

    every Monday

    Celtic Arts Center @ The Mayflower Club

    4843 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Studio City, CA

    818-760-8322


    DANCE


    7:00pm - 10:00pm CLAREMONT ISRAELI DANCERS

    every Monday

    Claremont Masonic Lodge

    272 West 8th St., Claremont, CA

    Yael Steinfeld 909-921-7115 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    7:30pm - 9:30pm SAN PEDRO BALKAN FOLK DANCERS

    every Monday

    Dalmatian American Club

    17th & Palos Verdes, San Pedro, CA

    Zaga Grgas 310-832-4317


    7:30pm - 10:30pm SKANDIA SOUTH (SCANDINAVIAN DANCING)

    every Monday

    Downtown Community Center

    250 E. Center St., Anaheim, CA

    Ted Martin 714-533-8667 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    7:30pm - 9:00pm SAN DIEGO FOLK DANCERS

    every Monday

    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.


    7:45pm - 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 - 9:00pm CELTIC ARTS CENTER IRISH CéILí DANCE

    every Monday

    Celtic Arts Center @ The Mayflower Club

    4843 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Studio City, CA

    818-760-8322


    8:00pm WESTWOOD ISRAELI DANCING

    every Monday

    Westwood Masonic Lodge

    2244 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA

    Erica Goldman 617-388-7457 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    8:00pm SAN DIEGO ISRAELI DANCERS

    every Monday

    Infinity Sport Dance Center

    4428 Convoy St., San Diego, CA

    Yoni Carr 760-631-0802 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    8:00pm RISING PHOENIX MORRIS DANCING

    every Monday

    Santa Monica Morris

    various locations, Santa Monica, CA

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


    9:00pm - 11:00pm UCLA FOLK DANCERS

    every Monday

    UCLA Ackerman Student Union Building - 2nd Floor Lounge Room

    Westwood, CA

    310-284-3636 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    9:00pm - 11:00pm UCLA ISRAELI DANCING

    every Monday

    UCLA Kerckhoff Hall Grand Salon (Summer: Ackerman Building/B

    308 Westwood Plaza, Westwood, CA

    James Zimmer 310-284-3638 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.