• FolkWorks LogoPRESENTS

    THE CROOKED JADES

    (old time MUSIC and beyond)

    Crooked Jades current lores

    Saturday, September 19th   at   8pm (doors open at 7:30pm)

    in Van Nuys at Noble House Concerts

    For more info, videos and tickets, click on the Read More below...

    Read more: CROOKED JADES CONCERT


    FEATURE ARTICLES

    Pitt Kinsolving

    A Folk Hero and a Bluegrass celebration

    By Rex Mayreis

    Pitt KinsolvingPitt Kinsolving, a man with a most distinguished name, is known for organizing folk music events, as well as getting musicians together to make music. While engineering sound for recordings, performances, and other live programs has been his profession, he has been an important force in bringing folk music to Southern California through his volunteer efforts in planning and promoting concerts and festivals, and in his active participation in hoots.

    Read more: Pitt Kinsolving - A Folk Hero and a Bluegrass celebration


    L.A. CELEBRATES “MIGHTY UKE”

    By Audrey Coleman

    Uke FestivalI can’t lay claim to the nomenclature. It comes from the title of an enchanting and informative 2010 documentary titled Mighty Uke: The Amazing Comeback of a Musical Underdog produced by Tony Coleman (no relation) and Margaret Meagher. The words beautifully capture the feistiness of those who have embraced the instrument since its adoption by Hawaiians and westerners living in the islands a little over a hundred years ago.

    Read more: L.A. CELEBRATES “MIGHTY UKE”


    COLUMN OF THE WEEK

    September-October 2015

    SINGIN’ THE MOON UP BECOMES DULCIMER JAZZ

    By Susie Glaze And Joellen Lapidus

    From Susie:

    Jean Ritchie sm
    Jean Ritchie and her dulcimer

    For these past two years, since this column’s inception, I’ve been honored and privileged to have the chance to write about my dear friend and mentor, Jean Ritchie. Doing research into Jean’s life and work, fleshing out my own scholarship on her vast, beautiful and hugely influential body of work, has been a joy. Now it’s time to announce a transition, a great evolution of sorts: the introduction of “Dulcimer Jazz” from Los Angeles musician, Joellen Lapidus.

    Joellen and I recently presented a tribute concert to Jean Ritchie at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica. During our rehearsal for the show we had some good and interesting talk about Jean, as well as great playing and singing. When Joellen was improvising on her dulcimer I noted her great innovations, calling it “dulcimer jazz.” Joellen liked that for a title and I suggested a new column for FolkWorks. So, here it is: with this transition article, we introduce the new column, which will jump into my space and carry on the legacy of Jean Ritchie.

    Read more: SINGIN’ THE MOON UP BECOMES DULCIMER JAZZ

    FILM AND THEATER REVIEW

    ALWAYS…PATSY CLINE

    PLAYING AT THE SIERRA MADRE PLAYHOUSE

    By Nick Smith

    Always Patsy ClineAlthough her musical career was already in progress, Patsy Cline didn’t make a splash on the national stage until her appearances on the Arthur Godfrey show in 1957. Before that, her music was only available in places where the audience was deliberately seeking out country-western music. Before that, she dressed in cowgirl outfits hand-made by her mother. Arthur Godfrey’s show brought her, dressed in elegant, sophisticated dresses, into homes across America, as a show heavily viewed by housewives who didn’t listen to country-western, heard her amazing voice on repeated appearances.

    Read more: ALWAYS…PATSY CLINE


    CD REVIEWS

    TITLE: TANGLED COUNTRY

    ARTIST: THE HONEY DEWDROPS

    LABEL: SELF

    RELEASE DATE: MAY 2015

    By Jackie Morris

    Honey Dewdrops - Tangled CountryWith their fourth studio album in six years, Tangled Country, The Honey Dewdrops continue to weave their addictive sound...even as they branch out from their Appalachian folk roots into Americana, blues and singer-songwriter genres.

    Characterized by compelling, earthy harmonies – so tight that they often sound as if one person is singing in two compelling voices – The Honey Dewdrops are comprised of a young, multi-talented husband-wife duo, Kagey Parrish and Laura Wortman. 

    Read more: THE HONEY DEWDROPS - TANGLED COUNTRY


    TITLE: TRADITION

    ARTIST: STUART MASON

    LABEL: NATIVE HOME MUSIC

    RELEASE DATE: MAY 26, 2015

    By Steve Goldfield

    Stuart Mason - TraditionStuart Mason is from West Virginia but lives on California's central coast. He calls his music “oldternative” which is a good word to describe branching from old roots into unusual spaces. You can hear that in the arrangement of Red Rocking Chair with traditional lyrics and banjo but unusual harmonies and Tony Furtado's slide guitar. Ryan Davidson, who coproduced, plays bass on most tracks. That tinkering with tradition continues with Jesus Met the Woman in the Well on which Mason plays mandola and Tony twangs again. On Gospel Plow, which has a more old than alternative sound, Stu returns to banjo and Amber Cross adds strong harmony vocals.

    Read more: STUART MASON - TRADITION


    BLOG

    AUGUST 22nd, 2015

    RIZWAN-MUAZZAM QAWWALI

    At Grand Performances on Saturday, August 22, 8:00pm, 5th generation torchbearers of the Qawwali tradition, these brothers’ imaginative reinterpretation of classic Sufi texts is a transcendent experience; a rare performance not to be missed. DJ and producer Neil Sparkes joins Rizwan-Muazzam for a special guest set described as “a bewitching blend of dance-floor devotional music.” .

    Read more: Blog Entry AUGUST 22nd, 2015


    FULL CALENDAR click here

    TODAY'S EVENTS 9/3/15


    7:30pm CONTRA-TIEMPO

    Jam Session & Salsa Dance

    Old Town Newhall

    Main Street; between Market and 6th St., Newhall, CA 91321

    Presented by Ford Theatres


    FULL ONGOING MUSIC click here

    TODAY'S ONGOING MUSIC 9/3/15

    Ongoing Music


    5:00pm - 8:00pm KEN O'MALLEY every Thursday

    Auld Dubliner

    71 S Pine Ave., Long Beach, CA 90802

    562-437-8300


    6:00pm - 9:00pm BRENDAN'S IRISH MUSIC SESSION first Thursday

    Brendan’s Irish Pub and Restaurant

    30315 Canwood St, Agoura Hills, CA 93010

    888-874-9400


    6:10pm FOUNTAIN VALLEY BLUEGRASS JAM first & third Thursday

    Orange County Archery

    18792 Brookhurst St, Fountain Valley, CA 92708


    6:30pm - 9:30pm WOOD 'N' LIPS OPEN MIC every Thursday

    Kaffee Meister - Santee Coffeehouse

    9225 Carlton Hills Boulevard #30, Santee, CA


    8:00pm - 11:00pm OLD TIME MUSIC JAM (HOSTED BY TRIPLE CHICKEN FOOT) first Thursday

    1642 Beer and Wine Bar

    1642 W Temple St, Los Angeles, CA 90026-5027

    213-483-5571


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.