• FEATURE ARTICLES

    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


    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

    Lily Henley new song premiers ... check out our review of last years great CD, Words Like Yours.


    Read more: THE FOLKWORKS BLOG


    FULL CALENDAR click here

    TODAY'S EVENTS 11/23/14


    fwpick

    2:00pm MEN OF WORTH / BROWNE SISTERS & GEORGE CAVANAUGH

    Mayflower Club

    11110 Victory Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91606


    fwpick

    3:00pm TREMOLOCO / RICK SHEA / KEN O’MALLEY

    Connecting Folk, Country, Irish, Gulf Coast and Mexican music

    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

    3:00pm DONNA LYNN CASKEY

    WAV – Working Artists Ventura

    175 S Ventura Ave, Ventura, CA 93001


    7:00pm VICTORIA VOX

    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.


    8:00pm DENNY LANE

    McCabe’s Guitar Shop

    3101 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405

    310-828-4497


    FULL ONGOING MUSIC click here

    TODAY'S ONGOING MUSIC 11/23/14


    8:00am - 1:00pm FAIR MARKET BAND

    Hollywood Farmers Market

    Ivar Ave. & Selma Ave., Hollywood, CA 90028


    10:00am BARRY BIG B BRENNER

    Firefly Bistro

    1009 El Centro St., South Pasadena, CA 91030

    626-441-2443


    12:00pm BASC BLUEGRASS JAM

    West Valley Music Cente

    24424 Vanowen Street, West Hills, CA 91307

    818-992-4142


    1:30pm - 4:30pm SAN DIEGO FOLK SONG SOCIETY

    Serra Mesa-Kearny Mesa Branch Library

    9005 Aero Dr, San Diego, CA


    3:00pm - 5:30pm WILDE THISTLE IRISH SESSION

    Wilde Thistle

    3456 Motor Ave., Los Angeles, CA

    310-730-6208 • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    4:00pm - 7:00pm AULD DUBLINER TRADITIONAL IRISH MUSIC SESSION

    Auld Dubliner

    71 S Pine Ave., Long Beach, CA 90802

    562-437-8300


    5:00pm - 9:00pm WEST L.A. HOOT & POTLUCK (SONGMAKERS)

    West L.A. (Contact via email or website)

    www.songmakers.org, West L.A. , CA 90025

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


    5:30pm - 9:00pm THE GRAND OLE ECHO

    The Echo

    1822 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026

    213-413-8200


    7:30pm - 11:00pm O'BRIEN'S IRISH MUSIC SESSION

    O'Brien's Irish Pub and Restaurant

    2226 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90403

    310-829-5303 • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    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’


BATTLEFIELD BAND’S NORTH AMERICAN TOUR

By Ron Young

Battlefield_BandScotland’s venerable Battlefield Band has been playing great Scottish and Irish music since their formation in 1970, and they are just embarking on their latest tour of North America. Unlike some Rock and Roll bands who have become sad caricatures of themselves, they have stayed to the forefront of traditional music. They have pretty much seamlessly pulled it off with the timely changing of personnel, not always an easy or satisfying feat to accomplish.

I first saw them in the early nineteen eighties at the home of Clark and Elaine Weissman in Tarzana, who in my estimation did more to promote this kind of music in Southern California than did all the Scottish and Irish cultural organizations put together at the time. The Weissman’s also hosted Silly Wizard, Ossian, and the Tannahill Weavers, among others. To say that I was blown away, is a serious understatement, as I really thought that I had died and gone to musical Heaven! I subsequently saw then at McCabe’s in Santa Monica, the Barn at U.C. Riverside and Cal Tech in Pasadena and always enjoyed them.

The Battlefield Band, named for an area in the South of Glasgow, has had a great deal of lineup changes since their founding, and their list of alumni reads like a who’s who of great Scottish and Irish musicians. I have a sneaking suspicion that some of the current line up were just a gleam in their parent’s eyes, when the band first hit the road.

The current musicians are Sean O’Donnell (vocals, guitar), Ewen Henderson (fiddle, bagpipes, whistles, piano, and vocals), Alasdair White (fiddle, tin whistle, banjo, bouzouki, Highland bagpipes, small pipes, and bodhran), Mike Katz (Highland bagpipes, small pipes, various whistles, bass guitar, and guitar). A swift piece of arithmetic comes up with around twenty instruments, which must be no fun for their roadie!

They are currently beginning their umpteenth tour of the States, which will include AMSD Concerts in San Diego on the 24th of March, Ojai Women’s Club on the 27th and Freight and Salvage in Berkeley on the 28th. If you have seen them before, then you will know that they are the real deal (or make that the reel deal), and if you haven’t, then you are in for a treat. From frenetic jigs and reels to traditional (and not so traditional songs, such as O.V. Wright’s hit That’s How Strong My Love Is (made famous by Otis Redding). The tunes and songs continue to sound fresh, and you get the feeling that they are really enjoying themselves. Their somewhat different version of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Bad Moon Rising will always be a classic for me!

Philadelphia Folk Festival 2011
(http://www.youtube.com/v/Vn7vKDjOq1s )

I had a really interesting conversation on the 9th of March with Robin Morton, who has managed and produced them since the early days. Robin was an original member of the Boys of the Lough, so he has a very good pedigree in this particular field. It was somewhat surreal, as he was in New York, and I was in the Scottish Highlands. We talked about the current economy and its effect on musicians in general. We also discussed the current line up, and talked about the early days.

In this current climate of the internet, there is a whole world of information at your fingertips, so look them up, see what they are about, and attend one of their concerts near you. You will not regret it.

Tour Dates

New Album:

Battlefield Band's latest record Room Enough For All was released in the USA on the 19th March, by Temple Records.


Ron Young had the good fortune to grow up in rural Scotland, surrounded by the traditions of Scottish music and dance. He would like readers to know that whatever you heard about that sheep, it’s not true. Ron has spent the better part of thirty years involved with various Celtic and Scottish cultural organizations in southern California, and now back in Aberfeldy where he has continued to pursue his love of traditional music.