INTERVIEW WITH EDGAR MEYER
MULTIPLE GRAMMY AND MACARTHUR AWARD WINNING INSTRUMENTALIST AND COMPOSER
The duo’s music flows with call and response, delights with the quick melodic fingering conversation of Chris’s mandolin and the dancing, gliding bow strums of Edgar’s bass. It’s more than peanut butter and jelly…it’s like a flowing chocolate caramel swirl that delights your mind and fills your senses. And as it is with all good cooking, you can’t help but ask for more. They are very much at home playing together and this album invites us in for a listen.
I spoke with Edgar Meyer about his music and recent recording as well as the 2014 Fall tour.
GORDON LIGHTFOOT: A TRUE KNIGHT UPON THE ROAD
A PREVIEW OF THE SABAN THEATRE CONCERT - SEPTEMBER 27, 2014
Gordon Lightfoot almost lost his life in 2002 when his abdominal artery burst and he was in a coma for six weeks following the surgery that saved his life. When he finally and almost miraculously woke up he could barely play the guitar and his vocal chords were so constricted his golden voice was no more. That’s when a lifetime work ethic kicked in and literally pulled him back from the dead. Talk about a ribbon of darkness over me—this was the true crossroads and test of artistic character that he passed with flying colors.
Lightfoot started to practice guitar again like there was no tomorrow—which there almost was not—until he even surpassed his previous skill-level on the instrument that defined his sound from the early 1960s on—when he helped to create the folk revival on the entire North American continent—both his native Canada and his adopted homeland America. When others who cherished his work and recorded his imperishable songs—including Bob Dylan, Ian and Sylvia, Judy Collins and fellow Canadian Neil Young—drifted into folk rock or country rock, Gordon Lightfoot stayed true to his folk roots and never put his finger into the wind to find out what the marketplace wanted to hear. That personal certitude of an inner vision and voice is what has endeared him to fans around the world for more than fifty years. It is what has kept his music timeless as the ancient ballads and current as today’s newspaper.
NEXT FOLKWORKS CONCERT
Saturday, September 27th
8:00pm doors open at 7:00pm
(food will be available)
newly renovated Talking Stick Cafe
1411 Lincoln Blvd., Venice, CA 90291
at Lincoln and California St. in corner behind Pollo Loco
Parking available behind or in Ross Dress For Less parking lot.
General Admission: $18
FolkWorks members (Friend and above) – reserved seating: $16
Online: Nevenka Concert Tickets
By Mail: FolkWorks PO Box 55051, Sherman Oaks, CA 91413
Information: 818-785-3839 concerts@FolkWorks.org
FINAL 2014 Concert
(Click on hyperlink for tickets)
Series at the Talking Stick Café
1411 Lincoln Blvd., Venice, CA 90291
SYNCOPATHS October 25th
REMEMBERING JEAN REDPATH:
THE VOICE OF SCOTLAND
APRIL 28 1937 – AUGUST 21 2014
In the dead of winter in 1961 a brilliant young folk singer from the North Country blew into Greenwich Village and caught the eye of Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Dave Van Ronk—even sharing their village flat—and the ear of Mike Porco at Gerdes Folk City—who was booking the best and the brightest for his growing clientele of folk music fans—at the behest of the Folklore Center’s Izzy Young next door; a young Bob Dylan, from Hibbing, Minnesota?
Wrong gender; wrong city, wrong country; wrong folk singer; she was Jean Redpath—all the way from Edinburgh, Scotland—who shared an apartment with Dylan that first fateful “coldest winter in 17 years” when together they redrew the map of American folk music. Thirty-six years later, in 1997s Time Out of Mind, Dylan opened a window onto this early relationship with his long rhapsodic love song, Highlands, inspired by Robert Burns’ song My Heart’s In the Highlands, where he avowed his heart still belonged:
WHERE HAVE ALL THE VENUES GONE, LONG TIME PASSING…
Got an email from a young lady that books music for a pizza place. One of the bands I play with performed regularly there in the last couple of years. She had bad news: instead of a couple more dates before the end of the year, she let us know that the venue was dropping live music. Too bad, I liked the place, it paid fairly well and we drew good sized crowds because it was a ways from our “usual territory.” Certainly not the first venue to close up shop, nor the last. At least it wasn’t like that scene in Paul Simon’s actually quite excellent movie One Trick Pony where the band pulls up to the venue only to find it’s out of business. Sad but true, venues go out of business. Owners change. Live music is dropped.
BATTLEFIELD BAND’S NORTH AMERICAN TOUR
Scotland’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!
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.
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.