• SPOTLIGHTS

    THE AVETT BROTHERS / LAKE STREET DIVE

    THE AVETT BROTHERS LAKE STREET DIVE

    THURSDAY, AUGUST 22, 2019 - 8:00PM
    The Greek Theatre
    2700 North Vermont, Griffith Park, Los Angeles, CA 90027
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    FRIDAY, AUGUST 23, 2019 – 7:30PM
    San Diego Civic Theatre
    1100 Third Ave., San Diego, CA 92101
     619-615-4000  
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    SATURDAY, AUGUST 24, 2019 – 6:30PM
    Santa Barbara Bowl
    1122 N. Milpas St., Santa Barbara, CA 93103-2336
     805-962-7411  

    Read more: THE AVETT BROTHERS / LAKE STREET DIVE

    THE FIRE

    THE FIRE

    FRIDAY, AUGUST 23, 2019 - 7:00PM
    BeeKay Theatre
    110 South Green St. Tehachapi, CA 93561
    Sponsored by Fiddler's Crossing

    Read more: THE FIRE

    PASSINGS

    Peter Romano

    (April 19, 1959 - July 25, 2019)

    By Mark Romano

    Peter RomanoMusician, contractor and sailor, Peter delighted in all of these, but he delighted mostly in those people around him. A member of, at various times, Big Red Sky, The Brilliant Gypsies, Falling Star, The Ploughboys, and Room Service, Peter left an indelible mark on the Southern California music scene.

    Read more: PETER ROMANO

    Bea Romano

    (July 29, 1947-July 22, 2019)

    By Larry Wines (Acoustic Americana Guide)

    Bea RomanoIt is with heavy hearts we share word of the passing of Beatrice Platt Romano, who left us on Monday, July 22nd. If you did not know Bea, you should wish you did.

    Twice, Bea performed on CNN.

    Nobody is quite sure how many instruments Bea played. The list includes Hammered Dulcimer, Autoharp, Psaltery, Shakers, Limberjacks, and Spoons, for certain. She could jump in, without hesitation, to produce Irish jigs, reels and hornpipes, and Old Time American fiddle, rag, bluegrass and waltz tunes.

    Read more: BEA ROMANO

    COLUMN OF THE WEEK

    July-August 2019

    Radio – A Casual Primer

    By Art Podell

    Roots Music LogoRadio. You are a cruel mistress. At least my marriage to you seems like that sometimes. Especially on those Saturday mornings when my cell phone squawks “cock-a-doodle-do!” (I must change that) at 4:30am and I stumble in darkness for clean underwear, fumble to a dim recollection of where I laid my jeans the night before (I could swear it was only five minutes ago.) Coffee, then check the stack of CDs and the Excel playlist neatly placed on the kitchen table. Then, double-check the stack of CDs, some printed, some hastily burned from files culled from everywhere, all the time trying to stifle a wave of panic - have I missed something? I’m on the air in less than an hour and no matter how prepared I think I am, I still picture myself staring at a microphone having just introduced a song by Peter Paul and Mary yet to my horror, thousands of listeners are hearing my son David’s 1993 high school commencement recording that somehow slipped into my pile last night. Alone in a radio studio, miles from home. Nowhere to turn. Lock the door. Is suicide not an option?

    Read more: RADIO – A CASUAL PRIMER

    CD REVIEWS

    TITLE: Sing With Me

    ARTIST: Tracy Newman

    LABEL: Run Along Home

    RELEASE DATE: June 21, 2019

    By Russ Paris

    Tracy Newman Sing With MeWhen I heard that Tracy Newman was coming out with another children’s CD, I was excited. It’s not that I’m particularly into children’s music, but I’ve got grandchildren and they sure know what they like. Fortunately, Tracy is a grandmother too and has transitioned her singer-songwriter energies into creating some of the most enjoyable and creative children’s albums over the past few years.

    Read more: TRACY NEWMAN - SING WITH ME

    TITLE: The Old Texas Fiddle Vol. 3

    ARTIST: Spencer & Rains

    LABEL: Old-Time Tiki Parlour

    RELEASE DATE: May 2019

    By Pat Mac Swyney

    vol iii cover artI’ll kick off by saying this is my third unabashedly, glowing review of a Spencer & Rains CD because…well, Spencer & Rains. No personal stake in the game other than spreading the gospel of some of my favorite contemporary Old-Time artists.

    Old Texas Fiddle Volume 3 marks the third and final installment of The Old Texas Fiddle “trilogy”.  Howard Rains comes from a long line of Texas fiddlers and along the path of pursuing Old-Time Music, he began collecting home recordings from the families of mostly long-gone Texas fiddlers of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

    Read more: SPENCER & RAINS - THE OLD TEXAS FIDDLE VOL. 3

    TITLE: RULE OF 3

    ARTIST: VÄSEN

    LABEL: EAST SIDE, INC.

    RELEASE DATE: APRIL 19, 2019

    By Stuart Mason

    Reprinted with permission fromFiddle Freak

    Vasen Rule of 3 coverSwedish folk supergroup Väsen celebrates 30 years with the release of a new album on April 19. The title Rule of 3 refers to these three decades as well as their favorite time signature, shared by both polskas and waltzes, forms which they often play. The band is a trio, forming of course a solid triangular foundation for the music itself, and among writers, the Rule of 3 is “a writing principle which suggests that a trio of events or characters is more humorous, satisfying, or effective than other numbers.” (from Wikipedia)

    Read more: VÄSEN - RULE OF 3

    TITLE: Visions

    ARTIST: Alice Howe

    LABEL: SELF PRODUCED

    RELEASE DATE: May 17, 2019

    By Russ Paris

    Alice Howe by Jim SheaAlice Howe’s highly anticipated full-length debut CD, Visions, releases in May 2019. It’s an album that lives up to expectations and could not have been written without plenty of time on the road and a strong love for the process.

    Howe’s previous EP, You’ve Been Away So Long, hit the Folk-DJ charts with a #1 song — Homeland Blues — and reached #11 itself. She has recently been selected as a Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Emerging Artist, a Formal Showcase Artist at Northeast Regional Folk Alliance, an Official Showcase Artist at the FAR-West Music Conference, and 2019 Kerrville New Folk Finalist.

    Read more: ALICE HOWE - VISIONS

    everything but ...

    Featured at the Folk/Roots Festival

    Willy Souly will be leading an African Dance Workshop

    and featured in the Evening Concert

    Read more: Willy Souly

    FULL CALENDAR

    MUSIC       DANCE

    TODAY'S CALENDAR 8/19/19


    MUSIC


    8:00pm CORY BEERS CIMBALOM BAND / FRANK FAIRFIELD & KELLY MARTIN

    The Yard

    4319 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029-3510

    Sponsored by Down at the YARD series



    DANCE


    NO EVENTS TODAY


    RECURRING EVENTS


    MUSIC


    7:00pm - 8:30pm SDBS BLUEGRASS SLOW JAM LEARNING SESSION

    third Monday

    Our Savior Lutheran Church

    4011 Ohio St, San Diego, CA

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


    7:30pm - 10:30pm BROMBIES BLUEGRASS

    every Monday

    Viva Rancho Cantina

    900 Riverside Dr., Burbank, CA 91506

    818-845-2425

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


    7:30pm - 9:30pm OC CELTIC JAM

    every Monday

    Peace Lutheran Church

    18542 Vanderlip Ave, Santa Ana, CA

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


    8:00pm - 11:00pm BASC BLUEGRASS NIGHT

    third Monday

    Viva Rancho Cantina

    900 Riverside Dr., Burbank, CA 91506

    818-845-2425


    8:30pm - 11:00pm CELTIC ARTS CENTER IRISH MUSIC SESSION

    every Monday

    Celtic Arts Center @ The Mayflower Club

    11110 Victory Blvd., North Hollywood, CA

    818-760-8322 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    9:00pm - 10:30pm CELTIC ARTS CENTER SLOW PLAY IRISH MUSIC SESSION

    every Monday

    Celtic Arts Center @ The Mayflower Club

    11110 Victory Blvd., North Hollywood, CA

    818-760-8322 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    DANCE


    10:00am - 11:30am ROBERTSON FOLK DANCE

    every Monday

    Robertson Recreation Center

    1641 Preuss Rd., Los Angeles, CA

    310-278-5383


    10:45am - 1:00pm UNIVERSITY OF JUDAISM

    every Monday

    UNIVERSITY OF JUDAISM

    5600 Mulholland Dr, Los Angeles, CA

    Natalie Stern 818-343-8009


    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.


    7:00pm - 11:30pm 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.


    7:15pm - 8:45pm SIERRA FOLK DANCERS

    every Monday

    Temple City Christian Church

    9723 Garibaldi Ave., Temple City, CA

    Ann Armstrong 626-893-0303


    7:30pm - 9:30pm 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.


    7:30pm - 9:30pm SANTA MONICA ISRAELI DANCING

    every Monday

    Beth Shir Sholom

    1827 California Ave., Santa Monica, CA

    David Katz 323 466-3411 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    7:30pm TARZANA ISRAELI DANCING

    every Monday

    MATI Center

    19626 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana, CA

    Sagi Azran


    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 - 11:00pm SWEDISH FOLK DANCE CLUB OF LOS ANGELES

    every Monday

    Skandia Hall

    2031 East Villa St., Pasadena, CA

    Norman and Jane Kindig 714-777-4036 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    8:00pm - 9:30pm SIERRA MADRE FOLK DANCE CLASS

    every Monday

    Sierra Madre Recreation Building

    611 E. Sierra Madre Blvd, Sierra Madre, CA

    Ann Armstrong 626-358-5942


    9:00pm - 11:00pm INTERNATIONAL FOLK DANCE CLUB AT UCLA

    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.


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.

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.

Every Dylan concert one goes to is a tableau of memorable images as well as a symphony of sound. This one begins on Jefferson Ave., around the corner from the entrance to the Shrine Auditorium. There are five humongous tour buses spread out over the entire block, with one right in front of the side door entrance to the back stage. A buzzing crowd of post-sixties fans is lined up in front and around it like a scene straight out of D.A. Pennebaker’s classic 1966 documentary Don’t Look Back—where every time Dylan was spotted in the back seat of a car in London there was an immediate flock of young moths drawn to a flame—straining to get a peak behind the sunglasses—into the flaming mind of the artist who wrote Desolation Row, Ballad of a Thin Man and Like a Rolling Stone.

Fifty years later and the mystery endures. Anywhere he is spotted, or even imagined he might be, crowds of onlookers gather ever hopeful for a glimpse. I wait as long as I dare, and would have waited for the doors to open, except that I know there is an opening act, and I am working for FolkWorks to cover the concert, not just a fan among many; so reluctantly at 7:30pm, I had to round the corner and go into the Shrine to see the performer whose father Dylan had once asked for his daughter’s hand in marriage.

And that’s when it hits me—this isn’t just any concert night—this is June 16—Bloomsday to Joyce fans around the world—the date that the 20th Century’s greatest novelist James Joyce met his Nora in Dublin in 1904—and the corresponding date on which his entire masterpiece Ulysses takes place. Who better therefore to stand in for Molly Bloom—the fictional Nora—based on the real Penelope from Homer’s original Odyssey of Ulysses’ ten-year journey home to Ithaca than Mavis Staples? She is the perfect—the resounding and full-throated “Yes!” to Dylan’s equally powerful “No, no, no It Ain’t Me Babe—it ain’t me you’re looking for, Babe.” Call it Homer’s “Bringing It All Back Home,” anticipating Dylan’s fourth album 2000 years ago, and Joyce’s modern parable from nearly a century ago. The 20th Century’s greatest songwriter meets Joyce.

It dawns on me that in terms of literary resonance I am standing in the Garden of Eden.

No sooner do I enter the nearly century-old ornate Baroque L.A. shrine (pardon the pun) to sumptuous conspicuous consumption than I spot my old friend and colleague (from different publications) Michael Simmons. I slowly approach him, catch his eye, and give him a big hug in welcome—our light of recognition in the knowledge that neither of us would miss Bob Dylan in Concert while there was still breath in our bodies. We bring each other up to date on our personal lives and then I slip away to climb the balcony stairs and find my seat. Michael wrote the LA Weekly cover story on Bob turning 70, and now we are both here with our hero—who just turned 75 May 24th .

Mavis Staples holds nothing back—a great Gospel and Soul singer who gives her all to every audience lucky enough to see and hear her—as we were. She is the irresistible force to Bob’s immovable object—who won’t let the audience just sit there and listen—she reaches out to the back row at the top of the balcony with new songs like Ben Harper’s I’ll Be Me (written for her new album), her old hits like Slippery People, and even the 1960s antiwar classic Buffalo Springfield’s For What It’s Worth. If she weren’t opening for Dylan, she would have stolen the show. The highlight of her set wasn’t even a song per se, but her passionate recounting of marching “on the Freedom highway, from Selma to Montgomery, with Dr. King.” She is still on that highway she wanted us to know, still speaking her mind, and captured us with both her commitment and her voice. Despite Bob’s seen-it-all pessimism of Things Have Changed, it was clear that did not apply to her. She is still the youthful and eternal optimist of America’s Promised Land.

Dylan—as his loyal followers now know all too well—has moved in other directions since the days when he symbolized the freedom and antiwar movements in the “Decade of Change.” He has pursued his art as a personal calling and long ago abandoned any superimposed role as “spokesman” for any cause, let alone a generation—a role he left for the taking. In as dramatic a departure from his own best-known songs as any since he became—for a few years—a born-again Christian—he has recently immersed himself in another Bible—the holy scriptures of the Great American Songbook, zeroing in on songs identified with Old Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra. He has just released his second album of standards, Fallen Angels, (the title for which may well have come from an old Kris Kristofferson song of the same name). Except for Hoagie Carmichael’s Skylark, all were recorded by Sinatra. Dylan incorporates a generous sampling of them in tonight’s show—from Melancholy Mood to the achingly pure I’m a Fool to Want You to the plaintive Why Try to Change Me Now (from this album’s predecessor Shadows In the Night) to Irving Berlin’s heart-breaking What’ll I Do to the concert-closing sublime rendition of Johnny Mercer’s Autumn Leaves. Dylan has made these songs his own, and I almost felt as if he was singing only partly to us, and partly to Frank Sinatra in Heaven.

Dylan made clear his enormous admiration for Sinatra long before he started singing any of “his” songs. He was the final performer on the 80th birthday tribute to the Chairman of the Board—and a class act if there ever was. After the usual suspects like Tony Bennett, doing songs in Frank’s signature style, Dylan closed with a simple heartfelt tribute to the man who taught him everything he knew about the art of singing—which he boiled down to one impeccably chosen word: “phrasing.” Wow! It had nothing to do with lung power, or intonation, or sonic splendor, or a God-given mellifluous vocal instrument—it rather had to do with intelligence and meaning, conveying the fullest sense of what the song was about. In short, it was something anyone can do, if they care enough, and study and practice enough. It was a revelation. Then Dylan ended the show on a perfect note, with Restless Farewell, the last song from his The Times, They Are A-Changing album—adapted from the song he learned from the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem during the heyday of the Greenwich Village folk revival—The Parting Glass.

Dylan’s tribute brought tears to Sinatra’s old blue eyes. To see how he is performing Frank’s classic songs now is therefore not so much a departure as the fulfillment of his early recognition.

While not dwelling on his own 1960s and ‘70s classics Bob makes room for the timeless She Belongs to Me (“She’s got everything she needs/She’s an artist/She don’t look back”—source of the Pennebaker film title)—Tangled Up in Blue and the consummate encore, Blowing In the Wind—set to a new tune and piano arrangement. If you wonder what Dylan’s greatest song is, he has outvoted Rolling Stone’s pick of Like a Rolling Stone. Mr. D not only performs the civil rights and antiwar anthem of a generation, he has even put the ever-mysterious answer to his song’s still-haunting questions on a beautiful blanket out in the lobby hanging behind the merchandise table—selling for $75. “The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.”

I only wish he had made room for his other civil rights classic—and answered the request from a lone voice late in the evening—for The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll—about the black hotel maid murdered in Baltimore by the scion of privilege William Zantzinger, for which he received “a six-month sentence.” I have been thinking about this song in connection with the Stanford rapist and competitive swimmer who received exactly the same sentence by an equally clueless judge. The first line would even scan with the five-syllable “Brock Allen Turner” standing in for “William Zantzinger. That would have made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end—which was A.E. Housman’s definition of poetry. Dylan has his own Muse, however; and never veers from Her path.

But, unexpectedly and unaccountably, outside the Shrine the concert is far from over. There is an enchanting, totally freewheelin’ early Dylan impersonator holding forth—singing other songs that Bob left out of his show: It Ain’t Me, Babe, Like a Rolling Stone and Don’t Think Twice. No tour buses, no band, no sophisticated lighting, and no Frank Sinatra songs—the Bob Dylan everyone came to hear—with just a guitar and harmonica. His name is Frankie, and he is a joy to listen to. He even ends his set with the aforementioned Blowin’ In the Wind—and guess what—the tune is the same one that Bob sang on Freewheelin’. Ah, what can I say? Don’t look back.

After all the Dylan concerts I’ve attended, and reviews I’ve written, would I go see the real Bob Dylan again—the one you may have some difficulty recognizing—who no longer picks up a guitar and who keeps messing with his old tunes and even lyrics? Here is Molly Bloom’s answer at the end of Ulysses, and mine too: “Yes I said yes I will Yes.”

Saturday June 25 at 2:00pm at the Allendale Branch Library in Pasadena Ross Altman performs his tribute to the national pastime; 1130 South Marengo Ave. Pasadena, CA 91106 The Baseball Reliquarry ; free.

Los Angeles folk singer and Local 47 member Ross Altman has a PhD in Modern Literature; Ross may be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.