Kelly Joe Phelps:

The Phantom Monk of Folk-Blues

By Terry Roland

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In 1995, I had the pleasure of spending an evening with Townes Van Zandt at McCabe's Guitar Store in Santa Monica. There was a certain magic that night, watching this old troubadour still hanging on to his life, singing off key, sometimes rambling, but always conjuring up the image of an old blues singer sitting on his front porch, sipping whiskey and telling stories in song. That same night a young, clean-cut musician from Portland, Oregon, ambled out and proceeded to do what so many young blues musicians do: he played his heart out.

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SINGING THE SHEET MUSIC BLUES

Interview: Stephanie Rinaldo and Rick Starr

By Uncle Ruthie Buell

One of my favorite, regular stops on my way home from my job as music teacher for The Blind Children's Center, is a modest store in a strip mall on Sunset Boulevard. I greet the proprietors, Stephanie Rinaldo and Rick Starr, who have been behind the counters there forever, and then I buy piano instruction books, harmony and theory books, music paper, and always song sheets and songbooks not on my list but which I must have! I usually chat with Rick and Stephanie and do a lot of laughing, but today I am here for a very serious purpose. I try to ignore the frighteningly wild shirt that Rick is wearing as I prepare to talk with these two very dear people about the possible demise of their store. Hollywood Sheet Music, is a store which is precious not only to me, but to every musician, piano teacher and student, singer, performer, arranger, and composer in Los Angeles. Seated on a high stool with two familiar and now very serious faces close to my microphone, I start my recording.

UR: This is Uncle Ruthie Buell, and I am here at Hollywood Sheet Music and it suddenly occurs to me that I don't know everything I should know about this place. First of all, Stephanie, are you the original owner?

SR: I consider myself the third (I'm really the fourth) and I'm sure Dick and Don, the previous owners, would say that too. Because the second owner, was actually,-- I only know his first name-Van--- bought the store from the original owner which was Tony Stecheson.

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Tom Russell:
An Authentic American Treasure

By Terry Roland

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Imagine if, over the last century, all of the great American literature went undiscovered, floundering in obscurity. Imagine how America would be today without the insights of Steinbeck, O'Conner, Faulkner, or Hemingway to portray and describe its character and its realities? It may well be argued that this is exactly what has happened with the American singer-songwriter. With perhaps one exception (and his initials are BD) some of the greatest creative minds have gone unrecognized by all but the most faithful fans. Hopefully, in the future, some generation will discover the canon of John Stewart, Townes Van Zandt, Janis Ian, Guy Clark, John Prine, Iris Dement, and, most certainly, Tom Russell.


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