Tuesday, December 27, 2011

HOW KEVIN GORDON'S '56 GIBSON ES-125 CHANGED HIS SONGWRITING, CULMINATING IN FIRST NEW ALBUM IN 7 YEARS 'GLORYLAND' (FEB 14 / CROWVILLE MEDIA)

Kevin Gordon – the rock and roller with the masters degree in poetry whose songs have been covered by Levon Helm and Keith Richards – let his songwriting and recording evolve through his use of a '56 Gibson ES-125, culminating in the stunning new album 'Gloryland' (February 14 / Crowville Media). Here's Kevin:

"Not long after moving to Nashville, I found my 1956 Gibson ES-125 in my friend Pat Gallagher’s apartment, propped in a corner, without a case, gathering dust. I picked it up and played it; it immediately felt right, natural. I borrowed it for a weekend’s gigs, not knowing exactly how I’d use it--I was just attracted to it. It showed its age: the binding yellowed, the finish on the back of the neck worn away in places, pick-guard gone, battle scars here and there. The heads on the original tuning keys were brittle and weak as chalk.

I loved the chunky low end and the responsiveness of the P-90. When I got back, Pat agreed to sell me the guitar, for what now seems like a bargain: $350.

But I’d been trying to figure out a way to play solo gigs, beyond the usual acoustic-through-the-P.A. kind of sound--which I was hearing a lot of in Nashville at that time, and which always sounded thin to me, no matter how good the guitar or the sound engineer. And I wanted a sound that reflected where my songs were coming from--a lot of the songwriters/performers who influenced me played electric guitars: Chuck Berry, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Muddy Waters, Elmore James.

To make it adaptable to more of my songs, I put it in open-D tuning, using a capo and gradually finding other chord shapes/voicings that took advantage of open strings. I love the wideness of the sound when I mask the 3rd of the chord--playing all 1s and 5s. For the solo gig I use a blackface Princeton (the one with white knobs--’63?) and, if it’s appropriate for the room, a second amp: an old Epiphone Pathfinder or a late 40s Gibson BR-9 that’s been modified to accept a non-fieldcoil speaker. Tremolo, a little delay from an old Boss DM-3 pedal, and that’s it.

Though I originally bought the guitar as a way in to playing solo, it’s greatly influenced my songwriting--since circa 2001 most of my songs have been written using it. Eight of the twelve tracks recorded for the new release, 'Gloryland,' are songs written on the 125; it’s also one of the main guitars used on the record."

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Bo-Keys on AP Best Of '11 List & Earn Blues Music Award Nominations

The Bo-Keys' 'Got To Get Back!' (Electraphonic Recordings) has appeared on Associated Press' list of top albums of 2011, alongside albums by Adele, Beyonce, Jay-Z & Kanye West, The Roots, The Black Keys, and others.

Meanwhile, the band has earned two Blues Music Award nominations, for Band of the Year and for Best Soul Blues Album of the Year.


Click here for upcoming Bo-Keys shows.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

RAUL MIDON JOINS MORLEY ON "SOULFUL" (HUFFINGTON POST) TRACK "THANK YOU" FROM HER NEW ALBUM 'UNDIVIDED' (APRIL 3)

Raul Midon joined New York singer-songwriter Morley on guitar and vocals on "Thank You," a highlight of her new album 'Undivided.' Midon calls Morley's music "universal and spiritual conscious music for the 21st century."

"It was amazing!," she says. "We went to his house and into a studio that he runs. It was magical to be in his presence. We just kept it simple."

Hear "Thank You" and other tracks here.

New Yorkers: heads up that she'll be performing at DROM on January 6.

Following her performance at TEDxWomen earlier this month, Derek Beres of The Huffington Post recently wrote, "She has the uncanny ability to make you feel good about yourself and life without you realizing that you're feeling good about these things. It's just the instantaneous contact that happens inside your headphones: 'Be the One,' 'On My Way' and the soulful 'Thank You,; featuring the inimitable Raul Midon, offer hope and light... The keyword here is community, something Morley is expert at creating, be it through her hospice work or teaching yoga in prisons. Yet none of her music is sacrificed for a message... In Morley, all factors are stitched together beautifully, undivided and complete." Read the complete review and view the "Be The One" video here.

Check out video of her on the streets of Harlem, talking about teaching, and performing.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

FIRST NYC SHOW IN 6 YEARS FOR KEVIN GORDON, WHOSE FANS INCLUDE BUDDY MILLER AND PETER GURALNICK

Kevin Gordon – the rock and roller with the masters degree in poetry who documents the culture of the south like a southern Springsteen – will play his first New York show in six years, debuting songs from 2012's 'Gloryland' (February 14 / Crowville Media) at Rockwood Music Hall January 19. The Bug Music artist who has been covered by Keith Richards, Levon Helm, Irma Thomas, and others and who has recorded a duet with Lucinda Williams.

On 'Gloryland,' Gordon proves himself one of the best songwriters on the scene, conjuring adolescent rebellion at a ZZ Top concert with "Bus To Shreveport"; the awkwardness of the marching band until the KKK shows up at a march with the masterful "Colfax/Step In Time"; the life of long-ago African-American folk artist and quilter Pecolia Warner on "Pecolia's Star"; and a down-on-their-luck couple called home to see a parent on his death bed with "Trying to Get To Memphis."

Author and Elvis Presley and Sam Cooke biographer Peter Guralnick has said, "Think of John Lee Hooker tied to the hard, imagistic poetry of William Carlos Williams, and you get a little bit of the picture."

Buddy Miller said, "It reminds me of why I love music. I get transported to a beautiful, strange, familiar place. It's where the best music comes from. Deep and soulful."

WHO: Rock & roller and master songwriter Kevin Gordon
WHAT: First NYC concert in 6 years and performance of songs from 'Gloryland'
WHEN: 7pm, January 19, 2011
WHERE: Rockwood Music Hall (Stage 1), 196 Allen Street, NYC, 212.477.4155
TICKETS: Free, one drink minimum per set

Friday, December 16, 2011

Music Maker Announces Release of Album by Guitar Lightnin’ Lee

Guitar Lightnin' Lee has played at New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and at the Ponderosa Stomp and his debut album 'N.O.L.A.: RHYTHUM and BOOZE' kicks off with an wonderfully, insanely distorted guitar. Guitar Lightnin' Lee plays the kind of sweaty, loud, wild blues that will appeal to fans of the blues Fat Possum used to put out or the kind of garage rock put out by Norton or Goner Records. Lightnin' Lee is also a Big Easy Music Award nominee. More info on Guitar Lightnin' Lee.

-Nick

December 16, 2011

Music Maker Announces Release of Album by Guitar Lightnin’ Lee

Music Maker Relief Foundation is excited to announce the release of a new album by Guitar Lightnin’ Lee, entitled N.O.L.A. RHYTHUM and BOOZE. The album, which features Lightnin’s powerful voice and soulful rhythm and blues, is a nine-track album produced by Music Maker Relief Foundation in 2011 that will be available for sale and download on iTunes on January, 10, 2012.

A native of New Orleans, La., Guitar Lightnin’ Lee was raised with the blues and boasts nearly 60 years of music experience including playing with New Orleans legends such as Earl King, Fats Domino, Ernie K-Doe and Little Freddie King. On this album, Lightnin’ has combined his experience and talent with his boisterous personality to create and showcase a blown out style of New Orleans rock ‘n’ roll and blues.

“Guitar Lightnin' Lee rips out hard rockin' blues out of a funk-drenched New Orleans,” said Tim Duffy, president of Music Maker Relief Foundation.

Guitar Lightnin’ Lee is one of Music Maker’s Active Touring Artists who began working with the Foundation in 2011 in an effort to preserve his unique sound and make his music more accessible.

###

About Music Maker Relief Foundation:

Music Maker Relief Foundation, Inc. is a tax exempt, public charity under IRS code 501(c)3. Music Maker aims to keep our Southern culture vital by directly supporting senior (over 55) American roots musicians in need, expanding their professional careers, and assisting Next Generation artists in the development of their professional careers. Since the organization’s founding in 1994, Music Maker has assisted hundreds of musicians who represent the traditions of Blues, Gospel, Old-Time String Band, Jazz and more. Music Maker’s programs ensure the talents of these cultural treasures are accessible so that our rich musical heritage can be shared with the world and preserved for future generations. For more information, visit our website.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Music Maker Blues Revue to Play The Hamilton New Year’s Eve

Music Maker Relief Foundation’s Blues Revue will play new D.C. music venue and restaurant The Hamilton on New Year’s Eve. The Revue, which has toured internationally and received worldwide recognition, will include performances by Cool John Ferguson, Captain Luke, Ironing Board Sam, Pat “Mother Blues” Cohen, Big Ron Hunter, Robert Lee Coleman, Albert White, Nashid Abdul Khaaliq, Ardie Dean, and Hook Herrera. This will be the largest group of artists to perform together in the Revue in many years.

The Music Maker Blues Revue highlights electric blues, boogie-woogie, R&B and soul music with the performances by Music Maker Relief Foundation partner artists. Music Maker works with these artists to elevate their careers and present them to the world, while preserving Southern musical traditions for future generations.

“Get ready for non-stop shredding guitars, soaring vocals and tight rhythms pulling you out of your seat and on to the dance floor,” said Tim Duffy, Music Maker Founder.

The show begins at 9 p.m. and lasts until 1 a.m. with doors opening for the event at 7 p.m. Tickets will include the show, an assortment of heavy hors d'oeuvres and a champagne toast at midnight. A cash bar and entrées from The Hamilton’s new menu will be available for purchase. Tickets can be purchased for $100 from The Hamilton’s website, http://www.thehamiltondc.com/live.

• Cool John Ferguson, of Beaufort, S.C., began playing the guitar at 3 years old and has been called by blues legend Taj Mahal “…among the five greatest guitarists in the world.”
• Luther Mayer, known as “Captain Luke,” has a deep resounding baritone voice that has entertained thousands throughout his long career; the African-American working class of the N.C. Piedmont heavily influences his music.
• Ironing Board Sam, a singer, songwriter and piano player, was a house musician on the first televised African-American music revue called “Night Train” and then became one of the best-loved entertainers on the Crescent City’s music scene, before relocating to N.C. and working with Music Maker.
• Pat “Mother Blues” Cohen has been a fixture in New Orleans, performing there six nights a week until Hurricane Katrina destroyed her home; she has relocated to N.C. and now tours with the Music Maker Blues Revue.
• Big Ron Hunter plays both electric and acoustic guitars in dramatically different styles, varying between R&B, Rock and B.B. King Blues on electric, and his own sound on acoustic.
• Robert Lee Coleman played guitar for Percy Sledge from 1964 to 1969, as well as on James Brown’s album “Hot Pants”; he most recently performed at PRS Experience 2011, where Paul Reed Smith personally gifted him with a custom guitar.
• Albert White, from Atlanta, G.A., has toured Europe with the Music Maker Blues Revue and frequently plays festivals with former band-mate Beverly “Guitar” Watkins.
• Nashid Abdul Khaaliq, a graduate of Berkeley College of Music, has played bass with Muddy Water's son Big Bill Morganfield and released an incredible Jazz album, proving he is versatile with his musical skills.
• Ardie Dean has drummed for Ernie K-Doe, Bo Diddley, Jerry McCain, Greg Allman, Taj Mahal, and Henry Grey since he began playing the blues in 1969.
• Hook Herrera, who recently released his newest album “No Matter What I Do” plays rhythm guitar, harmonica and harp, and has toured with the Allman Brothers.

Listen:

Ironing Board Sam – Life is Like a Seesaw

Robert Lee Coleman – Kin Folk

Cool John Ferguson – Here Comes Floyd

Captain Luke – Put On Your Red Dress

Watch:

Big Ron Hunter – How to Play Blues In Your Underwear

Robert Lee Coleman – PRS Experience 2011

Ironing Board Sam – Night Train, 1965

###

About Music Maker Relief Foundation:
Music Maker Relief Foundation, Inc. is a tax exempt, public charity under IRS code 501(c)3. Music Maker aims to keep our Southern culture vital by directly supporting senior (over 55) American roots musicians in need, expanding their professional careers, and assisting Next Generation artists in the development of their professional careers. Since the organization’s founding in 1994, Music Maker has assisted hundreds of musicians who represent the traditions of Blues, Gospel, Old-Time String Band, Jazz and more. Music Maker’s programs ensure the talents of these cultural treasures are accessible so that our rich musical heritage can be shared with the world and preserved for future generations.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"SUPERB" HOLIDAY FOLK MUSIC OF 'THE GATHERING' EARNS PLAUDITS, COMES TO NYC THIS WEEK

'The Gathering' by Laurelyn Dossett, Rhiannon Giddens, Mike Compton, Joe Newberry, and Jason Sypher. Meanwhile, the only performance by the band outside of North Carolina will be Saturday at City Winery. Here are some of the reviews we're reading:

"A breath of fresh, pine-scented air."
- LA Times

"What the season must have sounded like before shopping and Irving Berlin."
– The Wall Street Journal

"Superb."
– Chicago Sun-Times

"****"
– American Songwriter

"****1/2… It's a fresh approach to wintry music, with mountain-music instrumentation and crystalline harmonies."
– Houston Chronicle

"A nice change of pace, bluegrass style."
– Detroit News

"A welcome departure from the usual acoustic holiday fare [with] many highlights."
- Metromix

"A lovely piece of music."
- Raleigh News Observer

"It has a certain magic about it, this music, in the seeming ease of its instrumental virtuosity coupled to a spirit of friendship and common cause—there is not a moment on The Gathering that doesn’t sound free and impassioned, musicians having a great time playing with each other and giving their hearts to the task at hand."
– The Bluegrass Special

Click here for a video of Giddens and Dossett dueting on "String of Pearls."

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

FRESH FROM SOLD OUT JOE'S PUB SHOW, NEW YORKER MORLEY TO PREVIEW SONGS FROM 'UNDIVIDED'

HUFFINGTON POST: MORLEY'S MUSIC IS "STITCHED TOGETHER BEAUTIFULLY, UNDIVIDED AND COMPLETE"

Fresh from a November 2 sold out show at Joe's Pub, New York musician and teacher Morley will perform songs from her forthcoming album 'Undivided' January 6 at DROM. Born in Jamaica, Queens, Morley is also a teacher of young people from international conflict zones.

Most recently, Morley presented at TEDxWomen, on a day-long international conference bill with Barbara Walters, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem, and others. Watch her performance here.

Rhythms and production on the uplifting new album 'Undivided' are influenced by Morley's experience as a teacher and time in the Sahara desert. The stunning new album features guests Raúl Midón, Joan Wasser (Joan As Police Woman), Dave Eggar, and David Amram (Thelonious Monk, Allen Ginsberg).

The Huffington Post recently posted Morley "Be The One" video, saying, " Morley's sound has always been large. Even with just a simple guitar and her elegant voice, the Queens, NY native has consistently conjured music that can barely be contained in the room that attempts to house it. The reasons are numerous: smart production, intelligent songwriting and -- especially in Morley's case -- poetry disguised as lyrics that immediately resonates with heartfelt conviction… In Morley, all factors are stitched together beautifully, undivided and complete":

The New York Times said, "Morley embodies modern-day New York femininity in all its multicultural finesse."

WHO: New York singer-songwriter Morley
WHAT: Preview of songs from 'Undivided'
WHEN: 6:30pm, January 6, 2012
WHERE: DROM,
TICKETS: $10 in advance, $15 at the door, via dromnyc.com or 212.777.1157

Check out some video of her on the streets of Harlem, talking about teaching, and performing.

Hear a few tracks and more information.

Photos

Monday, December 12, 2011

ROCK & ROLLER KEVIN GORDON EARNS PRAISE FROM NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR PETER GURALNICK

GURALNICK: GORDON IS JOHN LEE HOOKER MEETS WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS

Kevin Gordon – the master songwriter, poet, and folk art gallery curator whose new album 'Gloryland' comes out February 14 on Crowville Media – has earned praise from Peter Guralnick, whose music books have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list.

Best-selling Elvis Presley and Sam Cooke biographer Guralnick says, "There's nothing else around today quite like Kevin Gordon’s music. Think of John Lee Hooker tied to the hard, imagistic poetry of William Carlos Williams, and you get a little bit of the picture. It’s something like trance blues, I suppose – but then you encounter the tangled, complex story lines of 'Colfax' or 'Trying to Get to Memphis' or 'Bus to Shreveport.' There really is no way to sum it up neatly – you just have to listen. And listen again. For the pure emotional pleasure of it. For the unmistakable, hard-driving passion of words and music, rocking together in rhythm."

Bug Music artist Kevin Gordon – the southern rock and roll songwriter who has been covered by Keith Richards, Levon Helm, Irma Thomas, and others and who has recorded a duet with Lucinda Williams – will release 'Gloryland' (February 14 / Crowville Media), his first new album in 7 years. It's a new high water mark for Gordon, representing his most powerful, fully realized writing to date.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

NY TIMES EMERGING ARTIST OFFERS UPLIFTING, NEW GENRE-HOPPING ALBUM UNDIVIDED WITH GUESTS JOAN WASSER (JOAN AS POLICE WOMAN), RAÚL MIDÓN & DAVID AMRAM

Undivided — adj.: not parted by conflict; characterized by unity; being or joined into a single entity, a single devotion.

Morley — the New Yorker singer and composer whom the New York Times said, "embodies modern-day New York femininity in all its multicultural finesse." — will release her uplifting, genre-mixing new album, Undivided, on April 3, which also marks her debut as solo producer. She is joined on the album by a stellar cast of musicians including Joan Wasser (Joan As Police Woman), Raúl Midón, Dave Eggar, and the legendary David Amram (Thelonious Monk, Allen Ginsberg).

"This is album is influenced, sonically and rhythmically, by my time in the desert of Morocco. I went there to heal from a personal loss and found solace and strength."

Undivided, Morley’s fourth recording, is also deeply rooted in her work with young people from international conflict zones, through the organization Face to Face/Faith to Faith. "I’ve witnessed an amazing kind of alchemy in the teenagers I get to work with from conflict zones, their willingness to open doors that have been boarded up by generations before them and stand in a place of possibility amazes and inspires me."

From the driving rhythms of "On My Way" and "Thank You" to the ethereal, pensive "Wild Bird" to the playful call-to-action of "Love and Understanding" and "Be the One", Morley fuses hip-hop, world rhythms, acoustic guitars, and piano to take the listener on a journey of celebration and reflection.

Morley has performed at TEDWomen and for His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Ban Ki-moon, Mary Robinson, and Ela Gandhi. She has also written, collaborated, and shared the stage with renowned artists such as Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, Norah Jones, Dave Matthews, Sheryl Crow, Queen Latifah, Angélique Kidjo, Sarah McLachlan, Wynton Marsalis, and Cassandra Wilson. Growing up in diverse and urban bustle of Jamaica, Queens, Morley has been a dancer and choreographer, yoga instructor, and a teacher of expressive movement in a variety of settings, from public high schools to community centers to rehabilitation centers for the formerly incarcerated.

Musicians, fans, and press alike have embraced Morley. Elle Magazine has said, "Morley creates modern soul music — cerebral lyrics, sultry grooves, and vocal sophistication." Multiple Grammy® Award-winning artist-producer Daniel Lanois says, "The music of Morley: love, kindness and hope at every bend."

Hear a few tracks and more information.

Photos.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

"MOVING HARMONIES" (WXPN) OF BREAKOUT INDIE-ROOTS BAND SONS OF FATHERS TO MAKE LA DEBUT JAN. 11 AT HOTEL CAFE

Breakout Texas indie-roots band Sons of Fathers – whose incredible natural harmonies have stunned fans – will make their LA debut January 11 at Hotel Café. The band has seen quite a rise from their formation in San Marcos, TX earlier this year to their live radio debut on WXPN and acclaim from national publications like the Wall Street Journal and USA Today.

Legendary instrumentalist Lloyd Maines, who co-produced the self-titled debut album, told the Austin American-Statesman, "(Songwriters David Beck and Paul Cauthen) definitely have their own sound. The result is the Everly Brothers meets Neil Young and Merle Haggard and the Clash."

Here's video of Sons of Fathers playing their eponymous track.

Here's video of Sons of Fathers playing "Weather Balloons."

Sons of Fathers have earned universal acclaim:

"All of the album's songs have the uneasy stillness of an echoing rifle shot… 'Sons of Fathers' features the Austin, Texas, duo singing and playing in a tight, heartfelt vocal style reminiscent of Crosby, Stills & Nash."
Wall Street Journal

"David Beck and Paul Cauthen harmonize like David Crosby and Graham Nash, only with a touch of Texas twang."
-USA Today

"Their rich vocal harmonies are nothing short of moving."
–WXPN

"Full of their signature melodies and the feel of Texas on the road."
– NPR.org

"Sounds like [the] Avett Brothers."
- AOL Music

"Their harmony-rich, boot-scooty tunes feel so well-worn."
- Austin Chronicle

"Gloriously rich harmonies."
Austin American-Statesman

"Not to be missed."
– KUT

"Don’t grab a substitute when you can have the real thing… 'Sons of Fathers' does Americana proud."
– American Songwriter

"Such poise and passion."
– Blurt

"Easily the best of its genre in years."
- Gatehouse Media

WHO: Breakout indie-roots band Sons of Fathers
WHAT: LA debut concert
WHEN: 9pm, January 11, 2012
WHERE: Hotel Cafe
TICKETS: TBA, here

Friday, December 2, 2011

THE BO-KEYS EARN RAVES, BEST OF 2011 CONSIDERATION FOR 'GOT TO GET BACK!' (ELECTRAPHONIC RECORDINGS) FOLLOWING LONGEST TOUR TO DATE

Memphis soul music masters The Bo-Keys have earned consideration on best of 2011 lists following their longest tour to date. They previously earned raves from NPR, Tavis Smiley, Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and MOJO, capping off an amazing year for the band. In that time, The Bo-Keys have shared remarkable stories from Ben Cauley, trumpet player and only survivor of the crash that killed Otis Redding; guitar master Charles "Skip" Pitts, whose guitar is heard on "Theme From Shaft"; Howard Grimes, who played drums on many of Al Green's greatest sides; and bassist/producer Scott Bomar, who has also done music for major Hollywood films such as "Hustle & Flow" and "Black Snake Moan."

Check out a mini-documentary on the Bo-Keys.

New acclaim for 'Got To Get Back!' (Electraphonic Recordings):

"The real deal."
– WNYC Soundcheck

"A fiery set that unfolded like a classic soul revue."
– LA Times

"In-the-pocket."
– Chicago Sun-Times

"Recommended."
– Chicago Reader

"An album that oozes authenticity."
– Time Out Chicago

"Epic... It was all smiles in the audience"
– Phoenix New Times

"I was very enthused about their performance… For those who dig a deep soul sound with definitive Stax and Memphis roots, this band should be the right choice for you. Their Got To Get Back disc will definitely be in my Top Ten favorites for 2011."
– Blues Revue Online

"One bad ass bunch… No one does it better. [They] balance fire and finesse like they were born to do it… [The music] speaks so strongly straight to the center of the mind and body. And, of course, always the heart. Always."
– Bill Bentley, The Morton Report

"This band is testifying, tight and terrific."
– Elmore Magazine

"The Bo-Keys deliver… [They] really sound like an undiscovered ’60s soul act — and, in a way, they are."
– Pitch

Previous acclaim:

"Masters of the Memphis sound."
- NPR

“The Bo-Keys, a 12-member band, delivers a hard-hitting and authentic take on the city’s original soul sound with their new album ‘Got To Get Back!’”
- Tavis Smiley, The Tavis Smiley Show, PRI

“Funky[,] authentic groove… If the Bo-Keys sound like Memphis in the 1960s and early '70s, it's probably because most of the band's musicians were recording back then for the city's top labels.”
- Wall Street Journal

“[This music] gets me dancing in ways I hope the neighbors don't see... I can’t imagine anyone disliking it.”
- USA Today Online

“Strong… The Bo-Keys present a muscular yet spare sound that captures the grit and grease of classic, horn-driven R&B. Where many revivalists pale compared to the originals, the Bo-Keys would have fit right in next to legendary Memphis musical crews the Bar-Kays and Booker T. & the M.G.'s.”
- Associated Press

“What’s not to like?... It’s done incredibly well, which isn’t surprising when you consider the claibre of founder and bassist Scott Bomar’s excellent band. [It’s] a supergroup of sorts.”
- MOJO

“Gritty, funky Southern soul.”
- The New York Daily News

Thursday, December 1, 2011

"String of Pearls" from 'The Gathering'

Rhiannon Giddens (of the GRAMMY-winning and Newport-playing Carolina Chocolate Drops) and Laurelyn Dossett (who wrote "Anna Lee" on Levon Helm's GRAMMY-winning album 'Dirt Farmer' and newly GRAMMY-nominated album 'Ramble At The Ryman) playing "Streams of Pearls" from their "superb" (Chicago Sun-Times) new holiday album 'The Gathering':

String of Pearls from Harvey Robinson on Vimeo.

Caithlin De Marrais in Entertainment Weekly



Click to expand to readable size!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Southern Springsteen's 2012 masterpiece of songwriting

I think southern music's poet laureate Kevin Gordon's "Colfax" is one of the best-written songs I've heard in a long, long time: a true songwriting masterpiece. The fact that it's autobiographical, coming from Gordon's experience growing up in northern Louisiana, makes it all the more remarkable. Gordon captures the awkwardness of adolescence; the lust of a long-ago crush; the smells of bus rides; and all of that morphs into the weirdness and shock of seeing the Klu Klux Klan try to scare his African-American teacher at a pep rally. It's absolutely poignant and so vivid.

I'm not the only one to notice the song. The Tennessean's Peter Cooper wrote, "We'll empty your spit-valve for life if you find us anything more stunning than 'Colfax,' [Kevin Gordon's] undeniably superb song that could only have come from one mind, and from one person's experience. It's ostensibly about a kid in the marching band but winds up being about the heart of American darkness and the steel that it takes to move beyond."

Then after such a moment, it segues into a second line gospel song: "Step In Time." The song gains a banjo, a horn section, and gospel singers, imaging the real-life teacher Mr. Minifield's thoughts that day. "Step In Time" has its musical roots in the Civil Rights Movement and it's such a determined ending. Here's a reason why some have compared Gordon to a southern Springsteen.

"I'd tried to write about this experience for years, to more of a '2-beat' hill country blues groove. Only when I straightened it out did it work; I had 90% of those lyrics within an hour."

Music Fog taped Kevin and his band doing a live version of the track which you can view here. Jessie Scott writes, "He is a natural resource, harnessing the energy of rocking and rolling instead of the sedentary life of poetry."

Though I know that we're all super-busy so I usually try to keep my press releases short, it would be a shame to excerpt lyrics in this case. Here are the complete lyrics to "Colfax":

I played trumpet in the band
In 7th grade, blasting out songs
At football games and fall parades
We’d ride the bus
To the small towns like Winfield,
Downsville, and Colfax—
In purple jackets and white slacks
We were the Braves—
We were the Jack Hayes Braves
Named after a dead administrator
And the noble ideal
Of the young Native American male--
School ambassadors
Of popular song and good will
Mr. Minifield
Was our director, skin the color
Of a brown paper sack, he was black
Trying to teach us white kids to play
But confronted every baton-breaking day
By juvenile delinquents, like Danny Amos
Who locked himself into Minifield’s office,
With my Ted Nugent double album;
Playing “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang”
Full-blast over the bandroom speakers
And I remember Minifield, just sitting there
Staring out into the air
From the podium, smoking a camel
Looking straight ahead
Imagining himself
Somewhere else, I’d guess
Where he’d be getting paid
More for less B.S.
Tomorrow morning
We’d be marching through
What’s ahead from what’s behind
Just another step in time
Valerie
Played clarinet
13 going on 35, sexy
In a hard way, like a 1st cigarette,
Bourbon spilled on a bare thigh--
(you could say she was ahead of the game)
She’d barely speak to me
So that 2-hour ride
Felt like an all-day tense erotic dream,
Staring out at the pine trees and red clay,
And the country stores where inevitably
An old dough-faced man would be standing outside--
Staring at us like his life going by
And was that her leg, was that her leg
Just brushing against mine?
Riding on the bus
Sitting next to Valerie Thrash
Between what’s ahead, what’s behind
Just another step in time
The morning was cold
The silver bell of my horn shining back
Convex reflections of faces and hands
And the yellow smear of the bus
While I blew out my spit valve,
Put the wax on my braces--
We were getting ready to play,
Standing in line, moving in formation.
First up, a Stevie Wonder song called Sir Duke,
About Ellington (I didn’t know that then),
Chameleon by Herbie Hancock--
Jungle Boogie by Kool and the Gang,
K.C. and the Sunshine Band—
Get Down Tonight--
That’s when I saw them at the end of the block
Imperial Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
In their white dunce caps
And robes with red crosses
Embroidered on
Like gilded leaves on an automatic rifle
Or an image of the suffering Christ
Airbrushed on the side of a missile
In broad daylight;
Donald Lovelady said
He thought they only came out at night—
Like an apparition,
Blood-real in the silver sun—
Between what’s ahead, what’s behind
Just another step in time
They were handing out tracts
To the Caucasian mothers and daughters
And fathers and sons of Colfax--
Laughing and joking, kneeling down,
Placing a gentle hand on a child’s blonde head
Like santa claus, or the pope
Like this was normal, like this was okay
Another doo-dah day down in dixieland
He didn’t say a word,
Minifield didn’t turn his head--
Just kept marching
Looking straight ahead
Looking straight ahead
Like there was somewhere better
He was going
But this was the only goddamned way to get there
Today, with his baton in the air
Looking straight ahead
Straight ahead . . .

Monday, November 21, 2011

CAITHLIN DE MARRAIS' "ATMOSPHERIC DREAMSCAPES" (ALTERNATIVE PRESS) COMING TO GLASSLANDS GALLERY DEC 2

Caithlin De Marrais – former Rainer Maria singer and bassist and acclaimed Brooklyn artist – will create "atmospheric dreamscapes" (Alternative Press) at Glasslands Gallery December 2. Her sophomore solo album 'Red Coats' (End Up Records) has earned a four-star (out of five) review in Alternative Press. Jason Schreuers writes, "'Red Coats' could propel De Marrais alongside the likes of PJ Harvey, Bjork, and Tori Amos… De Marrais' second solo album sounds like the score to a quirky foreign firm or the soundtrack to a particularly funky dream."

The live band includes Josh Kaufman (Yellowbirds, Rocketship Park), who co-produced 'Red Coats.'

Stream the album at Magnet Magazine.com.

WHO: Former Rainer Maria singer/bassist Caithlin De Marrais on a bill with Owen

WHAT: Concert of songs from the album 'Red Coats'

WHEN: 8:30pm, December 2

WHERE: Glasslands Gallery

TICKETS: $13 in advance, $15 at the door

The Village Voice said, "The former Rainer Maria frontwoman has a new solo album coming next month, Red Coats, and it reduces her old band’s emo-rock blare to a quieter roar, surrounding de Marrais’ uncommonly expressive singing with tense little clicks and buzzes, slyly destabilizing where Rainer Maria once aimed to knock off socks."

The NY Times said, "Ms. De Marrais, the former lead singer of the breezy indie-rockers Rainer Maria, offers sparse, elegiac pop in solo repose."

Time Out NY calls her an "effortlessly stylish indie crooner."

In addition, Polyvinyl recently announced details to reissue three EPs (Rainer Maria, Atlantic, Ears Ring) by the "indie rock icons" (SPIN) Rainer Maria on vinyl, with the collection simply titled 'Rainer Maria.'

De Marrais will share the bill December 2 with Owen.

Caithlin De Marrais tour dates here.

Music video, bio, press photo here.

Friday, November 18, 2011

GEORGE W. BUSH LAMPOONED IN LAUGH-OUT-LOUD FUNNY NEW SONG "W" BY COLORADO FINGERSTYLE GUITARIST CARY MORIN

Music Maker Relief Foundation artist Cary Morin's laugh-out-loud funny new ragtime song "W" appears on his new album 'Sing It Louder,' out December 6 on Music Maker Relief Foundation with the refrain "A beer in my hand is better than two in the Bush." Other verses take the point of view of the former president.

Morin says, "The song explored the possible explanation for how things went so terribly wrong with that administration: what if he really was drinking the whole time?

Hear it here.

Here's a postable mp3.

'Sing It Louder' highlights Morin’s deft fingerstyle guitar talents and distinctive songwriting style and showcases Morin’s decades of music experience. A staple of the Fort Collins, CO music scene, the Native American Morin is a stellar songwriter.

The town of Fort Collins recently created a public mural in celebration of local musicians, including Morin, serves as testament to Morin’s impact on music in the area.

Part of Music Maker Relief Foundation’s “Next Generation Artists,” Morin began working with MMRF in 2011. Through these Next Generation partnerships, MMRF is able to foster the continuation of Southern traditional music.

Music Maker Relief Foundation keeps our culture vital by directly supporting senior (over 55) American roots musicians in need. We provide for basic life essentials while expanding their professional careers so that our rich musical heritage can be shared with the world and preserved for future generations.

Since the organization’s founding in 1994, Music Maker has assisted hundreds of musicians who represent the traditions of Blues, Gospel, Old-Time String Band, Jazz and more.

Music Maker’s programs ensure the talents of these cultural treasures are accessible through hundreds of US and international live performances, multi-media documentation and outreach initiatives.

Music Maker Relief Foundation, Inc. is a tax exempt, public charity under IRS code 501(c)3.

Download an mp3 of "Sing It Louder."

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Rainer Maria EPs Reissued As New Caithlin De Marrais Solo CD 'Red Coat's Out Now

With the recent release of Caithlin De Marrais' solo album 'Red Coats'' (End Up Records) release, here is another reason to cover her. Polyvinyl Records – who said on their homepage that "Rainer Maria is arguably one of the most important bands in Polyvinyl's 15-year history" – are reissuing three EPs (Rainer Maria, Atlantic, Ears Ring) by the "indie rock icons" (SPIN) on vinyl, with the collection simply titled 'Rainer Maria.' It's a limited edition of 300 on 180-gram yellow vinyl which comes with an MP3 download.

More info on 'Red Coats'

'Rainer Maria' cover art

Of De Marrais, The Village Voice said, "The former Rainer Maria frontwoman has a new solo album coming next month, 'Red Coats,' and it reduces her old band’s emo-rock blare to a quieter roar, surrounding de Marrais’ uncommonly expressive singing with tense little clicks and buzzes, slyly destabilizing where Rainer Maria once aimed to knock off socks."

Magnet is streaming 'Red Coats' in its entirety.

Caithlin De Marrais tour dates.

'Rainer Maria' track listing

Side A:

  1. There Will Be No Night
  2. Atlantic
  3. Soul Singer
  4. Ears Ring
  5. Alchemy
  6. Automatic

Side B:

  1. Summer and Longer
  2. I Love You Too
  3. Rain Yr Hand
  4. Portland
  5. Ian
  6. Made In Secret

Both albums are available for pre-order on Polyvinyl's site.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

CHRISTMAS SHOW OF BEAUTIFUL FOLK MUSIC SET AT CITY WINERY DEC 17

ONLY NYC SHOW FOR ONE OFF GROUP OF CAROLINA CHOCOLATE DROP, SONGWRITER COVERED BY LEVON HELM, MANDOLIN MASTER, PIEDMONT BANJO PLAYER, AND NEW YORK JAZZ BASSIST EXTRAORDINAIRE TO PERFORM MUSIC FROM STUNNING FOLK CHRISTMAS ALBUM 'THE GATHERING'

A one-off group of master folk musicians – including Carolina Chocolate Drop Rhiannon Giddens; Laurelyn Dossett whose song "Anna Lee" was covered by Levon Helm; master mandolin player Mike Compton whose credits include Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, John Hartford, and Elvis Costello; North Carolina banjo player Joe Newberry; and New York upright bass man Jason Sypher will perform their only New York concert December 17 at City Winery.

Of the album, Larry Campbell said, "The combination of heart and intimacy on 'The Gathering' feels like a warm wood-smoke fire on a cold North Carolina winter's night."

Metromix has already called the album "a welcome departure from the usual acoustic holiday fare."

Stream "Light In The Lowlands" here.

Check out video from the NC woods.

WHO: Rhiannon Giddens, Laurelyn Dossett, Mike Compton, Joe Newberry, and Jason Sypher

WHAT: A one-time only celebration of Christmas music from 'The Gathering'

WHEN: December 17, 2011

WHERE: City Winery, 155 Varick Street New York, NY

TICKETS: $25 in advance, $30 at door via City Winery box office or CityWinery.com

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Gathering publicity photos



L-R: Joe Newberry, Rhiannon Giddens, Mike Compton, Laurelyn Dossett, Jason Sypher


L-R: Joe Newberry, Rhiannon Giddens, Mike Compton, Laurelyn Dossett, Jason Sypher


Rhiannon Giddens


Rhiannon Giddens


Joe Newberry


Laurelyn Dossett

Monday, November 14, 2011

FROM JOHN HARTFORD TO T BONE BURNETT, MIKE COMPTON IS STAR OF MANDOLIN, GRACES BEAUTIFUL NEW CHRISTMAS & WINTER ALBUM

'THE GATHERING' FEATURES HIS INTERPRETATIONS OF "OLD EBENEEZER SCROOGE" AND HARTFORD'S "ON CHRISTMAS EVE"

John Hartford once said that Mike Compton knows more about Bill Monroe-style mandolin than the Father of Bluegrass himself. Now Compton has joined a remarkable album of Christmas and seasonal music with Rhiannon Giddens (of the GRAMMY-winning and Newport-headlining Carolina Chocolate Drops), Laurelyn Dossett (songwriter of "Anna Lee" from Levon Helm's 'Dirt Farmer' album), and others on the new album 'The Gathering.' The CD features his interpretations of "Old Ebeneezer Scrooge" and Hartford's "On Christmas Eve" as well as his mandolin across most of the songs.

Born in Jimmie Rodger's hometown of Meridian Mississippi, Compton has recorded with Hartford, T Bone Burnett, Nashville Bluegrass Band, Doc Watson, Bill Evans, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Dolly Parton, Gregg Allman, Elvis Costello, and Willie Nelson.

He spent over a decade and six albums with Hartford and performed as a member of the Nashville Bluegrass Band, with the likes of Lyle Lovett and to a sold out crowd at Carnegie Hall, and backed artists as diverse as Bernadette Peters and Clint Black.

Compton also played the mandolin on two GRAMMY Award-winning projects produced by T Bone Burnett: the multiplatinum 'O Brother Where Art Thou? Original Motion Picture Soundtrack' and its companion 'Down From the Mountain.' He was featured prominently on Dr. Ralph Stanley's recent work and participated in the soundtrack for the film "Cold Mountain," also produced by Burnett.

The Mississippi State Senate honored Mike in March of 2002 with State Resolution No. 45 commending his accomplishments. On the Senate floor, it was shortly thereafter followed by renditions of Bill Monroe's "Old Ebeneezer Scrooge" and "I'll Fly Away." which prompted the senators to sing along.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

SONGWRITER KEVIN GORDON BRINGS AFRICAN-AMERICAN QUILTER TO LIFE WITH "PECOLIA'S STAR" FROM FORTHCOMING ALBUM 'GLORYLAND' (FEB 14 / CROWVILLE MEDIA)

GORDON ALSO CURATES THE GORDON GALLERY IN NASHVILLE, TN

When master songwriter Kevin Gordon read folklorist and University of North Carolina professor William Ferris' book "Local Color," he was particularly struck by the oral history of Yazoo City, MS quilter Pecolia Warner. "Things she says in there about creativity, art and the spirit, really got to me," he says.

Warner was born in 1901 in Rose Hill, MS, only some 250 miles from Gordon's birthplace in northern Louisiana.

Gordon chose to tell her story in the first person in his song "Pecolia's Star," named for her favorite quilting design, in some cases using her words and phrases for his lyrics. He draws out the metaphors of a quilt in creating community, tying together kinship bonds, and the comfort of faith for a woman who faced economic struggles as a sharecropper.

"I was raised up in the fields, hard work
Was just like breathing
Knowing nothing else
Wanting nothing more
Like morning brings the day, summer sun
Brought the cool of the evening
I’d watch the women sew and sing
Behind an old screen door…
Yes, I’ve been on that hill, a long time
I don’t never want for nothing, or nowhere
Stay right here with my people
Just give me Mississippi
You can have all the rest
As long as I can see, I’ll be
Trying to thread that needle
With my mind on the Maker
Working to do my best"

"Pecolia's Star" isn't Gordon's only interaction with folk art. He also curates the Gordon Gallery in Nashville, TN, focusing on folk and outsider artists. Gordon says, "I found this work, with its immediacy, inventiveness, and singular power, being made outside of an academy or career track, to be a source of renewal and revelation after two years of graduate study in poetry at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop."

The Bug Music artist – the southern rock and roll songwriter who has been covered by Keith Richards, Levon Helm, and Irma Thomas and who has recorded a duet with Lucinda Williams – will release 'Gloryland' (February 14 / Crowville Media), his first new album in 7 years.

Of Gordon's music, Buddy Miller said, "It reminds me of why I love music. I get transported to a beautiful, strange, familiar place. It's where the best music comes from. Deep and soulful." No Depression has called Gordon's music “dirty and beautiful." All Music Guide said, "Kevin Gordon has earned the reputation as a storytelling leader." Entertainment Weekly said, "He evokes the scorching guitar intensity of Springsteen."

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

'THE GATHERING' A FICTIONAL STORY OF FAMILY COMING TOGETHER AND REAL STORY OF MUSICAL KIN

OR HOW A CAROLINA CHOCOLATE DROP, A SONGWRITER COVERED BY LEVON HELM, AND A JOHN HARTFORD BAND MEMBER FOUND THEMSELVES IN THE NC WOODS RECORDING A WINTER & CHRISTMAS MUSIC ALBUM

'The Gathering' is both a song cycle of the prodigal daughter's return on a North Carolina winter night in the mountains and a story of six remarkable folk musicians coming together for a one-time only collaboration and finding uncommon personal and musical kinship.

The aggregation came together because Dossett (who wrote "Anna Lee" from Levon Helm's GRAMMY-winning album 'Dirt Farmer' and the new 'Ramble At The Ryman' album); Mike Compton (of Elvis Costello & The Sugarcanes, The Nashville Bluegrass Band, The John Hartford Band); Rhiannon Giddens (a member of the GRAMMY-winning and Newport headlining Carolina Chocolate Drops), famed old time musician Joe Newberry, and engineer and bassist Joe DeJarnette had all taught at the Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, WV. Laurelyn has long been a mentor for Giddens as they are neighbors in Greensboro, NC. Bassist Jason Sypher (Irma Thomas, Clarence Gatemouth Brown) was a late but necessary addition to the crew.

The chemistry between musicians was immediately apparent when they gathered in the North Carolina woods to rehearse and record during a five-day period in August. Laurelyn Dossett says, "This record should not really have worked, but there were six on-the-job collaborators in one room. That we had not really played together and didn't really know the material was secondary to the fact of their incredible talent and true hearts."

Check out video on the making of the album.

Stream the song "Lights in the Lowlands."

Many of the musicians were introduced to the material, centering on a six-song cycle by Dossett commissioned by the North Carolina Symphony, the same day as they recorded it live in one room and virtually without overdubs.

New York-based bassist Jason Sypher said, "We have never all sat down knee to knee and played together and it was immediate chemistry from the first note on." He continues, "Respecting the music and each other created an atmosphere of warmth and fun that you can hear and feel on the final record. Recording live can be a little nerve wracking, but the immediacy of the music is worth the extra tension."

Engineer Joe DeJarnette observed, "This record captures the magic moments of true discovery, where everyone is listening closely and responding to each other in real time. The record feels as though you have the finest stringband pickers and singers in your living room sharing music, stories, and life at a holiday gathering. It was a rare and delightful opportunity to work with such talented creative musicians who were willing to just go for it live."

Roots music star Larry Campbell responded to both elements, saying "The combination of heart and intimacy on 'The Gathering' feels like a warm wood-smoke fire on a cold North Carolina winter's night."

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Kevin Gordon's "Colfax/Step In Time" on Music Fog

Music Fog has some great video of Kevin Gordon performing his new masterpiece of a song "Colfax." Peter Cooper of the Nashville Tennessean has said, "We'll empty your spit-valve for life if you find us anything more stunning than 'Colfax,' [Gordon's] undeniably superb song that could only have come from one mind, and from one person's experience. It's ostensibly about a kid in the marching band but winds up being about the heart of American darkness and the steel that it takes to move beyond."

Friday, November 4, 2011

Kevin Gordon publicity photos & album artwork

Credit: Jim Herrington


Credit: Jim Herrington


Credit: David Wilds




Credit: Bryan Farland

ON WAVE OF ACCLAIM FOR SOLO ALBUM 'RED COATS' (END UP RECORDS), FORMER RAINER MARIA SINGER/BASSIST CAITHLIN DE MARRAIS PLANS TOUR

Former Rainer Maria singer/bassist Caithlin De Marrais has earned acclaim for her solo album 'Red Coats,' out next week on End Up Records, and is planning a tour.

"Beguiling." – The New Yorker

"Sparse, elegiac pop." – New York Times

"It reduces her old band’s emo-rock blare to a quieter roar, surrounding de Marrais’ uncommonly expressive singing with tense little clicks and buzzes, slyly destabilizing where Rainer Maria once aimed to knock off socks." – Village Voice

"A crawl of brittle guitar on 'Birds,' a shivering synth on 'City Girl,' de Marrais' shyly pretty voice -- are given a chance to gleam, as they cluster shyly around her more forceful, composed bass lines." - SPIN

"Most tracks meld lush strings with catchy pop hooks that bring to mind the best of Rainer Maria." –New York Post

CAITHLIN DE MARRAIS TOUR DATES

12/02 - Brooklyn, NY @ Glasslands Gallery
12/03 - Philadelphia, PA @ North Star Bar
12/04 - Allston, MA @ Great Scott
01/18 - Riverside, CA @ The Barn at UC Riverside
01/19 - West Hollywood, CA @ The Troubadour
01/20 - San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Caithlin De Marrais shreds vocal cords in homage to Patti Smith, Scorsese

Caithlin De Marrais (formerly bassist/singer from Rainer Maria) totally shredded her vocal cords recording "Hot Day," an homage to Patti Smith's Horses and 1970s era crime films. Caithlin says, "Tears were streaming down my face during tracking. There was a feeling of desperation in the lyrics and I was reckless in a way I hadn't been since the early days of Rainer Maria when I would regularly lose my voice on tour." I love the scorching fuzz bass and her all-out belting.

Check out "Hot Day" on MTV Hive.

Hear the entire album streaming at Magnet's website.

"The primal yell in there is about running away from responsibility," Caithlin continues, "'Horses' was destined to be in my record collection. I loved Mapplethorpe, Blondie, Talking Heads and hanging out in the Village as a teenager. Now I relate to 'Horses' totally differently. It sounds old and wise to me, like a force of nature that won't be silenced."

Simultaneously "Hot Day" was influenced by soundtracks to 1970s era crime dramas "The French Connection," "Taxi Driver," and "Dirty Harry." Caithlin's Wurlitzer and Ray Saperstein's cornet pay homage to those moody, dark masterpieces.

New Yorkers: Caithlin is playing tonight at Union Hall at 10pm. Please let me know if you'd like to be on the guest list.

Advance praise for the new album:

"The former Rainer Maria frontwoman has a new solo album coming next month, Red Coats, and it reduces her old band’s emo-rock blare to a quieter roar, surrounding De Marrais’ uncommonly expressive singing with tense little clicks and buzzes, slyly destabilizing where Rainer Maria once aimed to knock off socks." -- The Village Voice

"Beguiling." – The New Yorker

Monday, October 31, 2011

"NOTHING SHORT OF MOVING" (WXPN) SONS OF FATHERS EARN WALL STREET JOURNAL FEATURE, PRE-DEBUT BUZZ

Sons of Fathers have come out of left field to make a splash among critics and fans alike, earning a feature in the Wall Street Journal. Singer Paul Cauthen discussed learning about music and life from his traveling preacher grandfather and, of course, the catchy harmonies that he shares with singer David Beck

Here's video of Sons of Fathers playing the title track from their debut.

Others have flipped out over the self-titled debut album, out this week, as well:

"All of the album's songs have the uneasy stillness of an echoing rifle shot… 'Sons of Fathers' features the Austin, Texas, duo singing and playing in a tight, heartfelt vocal style reminiscent of the Eagles and Crosby, Stills & Nash." – Marc Myers, Wall Street Journal, October 27, 2011

"Their rich vocal harmonies are nothing short of moving." –Bruce Warren, XPN.org, August 26, 2011

"Full of their signature melodies and the feel of Texas on the road." –NPR.org, August 19, 2011

"A musical tour de force to be reckoned with… Great songwriting, great musicianship, and great collaboration have yielded a great album… Their consonance of harmony and musicianship would convince the most adept listener that the Sons roots run deeper than most artists dare to venture… Sons of Fathers brush with Texas Country as they ring in the epoch of an enhanced national country movement." –JD Duarte, Brooklyn Country.com

"Sounds like: Avett Brothers." –AOL Music, October 31, 2011

"One of the best slabs of country-rock we’ve heard since the Burritos stepped into the Gilded Palace of Sin." – Michael Verity, MP3.com, October 27, 2011

"Incredible natural harmonies." –PopDose.com, August 26, 2011

"A great record… one of the best CDs of the year." - Thomas McAleer, Examiner.com, August 11, 2011

Here's video of Sons of Fathers playing "Weather Balloons."

Video of the band ripping through "Flatland."

Hear music or read the bio.

Sons of Fathers self-titled debut out tomorrow



LAURELYN DOSSETT: FROM NC SECRET TO NATIONAL STAGE VIA LEVON HELM'S BARN

DOSSETT BRINGS TOGETHER ROOTS ALL-STARS FROM CAROLINA CHOCOLATE DROP TO JOHN HARTFORD BAND ALUM FOR 'THE GATHERING,' GORGEOUS ALBUM OF OBSCURE AND ORIGINAL WINTER AND CHRISTMAS MUSIC

If it weren't for Levon Helm, Laurelyn Dossett might still be one of North Carolina's best-kept secrets. Helm included Dossett's "Anna Lee" on his GRAMMY-winning album 'Dirt Farmer,' a surprise to her until its release, and his new concert album 'Ramble At The Ryman.' When she later opened a Midnight Ramble, Helm says, "There's the lady that wrote that beautiful song that sounds 300 years old."

This month, 'Dirt Farmer' producer Larry Campbell heard Dossett's most recent project, 'The Gathering,' a gorgeous union of Piedmont- and Appalachian-style musicians Rhiannon Giddens (of the Carolina Chocolate Drops), Mike Compton (John Hartford Band, Nashville Bluegrass Band, Elvis Costello & The Sugarcanes), Joe Newberry (Big Medicine), Jason Sypher (Susan McKeown), and Dossett in a cycle of original and obscure music capturing a North Carolina winter night. Campbell said, "The combination of heart and intimacy on The Gathering feels like a warm wood-smoke fire on a cold North Carolina winter's night."

Check out video on the making of the album here.

Stream the song "Lights in the Lowlands."

Dossett has also graced the stage of Prairie Home Companion, with her band Polecat Creek.

Yet despite her status as a national artist, she captures the visions, characters, stories, smells, and kinships of her home state. 'The Gathering' grew out of – and revolves around – a six-song cycle commissioned by the North Carolina Symphony.

She is a recipient of the North Carolina Arts Council Music Fellowship. North Carolina's Our State has praised "that crystalline, heart-tug of a voice that still makes people weep," continuing, "Dossett writes about our South and our dance with religion and nature, love and loss… She’s become a songwriter people say they can’t forget." Another local magazine O Henry echoed those comments, saying, "Dossett has a gift: storytelling. [And] her voice is pure honey."

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sons of Fathers in the Wall Street Journal

Sons of Fathers are featured in the Wall Street Journal today. Marc Myers writes, "'Sons of Fathers' features the Austin, Texas, duo singing and playing in a tight, heartfelt vocal style reminiscent of the Eagles and Crosby, Stills & Nash... All of the album's songs have the uneasy stillness of an echoing rifle shot.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Caithlin De Marrais "Belong" MP3

My favorite song on Caithlin De Marrais' (former vocalist/bassist for Rainer Maria new album 'Red Coats' (Nov 8 on End Up Records) is "Belong." Here's a postable mp3.

Caithlin describes it as "an allegorical song that carries a warning. If you love a sailor, you might lose him to the sea. And if you love an artist you might lose him to his art. Loss is a recurring theme in this album, and this song is no exception."

She continues "I sail and also have a deep respect for the sea. My recurring nightmares are usually about loss and sometimes about water." Other themes she sees in the new album -- "Memories. Abandoned places. Lost people. Loss of self. Finding tenderness. Fighting against total surrender. Surrendering anyway."

I love the tense, staccato rhythms of this song with her lovely melody floating above it.

Recorded at Saltlands Studio in Brooklyn, NY the way the song "Rocked and swayed a little in the studio reminded me of (De Marrais' former band) Rainer Maria."

Josh Kaufman (coproducer and member of Yellowbirds and Rocketship Park) played a vast array of instruments on the record. On this song alone he played the Juno-6, Casio keyboard, Rhodes electric piano, bass guitar, and additional drums. "His ideas were busting out faster than we could put them to tape," exclaims Caithlin.

The Village Voice previewed De Marrais' CMJ show, saying, "The former Rainer Maria frontwoman has a new solo album coming next month, Red Coats, and it reduces her old band’s emo-rock blare to a quieter roar, surrounding de Marrais’ uncommonly expressive singing with tense little clicks and buzzes, slyly destabilizing where Rainer Maria once aimed to knock off socks."

Here's some fan video of another tune from the album:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"UNCOMMONLY EXPRESSIVE" (VILLAGE VOICE) CAITHLIN DE MARRAIS (FORMER RAINER MARIA) HEADLINES 'RED COATS' ALBUM RELEASE SHOW NOV 2 AT UNION HALL FOR WAL

Caithlin De Marrais – former bassist/vocalist for "indie rock icons" (SPIN) Rainer Maria – is headlining an album release show to raise awareness for Walmart Free NYC. There has been some early buzz on her new solo album 'Red Coats,' which comes out Nov 8 on End Up.

The Village Voice previewed De Marrais' CMJ show, saying, "The former Rainer Maria frontwoman has a new solo album coming next month, Red Coats, and it reduces her old band’s emo-rock blare to a quieter roar, surrounding de Marrais’ uncommonly expressive singing with tense little clicks and buzzes, slyly destabilizing where Rainer Maria once aimed to knock off socks."

The NY Times also previewed the show, marking it as a recommended pick: "Ms. De Marrais, the former lead singer of the breezy indie-rockers Rainer Maria, offers sparse, elegiac pop in solo repose." In addition, The Times Arts Beat blog picked up a Tweet from a raving fan.

Time Out NY calls her an "effortlessly stylish indie crooner."

WHO: Caithlin De Marrais, formerly of "indie rock icons" (SPIN) Rainer Maria

WHAT: 'Red Coats' album release show

WHEN: 7:30, November 2, 2011

WHERE: Union Hall, 702 Union Street (at 5th Avenue), Brooklyn, NY

TICKETS: $8 in advance, $10 at the door

WalmartFreeNYC is a diverse coalition of residents, activists, and elected officials committed to protecting local businesses, creating good jobs, and supporting artistic communities.

A number of media outlets have covered the work of WalmartFreeNYC. Here is a recent feature article in The Brooklyn Rail.

Yellowbirds, featuring Sam Cohen of Apollo Sunshine; and Lindsay Sullivan will open.

For more information on Caithlin De Marrais, please contact Nick Loss-Eaton at nick.losseaton@gmail.com or 718.541.1130.

Monday, October 24, 2011

SOUTHERN MUSIC'S POET LAUREATE KEVIN GORDON PLANS FIRST NEW ALBUM IN 7 YEARS 'GLORYLAND' FOR FEB 14 RELEASE ON CROWVILLE MEDIA

Bug Music artist Kevin Gordon – the southern rock and roll songwriter who has been covered by Keith Richards, Levon Helm, Irma Thomas, and others and who has recorded a duet with Lucinda Williams – will release 'Gloryland' (February 14 / Crowville Media), his first new album in 7 years. It's a new high water mark for Gordon, representing his most powerful, fully realized writing to date. Early buzz on the album from Peter Cooper in the hometown Tennessean has focused on the song "Colfax":

"We'll empty your spit-valve for life if you find us anything more stunning than 'Colfax,' [Kevin Gordon's] undeniably superb song that could only have come from one mind, and from one person's experience. It's ostensibly about a kid in the marching band but winds up being about the heart of American darkness and the steel that it takes to move beyond."

Drawing comparisons to a southern Bruce Springsteen, 'Gloryland' depicts heroic and anti-heroic characters tackling choices of faith, individual responsibility, and the positive force of art.

Other highlights from the album include "Pecolia's Star," a duet with Sarah Siskind written in tribute to African-American folk artist and quilter Pecolia Warner; the bracing rocker "One I Love," reminiscent of The Hold Steady; the coming-of-age blues "Bus To Shreveport"; and the steady grooving, Dylanesque "Gloryland."

'Gloryland' was produced by multi-instrumentalist and Dove Award winner Joe McMahan (Freedy Johnston, Allison Moorer) and mastered by Gavin Lurssen (T Bone Burnett).

Gordon has earned the respect of press and his peers. Of Gordon's music, Buddy Miller said, "It reminds me of why I love music. I get transported to a beautiful, strange, familiar place. It's where the best music comes from. Deep and soulful."

HBO's "True Blood" licensed his song "Watching the Sun Go Down" and his duet with Lucinda Williams "Down To The Well" has appeared on an Oxford American Music Issue compilation album.

No Depression has called Gordon's music “dirty and beautiful." All Music Guide said, "Kevin Gordon has earned the reputation as a storytelling leader." Entertainment Weekly said, "He evokes the scorching guitar intensity of Springsteen."

Born in Louisiana, Gordon has a master's degree in poetry from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and he now runs a gallery of contemporary self-taught/folk/outsider/vernacular art in Nashville, TN: http://gordongallery.net/

KEVIN GORDON – GLORYLAND

  1. Gloryland
  2. Don't Stop Me This Time
  3. Colfax/Step in Time
  4. Pecolia's Star
  5. Black Dog
  6. Trying to Get to Memphis
  7. Bus to Shreveport
  8. Nine Bells
  9. Side of the Road
  10. Tearing It Down
  11. One I Love

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Video: The Bo-Keys on WNYC Soundcheck

WNYC Soundcheck aired a performance and interview with Memphis soulsters the Bo-Keys yesterday. Here's the blues "Sundown on Beale":

Thursday, October 13, 2011

'THE GATHERING' DEBUTS CHRISTMAS MUSIC WITH DEEP ROOTS IN APPALACHIAN AND PIEDMONT MUSIC

Christmas music with roots this deep is rare. Appalachian- and Piedmont-style music talents Laurelyn Dossett (of Polecat Creek), Rhiannon Giddens (of the Carolina Chocolate Drops), Mike Compton (John Hartford Band, Nashville Bluegrass Band, Elvis Costello & The Sugarcanes), Joe Newberry and Jason Sypher have joined forces to create 'The Gathering,' a Christmas album recorded in a Greensboro, NC house in the woods during a hot August week.

The North Carolina Symphony commissioned Laurelyn Dossett to write a song cycle and those six songs form the core of the album, focusing on a cold, dark, North Carolina winter night and a prodigal daughter's return. Other songs on the album include Compton singing his former boss John Hartford's "On Christmas Eve" and Giddens and Sypher doing "O Holy Night" as a bass and voice duet.

Check out video on the making of the album:

Stream the song "Lights in the Lowlands."

The pedigree of the musicians brought together for 'The Gathering' is first-rate. Dossett's song "Anna Lee" was recorded by Levon Helm for his GRAMMY-winning album 'Dirt Farmer' as well as on the recent live album 'Ramble At The Ryman.' Her "Leaving Eden" was recorded by the Carolina Chocolate Drops. She has performed at Levon Helm's Midnight Ramble and her original roots music band Polecat Creek has appeared on NPR's Prairie Home Companion.

Rhiannon Giddens is a member of the GRAMMY-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops, whose 2010 album 'Genuine Negro Jig' debuted at number one on the Billboard Bluegrass chart and at number 150 on the Billboard 200. The Carolina Chocolate Drops have also appeared at the Newport Folk Festival, The Grand Ole Opry and in the film "The Great Debators" starring Denzel Washington. Rolling Stone Magazine described the Carolina Chocolate Drops’ style as "dirt-floor-dance electricity."

Mike Compton is a longtime member of the Nashville Bluegrass Band, has recorded with Elvis Costello, Doc Watson, Ralph Stanley, Dolly Parton, Gregg Allman, Willie Nelson, John Hartford, and T-Bone Burnett.

Multi-instrumentalist and North Carolina old time player Joe Newberry won first-place at the Appalachian String Band Music Festival and appeared on a Prairie Home Compaion with Big Medicine.

Double bassist Jason Sypher has performed with Irma Thomas, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, and Susan McKeown, among many others.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sons of Fathers bio

Trends and styles may change in music, but there are just some things that are timeless…like songwriting from the heart with ear-catching melodies and rich harmony vocals. The team of David Beck (a stage name as his real name is David Whitbeck) and Paul Cauthen has created Sons of Fathers, a band with a soaring, original sound that belies their young age. They have been compared to the Avett Brothers, The Byrds, and The Everly Brothers, albeit with an infusion of Texas grease.

Beck and Cauthen came together when each was working on a solo project in San Marcos, Texas. Though the two had met casually, a chance encounter at Thompson’s Island in a park on the Blanco River led them to join forces. Paul remembers, “I was walking in with my guitar and my writing notebook and Dave was walking out with his guitar and book.” As soon as the Texans starting writing and singing together, they realized that they had found something special. “We knocked out an incredible number of songs in two days,” says Paul.

Singing together came just as easily. “It’s the weirdest thing. The harmony is the last thing we worry about. We just fall into sockets of harmony naturally,” says Paul.

Originally called Beck & Cauthen, the group received a letter from representatives of Beck (the artist who performed ‘Odelay’ and ‘Mellow Gold’). “We had used the phrase ‘Sons of Fathers’ long before we wrote the song and we have changed the band name. It was a sign for us to change the name to something that included the whole band, not just a duo. We are all in this together and we all play a role.” Augmented with Corby Schaub, formerly of Ryan Bingham’s Dead Horses, Regan Schmidt on guitar and lap steel, and Dees Stribling on drums, the band functions as an organic unit.

Sons of Fathers is an especially appropriate name as Beck and Cauthen’s heritage has helped make them who they are. Cauthen, a native of Tyler, Texas, began singing in the church at the age of seven and learning guitar from his grandfather, a preacher. He says, “Granddad was a hell of a musician. He chose the Church of Christ instead of the church of rock and roll. I remember learning to sing harmonies in the bathtub at six years old in Tyler, Texas.” Paul now has a tattoo of his grandfather’s signature on his arm and says that his grandfather influences his sense of spirituality to this day.

Beck was raised in San Marcos, Texas, the son of Bill Whitbeck, a respected and renowned touring musician. “It was a different lifestyle for a young son. Dad was always on the road for business. We’ve learned from what our fathers and grandfathers have done and put those lessons into our lives,” he reflects.

The band also has tremendous respect for their matriarchs, having written the poignant song “Mother Dear.” David says, “We have really similar mothers, working hard every day, sacrificing for her kids.” Paul is also grateful, saying, “We both had solid rocks for moms. They were always there.”

The album has numerous other keepers. The rolling “Wind Turbines” is another album highlight. “It’s about finding who you are, finding your place in that. There are a bunch of turbines working and you’re just one of them,” says David. He came up with the idea for this song and the rocking, slide guitar-driven “Flatland” driving to a gig in west Texas. It captures the rhythm of the road and the wind-swept vistas only Texas can deliver.

“Adam & Eve” is a song of commonality and romance. Paul simply says, “Everything rolls around on itself.” The song may be among the most original metaphors for what it's like to find the kind of true love that is strong enough to beget a dynasty. Cauthen adds, “Written in Brooklyn, New York just before Christmas. Three heathens from Texas singing loud at a friend’s house in Williamsburg, harmonizing late into the night. Space Heater humming along, sirens slipping through the glass. Words from home, flown by doves came through the chimney onto the table, covered in magazines and cans. Sunday morning and Saturday night spinning in and out.”

“The Country” is a narrative about an interrupted rural existence, of a man forced to take a job in the city and his discomfort as he sits in his “ten by twenty room,” missing his former life.

The catalog they have written displays elements of all their most righteous influences. Be it a country shuffle reminiscent of Robert Earl Keen, an Americana folk song steeped in the lyrical weight of Bob Dylan, or a genre-bending tune recalling the Beatles, Sons of Fathers possess something unique. “Our favorite songwriters are the most timeless ones Dylan, Paul Simon, McCartney, Lennon, Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young. We also love the Texas writers: Robert Earl Keen, Willis Alan Ramsey, Roger Miller,” says Paul.

As they worked up their original compositions, they began to include finely tuned elements from their live show, incorporating tight Everly-esque harmonies and high energy live arrangements. In the spring of 2011, the band ventured into the studio in the hill country town of Doss, Texas. David says, “Being up there focused us and cleared our minds.”

Legendary producer Lloyd Maines joined them to co-produce their debut album. “Lloyd put the old soul way of doing things on our record, made sure everything was flowing,” says David.

For a new band, they have accomplished much in a short period of time. Most notably, they made their live radio debut on WXPN’s Free at Noon series in August, 2011, a rare event for a new band without a record out. WXPN’s Bruce Warren said, “Their rich vocal harmonies are nothing short of moving.” They have also played at the legendary Gruene Hall.

Radio programmer and media consultant Jessie Scott of Music Fog, who has spent her career bringing great music to audiences around the country; and Marty Schwartz, who knows something about harmonies having begun his career working with the Eagles and Elektra during the recording of ‘Hotel California,’ became involved after they heard startlingly amazing demos. Schwartz also works with McVay Media, a radio consultancy and currently with Gold Mountain Entertainment. Schwartz heard one song, Sons of Fathers’ “Adam & Eve,” and got on the next plane to Austin to see the band in person.

Soon, the music of Sons of Fathers will not only be timeless, but a timely reminder of how great music can be.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Candids with the Gourds

The Gourds on-stage in front of a packed house at Sullivan Hall on October 1:



Keyboardist/accordionist Claude Bernard takes on guitar and at the mic. The Gourds do a lot of instrument swapping in their barnyard stomping set.




Me with one of the Gourds' frontmen, Kevin Russell, who looks like he had a good show:



The Gourds at WFUV, where Rita Houston told the band, "Your songs are just so cool with so many twists and turns."



The Gourds at WFUV:


The Gourds with Rita Houston:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Caithlin De Marrais publicity photos


Here's a photo of Caithlin De Marrais with guitarist Seb Leon. Click for high resolution. Credit: Spencer Heyfron



Credit: Spencer Heyfron

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

SONS OF FATHERS’ PAUL CAUTHEN’S GRANDFATHER INSPIRES HIS MUSIC, NAME, SPIRITUALITY, AND TATTOO

The roots of Sons of Fathers dig deep, back two generations in fact to Paul Cauthen’s grandfather Jim Paul Cauthen. “My granddad is the force inside of me that keeps me motivated. He’s the reason I play,” says Cauthen, who was named for him.

He remembers, “My grandfather was a man of wisdom, who made the choice of the spiritual life rather than rock and roll. He sang in every Church of Christ this side of the Mason-Dixon line! I will always be grateful for the a cappella singing that he taught me. I learned harmonies when I was 5 years old or so, and was singing them in the bathtub by the age of six years old in Tyler, TX.”

Paul continues, “I was exposed to old gospel songs: ‘Wings of a Dove,’ ‘Old Rugged Cross,’ ‘Amazing Grace.’ Then he opened my eyes to Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Buddy Holly. He was best friends with Sonny Curtis [Holly’s lead guitarist] and he knew Buddy. Granddad played music with all of the old west Texas boys.”

He exclaims, “His voice was huge. Once, he was singing along in the audience at an Everly Brothers concert and they pulled him onstage to join them.”

Jim Paul was such an influence on Paul’s life that he has the man’s signature tattooed on his forearm. But his example goes well beyond music. Paul says, “Most importantly my Grandfather taught me how to live for more than myself. He taught me to live for God, family, and a good song.”

Sons of Fathers will perform at Philadelphia’s Tin Angel October 8; Brooklyn’s Freddy’s Bar October 12; Brooklyn’s Branded Saloon October 14; and Brooklyn’s Southpaw October 15.