Monday, February 27, 2012

Morley's "Be The One" video


At the age of 23 and 24 Paul Rishell opened for and sat in with Howlin' Wolf in Cambridge, MA, experiences that set him on the path to becoming the blues master he is today. Rishell recalls, "There'd be no set list and no arrangements. It was extemporaneously done. It was about making things work, making connections quickly, and not worrying about the particulars. These guys didn’t count off. They'd just start playing. It was in your blood, in your feet, it was ethereal. By the time they were finished, the whole room bent in half. It was galvanizing, hypnotic, and unbelievable."

The young Rishell had to think fast in that situation. He says, "You had to come up with a part. Wolf might turn around and say 'too loud' or 'too fast.' He'd tell the key if it was specific song. And you'd find yourself playing with Hubert Sumlin: that guy was a monster!"

He continues, "Meeting these guys meant so much to me. I used them as a model: the way they handled themselves, the way they did their work and went about it. You've got to have your own style."

'Talking Guitar' comes out May 8 on Mojo Rodeo Records.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012



Kevin Gordon – the southern rock & roll songwriter and poet – has earned a feature in today's New York Times under the headline "A Musician Or a Poet? Yes to Both," including Gordon talking about his love of poets Richard Hugo and Denis Johnson.

Peter Applebome also spoke with Gordon fan Lucinda Williams, who told him, "He’s writing songs that are like short stories, and I really like the kind of swampy, bluesy sound."

That's not all we're reading about Gordon and 'Gloryland,' his first new album in seven years.

"'Glorlyand' [is] an often harrowing tour of the back-roads South with scenes of burning churches, a serio-comic brawl after a ZZ Top concert in Shreveport, La., and — most memorably — the time the Klan showed up when his seventh-grade marching band performed about 90 miles from there in Colfax."
- Peter Applebome, New York Times, February 22, 2012

"Four stars… The sheer brilliance of the lyrics to Colfax/Step in Time alone justifies a top rating for the first album in seven years from this Southern-raised poet/rocker. Gordon sketches a not-so-simple portrait of a junior-high marching band on a bus trip, and every single image feels, tastes, smells and sounds absolutely true."
- Jerry Shriver, USA Today, February 14, 2012

"Glory, Glory, Hallelujah."
- Geoffrey Himes, Nashville Scene, February 16, 2012

"Astonishing… He knows exactly how to build and sustain interest in a song… The guitar crackles with electricity, the voice manipulates supple rhythmic shifts to make the words fit the spaces they are given. Here we are reminded that Gordon went to graduate school as a poet. He's learned a lot from other singers, but his poetry skills are stronger than most in the songwriting game.
- Steve Pick, Blurt Magazine, February 14, 2012

"Four stars… Vivid… [Gordon] tells these Southern-based tales so exquisitely that they resonate with his listeners. 'Gloryland' certainly stands as a glorious example of Americana songwriting."
- Mike Berick, American Songwriter, February 14, 2012

"Impressive… nuanced insights set alongside snarling slide guitar, rugged riffs, [and] gospel choruses."
- Mitch Myers, MAGNET, Issue 84

Thursday, February 16, 2012



For his new country blues album 'Talking Guitar,' Paul Rishell relied on a 1928 National Triolian resonator, a 1931 National Style O resonator, a circa 1956 Martin 00018, as well as several newer acoustics and resonators. He first acquired the Style O in the mid-1970s.

Rishell recalls, "I had it when I started playing solo gigs in '75. The guy who sold it to me told me that he found it somewhere down South in a garbage can upside down. He said the neck had rotted away, and he had replaced it and refinished the body. The body is in almost perfect shape."

Rishell added a Piezo pickup to his 1928 National. "If you boost the bass, it sounds great going through my Trace Acoustic Amp. I just got an old Peavey Reno 400 and the National sounds really big through that."

Paul Rishell – the W.C. Handy Award-winning blues master singer and guitarist who played with and learned from Son House, Johnny Shines, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker, and Buddy Guy, and Junior Wells – has come full circle in creating his new album 'Talking Guitar' (May 8 / Mojo Rodeo Records) returning to the music which inspired him to play the blues in the first place when he began honing his craft over 45 years ago. It is his first solo album since 1993 and his first all-acoustic outing.

Rishell has reached what Boston Phoenix writer Ted Drozdowski called "a place deep as resonant as Robert Johnson’s crossroads, where authenticity, soul, and a sense of purpose and commitment ring out in every note he sings and plays." Billboard Magazine says, "Rishell is a master of country/blues styles, particularly slide played on a National steel guitar."

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Morley – the New York-born and raised singer-songwriter and peace activist – will celebrate the official release of her new album 'Undivided' with a show at Joe's Pub, a venue she sold out in November, 2011, on April 7. Since then, she performed as part of TEDxWomen, alongside Dr. Mehmet Oz, Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem. View her performance here.

'Undivided' came about following a year of travel for Morley, who brought back rhythms and melodies from the Sahara and Morocco. Her video for "Wild Bird" debuted on National Geographic Music, which called it "a dazzling, sun-drenched voyage to the Sahara desert.

The Huffington Post 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... 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.

Morley's concerts are exercises in unity, bringing audiences together. Born in Jamaica, Queens, the singer-songwriter teaches conflict resolution to teens from conflict regions such as Northern Ireland and Israel and Palestine, working with the organization Face To Face | Faith To Faith on three-week workshops. She is also a yoga instructor.

WHO: Born & raised New Yorker Morley
WHAT: Official album release show for 'Undivided'
WHERE: Joe's Pub, 425 Lafayette Street, NYC, (212) 539-8778
WHEN: 9:30pm, Saturday, April 7
TICKETS: $15 in Advance, $18 at Door via Joe's Pub box office or Joe's

Monday, February 13, 2012

Veteran bluesman brings music forward with Buffalo Junction

Music Maker Relief Foundation is pleased to announce the release of Boo Hanks’ & Dom Flemons’ Buffalo Junction. This album is the result of a partnership between Piedmont-style blues guitarist Hanks and Flemons, who in 2011 won a Grammy Award and played the Newport Folk Festival with his group the Carolina Chocolate Drops. Hanks worked the tobacco fields near his Virginia home for the majority of his 83 years. In 2006 he began a partnership with Music Maker Relief Foundation that led to opportunities such as opening for the Chocolate Drops collaborating with Dom Flemons on their album, Buffalo Junction, named for Boo Hanks’ hometown. The album, which will be released June 19, 2012, features upbeat, country blues that crosses generational lines.

Boo Hanks grew up sharecropping in Vance County, N.C. His father played blues guitar in the style of then-popular Blind Boy Fuller, and would entertain their small community at local events and during all-night tobacco curing. Boo was able to learn Piedmont-style blues guitar during these sessions, and from listening to Blind Boy Fuller records on a wind-up gramophone. He bought his first guitar from the Sears-Roebuck mail-order catalog for two dollars, money he had earned working in the tobacco fields. Boo began to play for the community in the same way his father had before him – at gatherings and to pass the time while working. He continued playing for that small audience until the age of 79, when he met Music Maker Relief Foundation.

Boo never thought of his guitar as a way to make a living, but after partnering with Music Maker he has played for thousands including venues in Belgium and the Lincoln Center. This past year Boo has traveled to the Savannah Folk Festival, the Black Banjo Gathering, where he is a regular, and performed for local N.C. events such as the Music Maker Jubilee and Warehouse Blues Series in Durham. During the six years he has worked with Music Maker Boo has cultivated a friendship with Dom Flemons, and the album Buffalo Junction came about from their collaborative relationship.

Tim Duffy, Music Maker’s founder, says, “Boo Hanks is the last remaining beacon of pure Piedmont Blues. Buffalo Junction demonstrates the passing of the torch from the Piedmont Blues style created by Blind Boy Fuller in 1930 to an artist like Dom, who is poised to carry the sound into this new century.”

The album highlights Boo on the guitar and vocals, while Flemons plays a variety of traditional instruments such as the jug, harmonica, bones and also sings backup vocals. The album was recorded when Tim Duffy and Flemons went to visit Boo’s home in Buffalo Junction, leading to the album’s title.

In addition to advocating for traditional music and working with elderly musicians, Music Maker brings traditional music forward with their Next Generation program, which promotes younger artists playing in a traditional style. Through Next Generation partnerships like the one between Boo Hanks and Dom Flemons, MMRF is able to foster the continuation of Southern traditional music among younger generations of musicians. Buffalo Junction is a collaborative album that does just that.

Friday, February 3, 2012


My indie-folk band Leland Sundries celebrates our sophomore release 'The Foundry EP' with a date at Union Hall on February 24. Recorded in Greenpoint, Brooklyn in a former Creamery, the new EP includes a song inspired by a 2006 Greenpoint waterfront fire as well as North Brooklyn's waterfront history.

I played a mélange of banjo, resonator guitar, harmonica, harmonium and the EP ranges from a tale of a veteran's memories reminiscent of Nick Cave to a New Orleans ragtime replete with a horn section. Hit reply if you'd like a CD or press-only download.

WHO: Leland Sundries, on a bill with Dead Fingers and lou-is

WHAT: Release show for 'The Foundry EP'

WHERE: Union Hall, 702 Union Street, Brooklyn, (718) 638-4400

WHEN: 8pm, February 24, 2012

TICKETS: $8 adv / $10 dos

Leland Sundries has opened for Todd Snider and Chuck Prophet. Also on the bill is Dead Fingers, featuring Taylor Hollingsworth (Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band) and Kate Taylor (Maria Taylor).

"Leland Sundries, a band from New York led by Nick Loss-Eaton, is dedicated to storytelling in a way that recalls Woody Guthrie and his Folkways brethren. [Their] scrappy Americana will get you longing for empty two-lane highways and kudzu-encased back porches." – New York Times

"Promising Brooklyn outfit Leland Sundries, which variously means singer-songwriter Nick Loss-Eaton solo or with accompaniment, swathes sparse folk and edgy Americana around Loss-Eaton’s barrel-chested, sounds-like-Lou-Reed vocals" - Boston Globe

"Leland Sundries singer/picker Nick Loss-Eaton’s the-Band-meets-Lou-Reed approach mates gnawing electric guitar and old-time acoustic six-string, banjo, and harmonica melodies with dry-witted, drawling, modern-day ennui." – Boston Phoenix

"Leland Sundries craft spare, laid-back acoustic folk that calls to mind Lou Reed and Woody Guthrie. The harmonica is wandering, the guitars thoughtful, but it’s frontman Nick Loss-Eaton’s casual voice and vivid lyrics that really get me." - San Diego City Beat

Thursday, February 2, 2012



One of the most intriguing songs from blues master Paul Rishell's new album 'Talking Guitar' came to him in a dream following his experience of meeting and playing with Son House.

Of the driving song "Louise," Rishell says, "I woke up in the middle of the night and in my head was a bass part. I got up and learned it in the dark and went back to sleep. Then I woke up in the morning with a melody in my head." A scholar of country blues, he also adapted one of the chords in the song from Bo Carter's "Bumble Bee." The result is a highlight of 'Talking Guitar,' standing alongside works by Lead Belly, Skip James, Charley Patton, and Blind Lemon Jefferson.

GRAMMY Winner David Holt, who frequently accompanies Doc Watson, recorded the song with Sam Bush (Alison Krauss, John Prine, Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris) on mandolin on his 'Let it Slide' album in 2005.

'Talking Guitar' comes out May 8 on Mojo Rodeo.

A WC Handy Award winner, Rishell has reached what Boston Phoenix writer Ted Drozdowski called "a place deep and resonant as Robert Johnson’s crossroads, where authenticity, soul, and a sense of purpose and commitment ring out in every note he sings and plays." Downbeat said, "He makes the masters like Son House and Robert Johnson speak to us across time."