Friday, December 18, 2015




“No Lead Belly, no Beatles.” – George Harrison

“Lead Belly wasn’t an influence, he was the influence.” – Van Morrison

Lead Belly Fest presents its first US performance at Carnegie Hall on February 4, 2016, a multi-artist, immersive tribute featuring five-time GRAMMY Award winner Buddy Guy and Eric Burdon (the Animals), among others.

Lead Belly gave his final performance in 1949 at Carnegie Hall shortly before he died of ALS on 6th December of that year. Tom Paley of the New Lost City Ramblers performed at that 1949 concert and is the last man alive to have played with Lead Belly. Paley will return to the Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall February 4.

Other performers include three-time GRAMMY winner Tom Chapin; Blues Music Award nominee Nick Moss with Michael Ledbetter, who is Lead Belly’s first cousin twice removed; two-time British Blues Award winner Laurence Jones; Josh White, Jr., (son of legendary folk singer Josh White who sang at Lead Belly’s funeral); Hot 100 Singles charting artist Ali Isabella, the “high-octane” (UNCUT) Walter Trout; NYC Blues Hall of Famer Sari Schorr; NYC’s very own Dana Fuchs; and NYC folk and blues artist and Village Voice cover story subject Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton; all playing with a house band led by Jon Cobert.

Lead Belly Fest sold out Royal Albert Hall this past June in a concert headlined by Van Morrison and received rave reviews:

“The stars came out to pay tribute in an incredible ensemble of talent. ‘Lead Belly Fest’ was, more than just a concert – it was a happening: without doubt one of the most diverse and authentic productions that this venerable hall has witnessed in many a year…”
- The London Times

A commemorative plaque to celebrate the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer’s longtime residence at 414 E. 10th Street, which became a hub of the folk revival, will be unveiled by a special guest at a ceremony to be announced in January.

Inspired by Lead Belly’s love of children, proceeds from the concert will go to NYC’s Association to Benefit Children (ABC). The Association to Benefit Children (ABC) is dedicated to bringing joy and warmth to disadvantaged children and their families through compassionate, sustainable, comprehensive and integrated services, designed to permanently break the cycles of abuse, neglect, sickness and homelessness.

ABC’s humane and innovative programs today include early childhood education for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, educational advocacy, housing assistance, mental health services, family support and preservation, crisis intervention, therapeutic out-of-school and summer day camp programs, youth leadership development and mentoring.

Project A.L.S. was founded in 1998, as a non-profit 501(c)3, when Jenifer Estess, a 35-year-old New York theater and film producer, was diagnosed with ALS. Told at the time of diagnosis to “max out her credit cards and eat junk food,” Jenifer instead committed her efforts to making a difference for people with ALS—and producing treatments and a cure.

Project A.L.S. identifies and funds the most promising scientific research that will lead to the first effective treatments and a cure for ALS. The new paradigm for brain disease research, Project A.L.S. recruits the world’s best scientists and doctors to work together rationally and aggressively toward a better understanding of the ALS disease process and, in parallel, better therapeutic strategies.

Tickets go on sale today and start at $40 at, CarnegieCharge 212-247-7800, Box Office at 57th and Seventh.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


Leland Sundries
Debut Album –– Music For Outcasts
Out June 2016
"Oddball storytelling" – Time Out New York
"Excellent" – The iTunes Store
"Scrappy" – NY Times
New York, NY– Crackling garage rock meets literate indie rock in a sound marinated in the extremes of New York City on Music For Outcasts, the full-length debut and first UK/European release for Leland Sundries.  It comes out in May, 2016 on L’Echiquier Records and places Leland Sundries in the context of bands that combine literacy with overdrive such as Silver Jews, Deer Tick, Jack Oblivian, The Hold Steady, Johnny Thunders, The Modern Lovers and Ezra Furman.  Already earning praise in the UK from outlets like The Beat and Mad MackeralMusic for Outcasts prepares for a June 2016 debut.

Leland Sundries is the portmanteau under which frontman Nick Loss-Eaton and an ever-evolving roster of Brooklyn, NYC musicians produce the kind of careering, scrappy garage rock which has -via nascent EP releases- already earned the band nods from The New York Times and Time Out NY. Music For Outcasts itself was shaped by the aftermath from emergency open heart surgery. Fairly white-knuckle, stare-down-your-mortality fare for anyone, never mind someone barely out of their twenties, and a live-it-out experience which bears its blackly humorous mark across Music For Outcasts.

Studio recordings were then made in an unheated loft studio in Nick’s old neighbourhood of Greenpoint, in a former creamery building nestled next to a bridge between Brooklyn and Queens, much of it recorded on analogue tape.

The surf-rock wash of ‘Greyhound From Reno’ zeros in on the pill-hazed, midnight exodus of a shady character skipping town. Whilst the track lampoons its sleazy, washed up protagonist, Loss-Eaton delivers its underlying inference direct to the mirror, written as it was at the tail end of his addiction; ‘It’s impressionistic, non-linear, but that sense you can’t outrun yourself is palpable’. The track came eventually came together in aptly chaotic fashion during late-night recording takes; ‘We turned out all the lights in the studio and it got weird. I sang and screamed until I went hoarse, and it felt like an exorcism of panic’.
Elsewhere on Music For Outcasts, Loss-Eaton turns the microscope on his own scars with a similarly unflinching candour. ‘Freckle Blues’ (written whilst New York was holed up during Hurricane Irene) equates the elapse of time since a relationship’s demise and the guilty aftermath. And yet beyond the more personal scorched earth the record rakes over, there is a wider resonance within the world of misfits and missed connections that Music For Outcasts inhabits. Fittingly for one who snatches fragments of lyric ideas from overheard conversations & glimpses into the lives of others, the characters and vignettes which Loss-Eaton summons here are so vivid as to become almost tangible. ‘Stripper From Bensonhurst’ mines far beyond the attendant stereotypes to chart the push/pull between a grim domestic semblance of normality far more intolerable to this woman than her nocturnal ‘other life', whilst the taut, Spoon-esque snap and swivel of ‘Radiator Sabotage’ paints a world of burnt-out glamour as palpable as any of Lou Reed’s succinct dispatches. Even the track titles themselves – ‘Studebaker’, 'Wallace ID’ – function almost like projector slides, brief flashes of narrative which demand conjecture.  

Two studio EPs, a vinyl/digital 7” single, three music videos, and national US touring have already earned Leland Sundries praise from Pop Matters, New Yorker, Magnet, American Songwriter, Village Voice, Time Out NY, Baeble Music, No Depression, Blurt, and Boston Phoenix. The band has performed at Campout Fest (Joshua Tree, CA); taped a Daytrotter session; and shared stages with Spirit Family Reunion, Todd Snider, Marah, Eef Barzelay (leader of Clem Snide), Taylor Hollingsworth (of Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band) and Cracker.

New Yorkers:  Leland Sundries will play a release show for first album single "Radiator Sabotage" on December 13th @ Palisades in Brooklyn

Monday, December 7, 2015



Julie Rhodes wasn’t singing along to get anyone’s attention. She was swept up in the songs of Yep Roc Records artist Jonah Tolchin at a house show in Providence, RI and sang along. When support artist Dan Blakesleee approached her after the set to tell her that he’d heard her stunning voice and to ask if she was an artist, she admitted to him that she was just a fan. He challenged her to write her first song, which she did on the drive from Providence back to Somerville. Julie recalls, “When I got home, I recorded it on my phone and sent it to Jonah and Dan the next day with the message, ‘thanks for the inspiration.’ The two of them listened to the song out loud in a Staples. Jonah reached out immediately. He was really impressed and encouraged me to keep going.” In fact, he went one step further, mentoring her as a musician.

After hearing the second song she wrote, Tolchin began to mentor her,, at first having her guest on his sets and later producing her debut album ‘Bound To Meet The Devil.’ Tolchin says, “Julie Rhodes is the future of soulful music. She holds in her heart, mind, and vocal chords what the world needs to hear. I think that it will mark the first chapter of an awe-inspiring career for her.”

In under two years, that journey has taken her to the FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, AL, to record debut album as well to the stages of CMJ and Brooklyn’s Baby’s All Right. Pop Matters recently hailed the LP as “the arrival of a significant new Americana/blues talent.”

Monday, November 30, 2015




“The stars came out to pay tribute in an incredible ensemble of talent. ‘Lead Belly Fest’ was, more than just a concert – it was a happening: without doubt one of the most diverse and authentic productions that this venerable hall has witnessed in many a year…” - The London Times

Lead Belly Fest will make its American debut after a sold out show at Royal Albert Hall this summer as Walter Trout, Dana Fuchs, Sari, Ali Isabella, and Tom Chapin & Jon Cobert take the City Winery stage December 8 to pay tribute to the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer. This show will preview a larger concert at Carnegie Hall, which will take place in 2016. Click here for a playlist of artists performing at City Winery’s Lead Belly Fest.

+ Revitalized after a liver transplant, the “high octane” (UNCUT) Walter Trout is a veteran of Canned Heat and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. Guitar World premiered his new song “Almost Gone” from his recent release ‘Battle Scars.’ Trout previously performed at Royal Albert Hall’s inaugural Lead Belly Fest this summer.

+ Tom Chapin and Jon Cobert will perform together. The NY Times has called three-time GRAMMY winner Chapin “one of the great personalities in contemporary folk music,” continuing, “Warm spirit, infectious humor, and sensitive satiric songs.” Jon Cobert has recorded and played with John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, and Al Green.

+ Just 19 years of age, Ali Isabella has already captivated the world, with singles in the top 20 on both the Hotdisc chart in the UK and on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Sales Chart. She reached #1 on the Billboard Country Hot Single Sales chart as well, appearing on FOX 5 Morning TV show Good Day New York and on FUSE News TV and opening at Wembley Arena in London for Reba McEntire and Lonestar.

+ New Yorker Dana Fuchs’ latest album ‘Songs From the Road’ was recorded at NYC’s Highline Ballroom. A live show by the Dana Fuchs Band is an assault on all the senses. UK’s Classic Rock Magazine, who famously declared Dana’s voice as “juke-joint dirty and illicit, evoking Janis Joplin, Mick Jagger and a cigarette butt bobbing in a glass of bourbon.”

+ New York Blues Hall of Fame singer and songwriter Sari is a tornado with blues in her blood. She took the international blues scene by storm as the powerhouse lead vocalist for Blues Hall of Fame guitarist Joe Louis Walker. Sari has appeared on CONAN. Most notable is her work on “Toast to Freedom” for Amnesty International, where she collaborated with many musical legends including Warren Haynes, Levon Helm, Keb Mo’, Taj Mahal, Marianne Faithful, Rosanne Cash, Donald Fagan, Eric Burdon, and Carly Simon.

Inspired by Lead Belly’s love of children, proceeds from the concert will go to NYC’s Association to Benefit Children (ABC). The Association to Benefit Children (ABC) is dedicated to bringing joy and warmth to disadvantaged children and their families through compassionate, sustainable, comprehensive and integrated services, designed to permanently break the cycles of abuse, neglect, sickness and homelessness.

ABC’s humane and innovative programs today include early childhood education for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, educational advocacy, housing assistance, mental health services, family support and preservation, crisis intervention, therapeutic out-of-school and summer day camp programs, youth leadership development and mentoring.

Project A.L.S. was founded in 1998, as a non-profit 501(c)3, when Jenifer Estess, a 35-year-old New York theater and film producer, was diagnosed with ALS. Told at the time of diagnosis to “max out her credit cards and eat junk food,” Jenifer instead committed her efforts to making a difference for people with ALS—and producing treatments and a cure.

Project A.L.S. identifies and funds the most promising scientific research that will lead to the first effective treatments and a cure for ALS. The new paradigm for brain disease research, Project A.L.S. recruits the world’s best scientists and doctors to work together rationally and aggressively toward a better understanding of the ALS disease process and, in parallel, better therapeutic strategies.

Shooting Star Chase is a leading children’s hospice charity caring for babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions, and their families. Whether lives are measured in days, weeks, months or years, Shooting Star is there to make every moment count. It supports families from diagnosis to end of life and throughout bereavement with a range of nursing, practical, emotional and medical care.

WHO: Walter Trout, Tom Chapin & Jon Cobert, Dana Fuchs, Sari, Ali Isabella
WHAT: Lead Belly Fest at City Winery
WHEN: 10pm, December 8, 2015
WHERE: City Winery, 155 Varick St, NYC
TICKETS: $22-30 via City Winery or here

Lead Belly Fest at Carnegie Hall photos

 Above: Lead Belly, courtesy Lead Belly: A Life In Pictures
above: Lead Belly, photo by Van Fisher
  Lead Belly, courtesy Lead Belly: A Life In Pictures

Eric Burdon (of the Animals), credit: Marianna Burdon
Tom Paley (of the New Lost City Ramblers) and Ben Paley at Royal Albert Hall
Above: Dom Flemons, Credit: Michael Weintrob

Above: Ali Isabella
Above: Guy Davis, credit: Joe Rosen 
Above: John Davis, credit: John Halpern
Above: Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Credit: Greg Logan
Above: Walter Trout
 Above: Dana Fuchs

Above:  Dana Fuchs
Above: Sari
Above: Edgar Winter

Above: Marky Ramone, by Martin Bonetto

Above: Josh White, Jr.

Monday, November 23, 2015



‘Bound To Meet the Devil’ (February 26, 2016) marks the arrival of a powerhouse new vocalist on the Americana scene: Julie Rhodes. Just two years ago, she hadn’t yet graced the stage, though she was an ardent fan and working at an ice cream parlor. Yep Roc Records artist Jonah Tolchin heard her singing along to one of his songs in the audience; after the show, they talked and Tolchin was shocked to learn that Julie wasn’t (yet) an artist with the vocal talents that she possessed. Less than a year later, Tochin was co-producing and playing guitar on ‘Bound To Meet the Devil.’

Already, she’s earned a northeast fanbase, has performed at venues like NYC’s Baby’s All Right, and has played CMJ. Counting Crows’ Adam Duritz said, “Get ready to be amazed by Julie Rhodes.”

Recorded in her native New England as well as at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, AL, the 11-song full-length studio LP also includes heavy hitters such as Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Spooner Oldham, Nickel Creek's Sara Watkins, and Greg Leisz (Paul Westerberg, Dave Alvin, Lucinda Williams). It was mixed by Grammy Award-winner Sheldon Gomberg and mastered by 1809 Studios.

The resulting album has an immediate, visceral impact from first listen onwards, bearing the influences of singers like Irma Thomas, Shovels & Rope, Etta James, and Bonnie Raitt. The longing of album opener “In Your Garden” to her knowing vocals over the Muscle Shoals groove of “Collector Man.” The band provides ample support behind her, from the relaxed behind-the-beat “Hey Stranger” to the pure soul of “Hurricane.” Though the writing is uniformly strong, one of the album’s highlights is a spine-tingling cover of Son House’s “Grinnin’ In Your Face.”

Look out for concert announcements coming soon.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Julie Rhodes photos and album art

Above credit: Roberto Terrones, click for high res

Above credit: Roberto Terrones, click for high res

Above credit: Roberto Terrones, click for high res
Above credit: Roberto Terrones, click for high res

Above credit: Roberto Terrones, click for high res


Brooklyn Music Shop will present Blues for Christmas: A Festival of the Blues and the Holidays December 12 at Roulette. Here’s a playlist of the artists performing.

+ NYC native guitar wild man Popa Chubby, who recently celebrated his twenty-fifth anniversary as a performer. An imposing figure with a shaven head, tattooed arms, a goatee and a performance style he describes as “the Stooges meets Buddy Guy, Motörhead meets Muddy Waters, and Jimi Hendrix meets Robert Johnson.”

+ Michael Hill is a 2011 inductee into the New York Blues Hall of Fame as a Master Blues Artist. Living Blues Magazine says, “Mixing blues, funk, soul and pop stylings with lyrics that reflect urban life, Hill has produced an atmospheric and evocative statement rife with social consciousness and personal angst. An admirable contribution to modern blues by one of its most talented songwriters and guitarists.” New York rock legend Vernon Reid of Living Colour and the Black Rock Coalition will perform as a special guest.

+ Of Jeffrey Gaines, Paste said, “Gaines possesses a raspy, soulful voice and a knack for soul-searching, gut-check lyrics.” He has also earned praise from Rolling Stone, Billboard, Associated Press, Washington Post, and more.

+ Jesse Terry has appeared at Bonnaroo and the Philadelphia Folk Festival and is a singer/songwriter with an uncanny ability to weave tales of travel and homecoming, of sorrow and of redemption, into songs that are simultaneously timeless and fresh. Terry’s music reflects an amalgam of influences, from Nashville to Laurel Canyon. His melodic and lyrically-driven Americana fits naturally on a playlist between cuts from Josh Ritter, Jackson Browne, Ryan Adams and Neil Young.

WHO: Popa Chubby, Michael Hill's Blues Mob, Jeffrey Gaines & Jesse Terry, and special guest Vernon Reid
WHAT: Blues For Christmas: A Festival of Blues and the Holidays
WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015, 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Roulette Theater, 509 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn (@ 3rd Ave.)

Blues For Christmas artist photos

 Above: Jeffrey Gaines (Click for high res)
 Above: Jesse Terry (Click for high res)

Above: Michael Hill's Blues Mob

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Kingsley Flood 'The Good Fight' Artwork

 credit: Michael D. Spencer, click for high res version
The Good Fight cover art, click for high res version

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


KCRW has added Brian Carpenter & the Confessions’ debut album ‘The Far End of the World’ on the heels of press and blog raves. The band has also released its debut music video, filmed in the Mojave Desert and directed by Dan Huiting (Pitchfork.TV):

Here’s what we’re reading:

“Bound to become a big name… dignified darkness.”
- Chris Deville, Stereogum, September 2, 2015

“Noir-ish Americana.”
- Linda Laban, Village Voice, October 30, 2015

“Dark, introspective territory with some Southwestern twinges.”
- Chris Steffen, All Music, September 30, 2015

“Haunted-twang tales of loss and woe drawing on chamber pop, sea shanties, and old-timey folk in their most haunting representations, all shrouded in a cinematic melange of strings, theremin, organ, and nyckelharpa.”
- Shaun Brady, The Key, November 10, 2015

“Stunning... avant-noir”
- Adrien Begrand, Pop Matters, September 10, 2015

“A fitting soundtrack to an episode of True Detective or a David Lynch film.”
- UTNE Reader, September 24, 2015

Bostonians: the band will play Great Scott on December 2, 2015.

Monday, November 16, 2015



Starbucks has confirmed in-store airplay for Ironing Board Sam’s new album ‘Super Spirit,’ his first on Fat Possum subsidiary Big Legal Mess. Meanwhile, TIME Magazine posted a feature and photo spread on Ironing Board Sam and fellow Music Maker Relief Foundation artists.

‘Super Spirit’ has earned widespread acclaim:

“Soulful… Sam possesses the kind of weathered, soul-drenched voice that only a seasoned R&B veteran has these days.”
- Bart Bealmear, Dangerous Minds, September 21, 2015

- Chris Steffen, All Music, August 31, 2015

“Kicking funk… A singer of maximum force, he also pulls down interplanetary love to share with his fellow creatures here… Cosmic vibrations float off the stage and swirl around the room, until they land inside of all those present, only to ferment and explode in fragments of beaming lights buried deep within the brain. If that sounds far out, then it should. This is music powered by the super spirit—and then some. Groove now and forever keep your psyche turned on.”
- Bill Bentley, Morton Report, November 6, 2015

“Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings. Bettye Lavette. Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires… With his brand new album, Super Spirit, releasing today on Big Legal Mess Records, soul and blues legend Ironing Board Sam joins the illustrious list of artists.”
- Rhonda Nicole, SoulTrain, October 2, 2015
“Wildman… A Sam appearance is a dazzling event… Watching his performances is like watching Little Richard and Screamin' Jay Hawkins in a battle for possession of the same body… Even though his latest, Super Spirit, is a studio record, it has the same energy and wildness as his live performances… Sam's sound is rough-hewn soul and blues held together, or more often than not, torn asunder by his extraterrestrial piano figures… Sam is in fine shape here, taking on all comers and laying 'em out, his spirit and his skills stronger than ever.”
- Grant Britt, No Depression, September 30, 2015

“A consummate showman, blues legend Ironing Board Sam has been entertaining audiences for decades with his mad scientist approach… Sam's music is a treat for the eyes as much as it is for the ears.”
- UTNE Reader, September 15, 2015

“Legend… perhaps his finest album yet.”
- Shane Handler, Glide, September 28, 2015

“It's safe to say that Sammie Moore, aka Ironing Board Sam, is back.”
- Chris Shaw, Memphis Flyer, September 22, 2015

Here’s the postable track “Baby You Got It."

Buy link on CD or LP.

Thursday, November 12, 2015


HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. – TIME’s dedicated photography column “Lightbox” has recently published a piece on Our Living Past, a new photography exhibition by Tim Duffy and the Music Maker Relief Foundation, which features platinum portraits of Music Maker Partner Artists. Highlighting Music Maker as a hub for cultural preservation, artists such as Ironing Board Sam, Sharon Jones, and Taj Mahal are among the collective of musicians included in the Lightbox piece and showcased in Our Living Past. The exhibition itself was produced through collaboration with long-time publisher Steven Albahari of 21st Editions and was also sponsored by Cathead Vodka, a dedicated supporter of Music Maker artists. Debuting in the Atrium of the Hartfield Jackson Airport in Atlanta, GA November 22nd, Our Living Past has been booked to travel on through 2017. The exhibition features original portraits of traditional Southern musicians, whose careers have been reignited through their work with Music Maker. The images were captured by Duffy himself and give a glimpse into the rich historical narrative and vital culture of southern traditional music. Duffy’s life work, to preserve this culture, now takes on a tangible form through Our Living Past, and the importance of such a work is already gaining recognition. A recent headline from a piece published in TIME reads “These Portraits of Southern Blues Musicians Prove That Blues Is Not Dead.” The article stresses how Duffy’s work is recontextualizing the narrative in which blues musicians are often discussed. After a remarkable 20th year anniversary celebration with nods from the Wall Street Journal, PBS News Hour, NPR Weekend Edition, CBS Evening News and many more, this collection of platinum prints has been curated and produced to continue preserving and sharing the stories of Music Maker artists for the next 20 years. “Tim Duffy is a modern-day Edward Curtis as it relates to the Blues,” said publisher Steve Albahari. “A photographer whose art embodies a classic approach and sensibility, a musician from early on, and a producer of some 200 albums by musicians he supports and even resurrects, Tim has woven his artistic and creative assets into an organization with philanthropic objectives and ideals, second to none.” Albahari says he leapt at the chance to work with Duffy, making the decision to sponsor and produce Our Living Past in just hours. He went on to praise the exhibit, calling this effort to preserve the history of these traditions one of the highlights of his career. Our Living Past Tour Dates: Atlanta International Airport, Atlanta, GA - November 2015 – January 2016 Appleton Museum of Art, Ocala, FL - April 2016 – June 2016 Clifton Center, Louisville, KY - August 2016 – October 2016 Norton Center for the Arts, Danville, KY - September 2016 – January 2017 Henderson Fine Arts Center, Henderson, KY - January 2017 – March 2017 Janice Mason Art Museum, Cadiz, KY - January 2017- March 2017 Kentucky Folk Art Center, Morehead, KY - March 2017 – May 2017 Downtown Arts Center in Lexington, KY - March 2017 – May 2017 For more information on Our Living Past: A Platinum Portrait of Music Maker, click here.

Thursday, November 5, 2015


Indie-pop musician Piney Gir is gearing up for the American release of 'mR. hYDE'S wILD rIDE,' an album that finds the UK-based singer exploring everything from psychedelic pop to British folk to '90s grunge. The songs are bright and bold, glued together by the melodies Piney has been writing since her days in the American Midwest. Already released in the U.K., where Piney has lived for more than a decade, the "undeniably charming" album (The Sun) will bring its "sweet, 60s pop" (Uncut) to American stores on February 19th, courtesy of Greyday Records.

Piney was raised in a religious household, where her fundamentalist parents didn't allow their daughter to listen to popular music until the age of 14. Growing up in rural Kansas certainly left a mark on her earlier albums, with outlets like NPR noting the similarities to country artists like Tammy Wynette and Patsy Cline. On 'mR. hYDE'S wILD rIDE,' though, she steers her ship into more pop-influenced waters. Piney gets a little help from her friends, too, with Stereolab drummer Andy Ramsey lending both his percussion and his studio to the recording process. Band members of Gaz Coombes and Emiliana Torrini also chipped in, adding shimmering keyboards, distorted guitars, chirping harmonies and even marimba to Piney's songs. The result is a record that sounds both retro and futuristic, taking the listeners on -- ahem -- a wild ride over the course of 12 songs.

The fuzzy, buzzing "Gold Rules" — one of the album's kickoff singles —  nods to the harmonized alt-pop of the Breeders. In the song's music video, Piney whips up a batch of miniature desserts before jumping onstage to perform with a band full of stringed marionettes. It's a sugar-sweet and utterly unique clip, two descriptors that also apply to mR. hYDE'S wILD rIDE as a whole.

Already released in the U.K., where Piney has lived for more than a decade, Mr. Hyde's Wild Ride is the sound of a songwriter making multiple genres her own.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Noted blues scholar and harmonica player publishes first novel

For immediate release

Contact:  Adam Gussow
Phone:  845-664-8602

Modern Blues Harmonica Presents Busker's Holiday

Modern Blues Harmonica is pleased to announce the publication of Busker’s Holiday, a taut, sexy first novel about the summer busking scene in Europe and a pair of wild-hearted young men who make a pitch for fame and glory, finding a girl or two along the way.

Adam Gussow, the author, is an associate professor of English and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi.  Gussow has published three previous books on the blues, including Mister Satan’s Apprentice (1998), an award-winning memoir about his years as a Harlem street musician.

Set in the late 1980s, Busker’s Holiday is the story of McKay Chernoff, a Columbia University grad student with a harmonica in his pocket and a blues band in his background.  Desolate and despairing after a disastrous romantic breakup, McKay decides to fly off to Paris and reinvent himself as a street performer.

What follows is an epic summer voyage into the busking life, propelled by the mad exploits of Billy Lee Grant, a fearless young guitar shredder whose Memphis-to-Mississippi pedigree and Dylanesque surrealism make him, when he explodes into view, precisely the partner McKay has been yearning for.

Burning like a latter-day Dean Moriarty, Bill goads McKay into a sun-drenched, all-night bender, stoked by wine, women, mushrooms, and trains, that careens down out of Avignon and across the French Riviera.  What happens next—in Florence, Solingen, Amsterdam, Paris—is a story of purgatory, redemption, and love regained.  Hope, in a word, as a modern troubadour returns from his wanderings, reborn.

For more information on Busker’s Holiday and a photo of the author as a reckless young street performer, visit the website:

# # #

About the author:

Adam Gussow, born in New York City and raised twenty-five miles upriver, has been living in Oxford, Mississippi since 2002, where he teaches at Ole Miss and performs with his current duo, The Blues Doctors.  He is best-known musically for his longtime partnership with guitarist Sterling “Mr. Satan” Magee as the duo Satan and Adam.  He has contributed more than 500 blues harmonica teaching and performance videos to YouTube—his debut music video, “Crossroads Blues,” has 700,000 views—and his website,, is popular with beginners and pros alike.

Gussow has published three previous books on the blues:  Mister Satan’s Apprentice:  A Blues Memoir (1998); Seems Like Murder Here:  Southern Violence and the Blues Tradition (2002); and Journeyman’s Road:  Modern Blues Lives From Faulkner’s Mississippi to Post-9/11 New York (2007).  He has just completed a scholarly monograph entitled Beyond the Crossroads:  The Devil and the Blues Tradition.

# # #

Praise for Busker’s Holiday

“In Gussow’s…lively road novel, an American grad student spends a wild few weeks as a street musician in Europe….a five-week odyssey, a wild, jazzy tale that includes rollicking musical performances, running from the cops, drunken debauchery, and a diverse array of colorful characters…. Gussow’s tale is a fast-paced, enjoyable one, with the harmonica blues angle putting a unique spin on the European trip narrative. It is a nostalgic story but thankfully unsentimental, as rigorous detail and descriptions bring the story to life in explosive ways. McKay on the street in Paris drinking Heineken while playing “Sweet Home Chicago” is certainly cool, yet Gussow outdoes himself with the novel’s revolving cast of unique characters, whose crazy times and back stories are endlessly entertaining. The novel is about the trip of a lifetime, going to Europe to forget everything, but it’s also a story of friendship, helped tremendously by Gussow’s ear for music and dialogue. A strongly written, cool novel about being young, bluesy, and free on a vagabond adventure in Europe.” –Kirkus Reviews

“Why would anyone be surprised that Adam Gussow had such a fantastic novel in him? For decades, his impeccable harp-playing has demonstrated the depth of his soul. His scholarly writing offers keen insight into all manner of American aesthetics. That he has rounded up such a roguish cast of characters and unleashed them abroad for shenanigans of the best kind only confirms the range of his talents.”--Tom Williams, author of Among the Wild Mulattos & Other Tales and Don’t Start Me Talkin’

"Busker's Holiday is strung between espressos and bluesy harmonica poetry, a linguistic tour-de-force dancing like rain drops on the Paris streets."-- Paul Maher, Jr., author of Kerouac: The Definitive Biography and Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac's On the Road

“Adam Gussow writes like he plays the harmonica: with great precision and fluidity, and with a flawless ear for melody. With Busker’s Holiday, he takes the reader with on an emotional and musical journey from the Ivory Tower of US academia to the dirty, sexy and no-holds-barred streets of late 1980s Europe.  It’s an exciting and fast-paced novel that not only keeps you enthralled, but (speaking as a professional musician and former busker myself) really rings true. Gussow gets it right. He evokes the transformative power of the blues in a way few are able to do. Sex, drugs, rock and roll, Dante, Kerouac, Hemingway, Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters all in one short novel. Remarkable!”—Ron Sunshine, New York bandleader

“A rocking guttersnipe’s lament across Europe, one that stings and swings. A lively coming-of-age tale, inspired by Kerouac and Magic Dick.”—R. J. Smith, author of The One:  The Life and Music of James Brown

Book facts:

Busker’s Holiday
Publisher:  Modern Blues Harmonica / BookBaby
Print:  ISBN 978-0996712408, $14.95, 216 pages, 5.5” x 8.5”, trade paperback
eBook:  ISBN 978-0996712415, $5.99
Pub date:  October 15, 2015

Print version vailable at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Powell’s Books.
E-book available at iBooks, Amazon (Kindle), B&N (Nook), Kobo, and more

Thursday, October 29, 2015


Following a packed and sweaty set at Americana Fest, Kingsley Flood is capping off its ambitious and productive year with its largest capacity NYC and DC shows to date and a third EP release with ‘The Good Fight’ out November 20. The three EPs total thirteen songs released in 2015 and the band is also preparing for a 2016 full-length release.

Bandleader Naseem Khuri continues to explore themes of individual and societal change in our cities, and his own tendencies to talk a big game and take little action; ‘The Good Fight’ deepens that exploration, narrowing the focus on the band’s hometowns of Boston and Washington, DC and pushing the band to some of its most epic music to date.” Driven by tremolo’d guitar, the title track examines Khuri’s reluctant acceptance of an evolving city and its gentrification. “We ought to get mad, we ought to save our souls, but the new guy’s got what I need.”  He doesn’t let up on “On My Mind,” crying outrage at injustice while shouting “I can write a check from this couch and yet I can’t reach my pen.” The spaghetti western guitar line of “Change You” introduces sharply observed stories from a Boston bar Khuri visited all too often, where the regulars talk about their big plans and leave it at that. The store owner at the center of the anthemic, “Good Old Wind” rejects the “new wind blowing” into the town where Khuri grew up near Boston.

Kingsley Flood has earned widespread praise:

“Foot-stomping folk rock and their signature high energy.” – Rolling Stone

“Kingsley Flood is the kind of hard-rocking folk-punk band that makes you want to dance with the person standing next to you and then punch them in the face. In a totally good way.” - Esquire

"Great live show." – NPR

Kingsley Flood Fall Tour Dates

November 20 – Cambridge, MA - The Sinclair
November 21 – Brooklyn, NY – Rough Trade
December 3 – New Haven, CT - Café Nine
December 4 – Washington, D.C. – U Street Music Hall
December 5 – Philadelphia, PA – Boot & Saddle
December 17 – Atlanta, GA – The Earl (with Bombadil)
December 18 – Charlotte, NC – Evening Muse (with Bombadil)
December 19 – Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle (with Bombadil)

‘The Good Fight’ EP Track List

1. Good Old Wind
2. Change You
3. On My Mind
4. The Good Fight

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Lead Belly bio

"No Lead Belly, no Beatles." - George Harrison

Huddie Ledbetter, better known to the music world as “Lead Belly” was born January 20, 1889, in Mooringsport, Louisiana (near Shreveport). Lead Belly was the only child of Wesley and Sally Ledbetter. Lead Belly first tried his hand at playing music when he was only two yearsold. As a young man he was introduced to the guitar by his uncle Terrell Ledbetter and from that moment on he was transfixed by the guitar. He mastered that instrument and just about any instrument helaid his hands on, later learning to read music and to play the accordion, mandolin and piano. It has been said that one day Lead Belly witnessed a Mexican guitarist playing the twelve string guitar which struck hisinterest in mastering the unusual instrument.

After the 8th grade, he quit school and, by the time he was 14 yearsold, he was a popular musician and singer in the weekend sukey jumps and juke joints. He later became known as the king of the twelve-string guitar and his Stella brand guitar became his ticket to life and to his freedom. 

This love of music led him to leave his fathers farm at an early age to pursue his music. Huddie traveled the southwest playing his guitar and working as a laborer when he had to. He was and incredible strong man and was renowned for for picking 1,000lbs of cotton a day.

Lead Belly once said, "When I play, the women would come around to listen and their men would get angry." In 1918, he fought and killed a man in Dallas and was sentenced to thirty years in the state prison in Huntsville, Texas. In 1925, he wrote a song asking Governor Pat Neff for a pardon. Neff, who had promised at his election never to pardon a prisoner. Incredibly, Neff broke his promise and set Lead Belly free. Back on the road with many new songs he had learned or written at Huntsville, Huddie again found enthusiastic audiences throughout the south. But, as the center of admiring crowds, he was again the target of envy and jealousy. In 1930, after a fight at a party, which was normal in the Jim Crow south he was sentenced to another prison term, this time in the infamous Angola Farm prison plantation in Louisiana. In a way, this was a stroke of luck, because he was discovered there by folklorists John and his son Alan Lomax, who were recording prison songs for the Library of Congress. 

John Lomax and his son Alan later brought Lead Belly to New York where he played on college campuses like Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and NYU. Shortly thereafter Lead Belly relocated to New York, where he forged a reputation on the folk circuit, making personal appearances, recording for a variety of labels and doing radio work. He was received with great acclaim. The New York Herald Tribune greeted his arrival with an article under the headline Lomax Arrives with Lead Belly, Negro Minstrel.” In 1935, he married Martha Promise, with whom he would live until his death.

In the early ‘40s he performed with Josh White, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee and Woody Guthrie, often hosting sessions in his apartment on E. 10th Street; often, he would play for the children in Tompkins Square Park. He would also babysit and perform for his nephew. He performed as such distinguished venues as Carnegie Hall, Town Hall, and the Village Vanguard as well as hosting the WNYC radio show Folk Songs of America, all while wearing his trademark suit, handkerchief, and bow tie.

In 1948, Lead Belly cut what would later become known as his Last Sessions. His songs could not be put into one category. He wrote childrens songs, field songs, ballads, square dance songs, prison songs, folk songs, and blues.

Lead Belly enjoyed national recognition as a blues and folk musician and singer. Lead Belly felt his music and talent were gifts from God. 

During a European of 1949 Lead Belly fell ill and tests revealed that he was suffering from ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) also known as Lou Gehrigs disease. This disease destroyed all the muscles in his bodygiving him little opportunity to play the guitar without pain.

Prior to his death at Bellevue Hospital on December 6,1949, Lead Belly played at a show at Carnegie Hall which was organized by Pete Seeger. On the bill were Woodie Guthrie and Tom Paley. Lead Belly sang “Goodnight, Irene”. This was his last ever live performance.

Lead Belly never got to fully enjoy the fruits ofhis music. Lead Belly's song catalog consisted of well over 500 songs: most famous were Midnight Special, Goodnight Irene, Rock Island Line, Pick a Bale of Cotton and Take This Hammer.

After Lead Belly’s death, the Weavers, featuring Pete Seeger, recorded their version of “GoodNight, Irene which went to number 1 on the charts. That song sold a million copies. 

Lead Belly’s music has had an unparalleled influence on some of the greatest musicians of all time. Artists like The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Little Richard, John Fogerty, Roger Daltrey and Van Morrison have all expressed their reverence of Lead Bellys music. 

As Van Morrison said: “Lead Belly wasn’t an influence, he was the influence.”

Lead Belly is remembered not only as a musical giant but a legend in his own right throughout the world. Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, they describe him as:

“Huddie Ledbetter, better known to the world as “Lead Belly,” survived a life that included brutalizing poverty and long stretches in prison to become an emblematic folk singer and musician.”

Tuesday, October 27, 2015



Nashville psychedelic-roots band Ted Drozdowski’s Scissormen is the subject of a Guitar Player feature and will perform on syndicated radio show Music City Roots on October 28. The band will also launch a northeast tour in November, including stops in Philly and D.C.

“Psychedelic juke joint… great songs, a sense of mystery, and the concept of a record as a work of art in and of itself… The guitarist and his Scissormen put on take-no-prisoners shows.”
- Michael Ross, Guitar Player, December, 2015

“So damn enthralling… Rooted in the deepest of blues yet explores the outer edges of the cosmos.”
- Sean L. Maloney, Nashville Scene, August 13, 2015

“Blues-drenched, sometimes psychedelic.”
- Ed Symkus, Boston Globe, July 30, 2015

“The gnarliest album recorded in a tent that you'll hear all day.”
- Chris Steffen, All Music, July 23, 2015

“Staggering guitar skills.”
- Chuck Armstrong, Diffuser.FM, April 20, 2015

“Raw garage rock.”
- Adrien Begrand, Pop Matters, June 29, 2015

“Furious blues… Slide guitar wizard… There’s his hobby of using just about anything  and everything available to him for playing slide guitar, including forks, knives, bottles and pistols…”
- Pollstar, August 6, 2015

“singular music vision… It's his strongest, most satisfying work to date... Forward-looking, yet anchored firmly in its roots, 'Love & Life' reinforces the status of Ted Drozdowski's Scissormen as one of the most outstanding bands on the scene."
- Melanie Young, Living Blues, August, 2015

“Drozdowski’s Scissormen cut through the bullshit… Contemporary cosmic blues drenched in reverb and the dark bayou demons that inhabit each day… Love & Life isn’t your typical virtuoso release. It’s the fulcrum wherein Drozdowski pairs his devotion to a music whose roots run deeper than democracy.”
- 80/100, Mike Jurkovic, Elmore Magazine, August 4, 2015

“A very deep groove.”
- Lee Zimmerman, Pop Matters, July 28, 2015

Ted Drozdowski’s Scissormen Tour Dates

October 28 – Franklin, TN – Music City Roots
November 5 – Falls Church, VA – JV’s Restaurant
November 6 – Linden, NJ – Robin’s Nest Rhythm and Blues
November 7 – Philadelphia, PA – The Twisted Tail
December 4 – Nashville, TN – The Family Wash
January 29 – Franklin, TN – Gray’s On Main
January 30 – Marietta, GA – Darwin’s

Monday, October 19, 2015

Kingsley Flood bios

Kingsley Flood is a Boston and Washington, DC - based sextet with a "Billy Bragg-like folk-punk sound" (Washington Post).  They have played the main stage at the Newport Folk Festival, have been featured on the History Channel, opened for Josh Ritter, Grace Potter, Lucius, Langhorne Slim and have been been covered by NPR, New York Times, Esquire Magazine, Wall Street Journal, American Songwriter, among others.  This year they have released two EPs and are releasing a third this fall. 

With “signature high energy” (Rolling Stone) and a live show that “could thrill Folsom Prison in ‘58 or CBGB in ‘76” (Boston Herald), Boston and Washington D.C.-based Kingsley Flood began 2015 with lofty goals: release three EPs.  The ambitious volume of output recognizes that the music business has changed and moved on from the era of the traditional album cycle. It also represents a shift in leader Naseem Khuri’s songwriting, channeling his personal journey as a Palestinian-American trying hard to do good and repeatedly coming up short.

Since their breakout set opening the Newport Folk Festival in 2013, Kingsley Flood has opened tour dates for Lucius and Josh Ritter; earned raves from AV Club, Paste, Rolling Stone, Billboard, NY Times; played a session for Esquire; and premiered a video with NPR Music.
To The Wolves continues songwriter Naseem Khuri’s obsession with stagnation in our lives, and exploring why things don’t change.  While January’s To The Fire EP chronicles his own experience as a wide-eyed son of immigrants wanting to change the world, To The Wolves suggests greater change is harder when we can’t even change ourselves.  
The title track looks at the big dreams and small circumstances of an outsider on the inside. "Blind" finds him back home plotting an escape, but this too is a dream that never manages to leave his bedroom. "All Night Dynamite" asks just how much choice we have in our choices, a theme carried over to "Salt of the Sea," where a child sees in his own path a mirror of his father's.
To The Wolves continues Kingsley Flood's ongoing collaboration with producer Paul Kolderie (Pixies, Radiohead, Morphine) and 1867 Recording Studio, the onetime Masonic temple in Chelsea, MA where To the Fire was created. The results showcase the band's signature and wide-ranging dynamics, from the scorched-earth guitar riff anchoring the title track to the contrasting plaintive violin and hard rock release of the deceptively upbeat “Blind,” the frenetic punk drive of “All Night Dynamite” and the pensive intimacy of “Salt of the Sea.”
To The Wolves follows January’s To The Fire, which earned praise from NPR’s World Café, the Wall Street Journal, Relix, PopMatters, the Boston Globe, and more. After a run of sold-out shows in early 2015, the History Channel featured their track “Waiting On The River to Rise” in an ad for a new series “Mississippi Men,” triggering close to 200,000 plays on Spotify and YouTube.


October 30th show at Rockwood Music Hall promises left-of-center gothic roots music, "dignified darkness" (Stereogum)

Brian Carpenter & the Confessions will make their New York City debut on Friday, October 30th, with a 9 p.m. show at Rockwood Music Hall. The performance arrives just after the release of the band's debut album, The Far End of the World, a nocturnal, nuanced record that "plumbs the darker depths of Americana" (Pop Matters).

Recorded in the band's native Massachusetts and mixed in Tucson by Craig Schumacher (Calexico, Iron & Wine, Neko Case), The Far End of the World finds Carpenter creating his own, left-of-center brand of folk-noir. It's alternately haunting and beautiful, filling with the swoon of orchestral strings, the dusty pluck of acoustic guitars, the honk of an occasional harmonica, and songs rooted in both mood and melody. Tying everything together is frontman Carpenter, a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who leads his "unpredictable, fascinating band" (Utne Reader) with a baritone voice reminiscent of the band Low. Already known for his work in the jazz, indie rock and avant-garde worlds, Carpenter takes a stark turn on 'The Far End of the World.'

Exuding "a dignified darkness" (Stereogum) similar to the acclaimed soundtracks from David Lynch films, Brian Carpenter & the Confessions' live show is every bit as unique as the band's debut record, combining the jazz, Americana and indie-rock genres with the avant-garde approach of a frontman who's always marched to the beat of his own drum.

Carpenter has previously collaborated with Carla Kihlstedt (Tin Hat, Rabbit Rabbit), Marc Ribot, Colin Stetson (Arcade Fire, Bon Iver), Harvey Pekar, Brian Dewan (Neutral Milk Hotel), Martin Bisi (Sonic Youth, Swans, Foetus), and Carson Ellis (The Decemberists).

WHO: Brian Carpenter & the Confessions
WHAT: Debut NYC performance
WHERE: Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 1. 196 Allen St., New York, NY, 10002.
WHEN: Friday, October 30th. 9 p.m.
TICKETS: Free show, with pass-the-hat donations accepted