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