Tuesday, December 20, 2016

“GENIUS” (NOISEY) LELAND SUNDRIES SIGNS PUBLISHING AGREEMENT WITH MOTHER WEST MUSIC

Indie/Americana/garage band Leland Sundries, which made a splash this year with its full-length debut ‘music for outcasts,’ has signed a publishing deal with fellow Brooklynites Mother West Music. Leland Sundries’ ‘music for outcasts’ (L'Echiquier/Decor/Weiner Records) earned numerous spotlights as well as airplay from KEXP, WFUV, WFMU, and beyond:

“A-… genius.”
- Robert Christgau, NOISEY, July 22, 2016. Full review: https://noisey.vice.com/en_us/article/robert-christgau-expert-witness-leland-sundries

“Heaps of wit and melody… Beautiful rambling storytelling that flirts with pop and sounds a little like Silver Jews.”
- Peter Watts, UNCUT, April, 2016

“Scrappy yet ingenuous rock poetry.”
- MOJO, March, 2016

“Loss-Eaton and company avoid predictability… upturned middle finger that resides at the center of their sound. Ultimately ‘Music for Outcasts’ finds truth in its title… Those prone to coloring outside the lines will have cause to give a decided nod of approval.”
- Lee Zimmerman, Relix, October/November issue

"One of the more exciting roots-based bands to be unleashed in quite a while... This fellow knows his geography now. Both out in the rolling hills and inside his own heart and soul... One minute Leland Sundries has you weeping in your beer over the cowboy lament, 'Keys in The Boot,' the next they’re rocking as righteously as The New York Dolls-inspired 'Bad Hair Day.' Throw in the radiant Power Pop of 'Apocalypse Love Song,' and you’ll see there isn’t a genre they haven’t mastered. These guys have only one rule about the music they play: it has to sound authentic and cool. Which, a good damn portion of the time, it does."
- Peter Gerstenzang, American Songwriter, May 6, 2016

“Awesomeness.”
- Justin Cober-Lake, Pop Matters, June 2, 2016

“Fine character-building.”
- Eric Davidson, CMJ, April 18, 2016

"A killer record... The record has devoured my subconscious... creative wordplay... Witty and left of center, juxtapose from the norm, some fresh and fun genre-bending rock-n-roll...Loss-Eaton is a songwriter’s songwriter, languid stories and never short on style... A tried and true summer soundtrack for yours truly, simply a record you can’t grow not fond of. Each track a small ride to a cool destination."
-Scott Zuppardo, No Depression, August 9, 2016

“Superb.”
- Sjimon Gompers, Impose, March 11, 2016

“We were instantly hooked. In fact, we're so impressed by the Brooklyn-natives to the point where we can't begin to effusively begin to heap enough praise.”
- Pure Volume, June 1, 2016

“Life affirming… Leland Sundries’ debut album and first European release shows a ton of promise and is a very enjoyable listen.  It will certainly appeal to fans of bands like Velvet Underground and Jonathan Richman as well as fans of bands like Whiskeytown and Starsailor.”
- Alan Ewart, Louder Than War (UK), February 16, 2016

“Leland Sundries match crackling garage rock with a near bubblegum love of melody. The band's sound sits somewhere between Pavement and The Archies, with a dose of Jonathan Richman's off kilter wit thrown in for good measure.”
- Robin Murray, Clash Music (UK), January 19, 2016

Brooklyn-based Mother West has grown from a small indie label and recording studio to a full-service boutique music catalog, offering music licensing for film and television, publicity and promotions, customized distribution, online sales, music production and artist management. With an impressive roster under it's belt, Mother West continues to work with an array of artists in various capacities, including Motopony, Mother Feather, The Magnetic Fields, Aloud, The Bones of J.R Jones, Peppina, Kris Gruen, Cold Blood Club and many others.

Originally founded by musicians Charles Newman and Paul Casanova, Mother West was named after the sign on the deli downstairs from their studio and was created to release their debut record Noreally Thanks from their band PLEASE in 1994. This led to a cut on the platinum selling Empire Records Soundtrack on A&M Records and the company's first foray into placing music into films.  Since then, and under the helm of Newman, the company continues to grow it's catalog and develop it's community of artists.

2016 marks a new partnership with Los Angeles-based publisher Defend Music, who will be representing the publishing interest of the Mother West catalog in North America, with Kobalt Publishing representing the catalog globally.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Peter Mulvey bio

Over the past 20 years, Mulvey has pursued a restless, eclectic path as a writer and musician – immersing himself in Tin PanAlley jazz, modern acoustic, poetry, narrative, and Americana stylings. Relentlessly touring as a headliner – his attitude is, “When you love what you do, you can work all the time,” – he has also shared the stage with luminaries such as Emmylou Harris, Richard Thompson, Ani diFranco, Indigo Girls, and Greg Brown, and has attracted an audience that stretches from Anchorage to Amsterdam.

Peter Mulvey began as a self-described “city kid” from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He played, wrote, and sang in bands while studying theatre there, and then traveled to Dublin, Ireland, in 1989, where he learned the trade of the street singer. Returning to the States, he relocated to Boston with two self-released CDs in hand: Brother Rabbit Speaks (1992) and Rain (1994). In Boston he took to playing in the subways as a full-time occupation. The seven hour sessions playing to passers-by and commuters not only strengthened his accomplished guitar playing but also sharpened his innate gifts as a communicator. In a few short years he had made the transition to touring songwriter. He signed with indie upstart Eastern Front Records, released Rapture (1995) and Deep Blue (1997), and threw himself into a life on the road. He quickly released Glencree (1998), a recorded live in Ireland.

The road years further seasoned his abilities as a performer. Whether playing solo or with a band in tow, Mulvey has a rare ability to hold an audience’s attention and transport them, using wit, humor, and a subtle but sophisticated melodic and harmonic sensibility to gracefully introduce complex and provocative concepts and characters.

Having since resettled back in Milwaukee, Peter has continued his touring life while making seven solo records with Signature Sounds, the venerable singer/songwriter label in western Massachusetts’ fertile musical Pioneer Valley. His sixth release, The Trouble With Poets (2000), features the title track which remains among his best-known songs. 2002 brought Ten Thousand Mornings, a CD of cover songs recorded live on Boston’s Davis Square subway platform. The name refers to the collective number of commuters’ mornings Peter hoped he was entertaining, or touching, in some way. His albums have always maintained the spontaneity and edge of his live performances, including his 2004 Kitchen Radio and 2006 CD, The Knuckleball Suite, both of which were recorded in just a few days with a band of sympathetic co-conspirators. He followed the ensemble vibe of these records with Notes from Elsewhere (2007), which consists of solo acoustic recordings of some of his most popular songs.

Collaboration is another source for Peter’s continued growth. In 2003, he released the trio album, Redbird, with fellow songwriters Kris Delmhorst and Jeffrey Foucault. The album’s 17 songs range from jazz standards to old country tunes to contemporary covers, all recorded in three days around one microphone. Peter’s annual hometown holiday in-the-round gigs have become an institution over nearly a decade. He can sit in with nearly any musician or ensemble and improvise in the common language of music.

As a complement to his touring and recording, Peter has also kept a hand in education; teaching guitar and songwriting workshops across the country. His songs and deep baritone voice have been heard in documentary films, major television shows, and by dance and theater companies. In 2004 Peter released a full-length DVD, On the Way, featuring interview and concert footage.

For the past several years Peter has done an annual Fall tour entirely by bicycle, partly for environmental reasons and partly for the sheer fun of continuing his creative, unorthodox approach to a long and fruitful career as an artist.

In every aspect of his career, Mulvey draws on an extremely broad swath of influence; he is always reading, listening, and eager to hear new poetry, modern minimalist composers, old-time fiddle tunes, Argentinean trip-hop, or top-shelf bar bands. Said The Irish Times: “Peter Mulvey is consistently the most original and dynamic of the US singer-songwriters to tour these shores. A phenomenal performer with huge energy, a quick fire, quirky take on life, and an extraordinary guitar style. A joy to see.”

Still, it is the live performance that defines that work. Night after night, whether performing solo, duo (with David “Goody” Goodrich), or sometimes even with a band, Mulvey attempts to be the sum of his parts, to draw on all the musical legacies he has studied, to make a fresh, vital moment out of everything he and the audience have brought to the table that night. “People need this. I need this. To come together in a room, to try to make music come alive, for real, for right now, and then to let it go…that is the whole deal for me."
for me.”

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Suitcase Junket publicity photos

Credit for all: Joanna Chattman, click for high res








Suitcase Junket bio

Long bio:

Matt Lorenz sits alone on a suitcase in the center of a complex construction of upcycled cookpots, saw blades and broken chairs. Artist, tinkerer, tunesmith, swamp yankee. A one-man salvage specialist singing into the hollow of a Dumpster guitar, slipping a broken bottleneck onto the slide finger, railing on a box of twisted forks and bones, rocking till every sound is ragged at its edges, till the house is singing back. Then, unplugging all the amps and letting one mountain ballad soar over the raw strings on that guitar. Every night is a hard-driving, blues-grinding, throat-singing search-and-rescue junket. Sooner or later everything rusts, busts, and gets tossed into the junk heap: iron, bones, leather, hot rods, muskrats, thenight, the heart. The goal is to recover it. To waste nothing. To create new ways from old. This is The Suitcase Junket.
 
Matt Lorenz was raised in Cavendish, Vermont, the son of teachers. He learned to sing by copying his sister Kate. (The siblings are two-thirds of the touring trio Rusty Belle.) Lorenz graduated from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, in 2004, having taught himself to throat-sing thanks to a South Indian cooking class. On moving day, he pulled his guitar, filled with mold and worse for wear, from a dorm Dumpster. He fixed it up and started pulling songs out of it. That was the beginning.   
The Suitcase Junket is filling rooms and drawing festival crowds all over his native New England and beyond, from Signal Kitchen near the Canadian border to Wisconsin's Mile of Music Festival, from Ireland's pubs to Mountain Jam in the Catskills, from opening nights for Lake Street Dive and Charlie Musselwhite to Mountain Stage in West Virginia. He caught the attention of National Public Radio who chose his video session for "Earth Apple" from his 2015 album Make Time as one of the year's favorite sessions.

On the heels of the widely acclaimed 2015 LP Make Time, Matt Lorenz is releasing an E.P. entitled Dying Star, on Signature Sounds, whose roster includes Lake Street Dive, And the Kids, Eilen Jewell, Chris Smither, Winterpills, Parsonsfield, Barnstar! and alumni Crooked Still, Josh Ritter, Erin McKeown, and Lori McKenna. With Dying Star, The Suitcase Junket is poised to make the jump from one of New England's best kept roots star secrets, to a household name. As one critic aptly summed up, "The Suitcase Junket is a lo-fi, low-tuned, low-down blast of end-times folk blues. It's crude; it's magnificent.... one man band leader Matt Lorenz  incants and intones like a cross between Hound Dog Taylor and a Tuvan throat singer who has swallowed a bird. Take the singer-songwriter idiom, give it a low grade fever and a guitar and this is what you get. Captivating, mesmerizing, and gone ... real gone" (The Rochester Times).

Short bio:

The Suitcase Junket is deep-groove blues, low-fi hard-driving rock, killer sweet ballads rising over wreckage. It's big music, informed by what used to be played on back porches and mountains -- right at home in rock halls. Here's the thing: You've got to see it to believe it. All that mighty sound is coming from one guy -- Matt Lorenz -- sitting there, skinny and big hair, on an old leather satchel in the center of a pile of instruments he built of salvage: rigged-up pots, glass, bones, a box of forks, a beat-up toy keyboard, a pair of ancient amps, a dumpster guitar. The haunting, invented sound of throat singing. Key to the operation is get-gone  songwriting and a single, glorious, ragged, road-worn, powerhouse voice. The Suitcase Junket didn't set out to be a one-man band but it had to happen that way. Yankee thrift. Songs from a new, old place. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Spirit Family Reunion "Goin' Out to Cannon Ball" single

Spirit Family Reunion 2016 photo & bio

Credit: Morten Fog

Spirit Family Reunion began singing together on the street corners of New York City in 2009.
Since that time they have travelled the highways of America delivering raw, high energy, honest music. They have shared the stage with musical heroes such as Pete Seeger and Levon Helm, and have given critically acclaimed performances at noteworthy festivals including Stage Coach, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, and the legendary Newport Folk Festival three times. The band has self-produced and self-released two full-length studio albums (2012’s “No Separation” and 2015’s “Hands Together”) along with multiple songbooks and other collections of recordings. They are currently working on a new record.

Monday, November 21, 2016

BONNIE RAITT ON TAJ MAHAL “A 1-MAN GLOBAL WRECKING CREW... I JUST HAVE SO MUCH ADMIRATION FOR HIM”

PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED ALBUM ‘LABOR OF LOVE’ OUT DECEMBER 16

Bonnie Raitt recently shared her thoughts on Taj Mahal with Living Blues Magazine. Taj Mahal’s 47th album ‘Labor of Love’ comes out December 16 on Acoustic Sounds and consists of an acoustic session from 1998. Raitt says:

“There are very few artists with the wide musical reach of Taj Mahal; I can’t think of anyone who’s heard him that hasn’t fallen under his spell. From the very start, his impact was really groundbreaking—it’s hard to express how much those first two albums meant to me.

As an ambassador for world music—and roots music in particular—he perfectly embodies how music can cross-pollinate across generations and cultures to bring people together. Like Paul Simon, Ry Cooder and Peter Gabriel, Taj has turned so many of us onto musicians and styles we may not have appreciated as much otherwise. Not to mention he’s one of the funkiest blues and R&B singers, harp players, and guitarists alive.

I think his greatest contribution is going [to] be the way that he combines all these musical traditions in such an authentic and rich way. He’d had an incredibly eclectic and deep musical history, which in turn has inspired all those musicians with whom he plays—they learn about all the other tributaries of the music he’s mastered. Fro examples, there’s a lot of African musicians who might never have heard about Delta, Carolina or Texas Blues if they hadn’t met Taj. There are country and bluegrass musicians who love him; folk and jazz artists and Hawaiians, Cubans, Brazilians, and Jamaicans, too. The guy is a one-man global wrecking crew.

There really isn’t just one musical award that could encompass how eclectic Taj is. I think that’s why his Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award is so fitting as it recognizes his impact on millions of people, celebrates his tremendous creative output and speaks to how Taj keeps people coming back seven decades into his career.

I just have so much admiration for him.”

Monday, November 14, 2016

Julia Anrather photo and bio






Above: 'Quentin' EP cover

Above Credit: Julia Anrather



​Julia is an actress, musician, and producer from NYC. She just played a Dandy Minion in Taylor Mac's 24 Decades of Popular Music at St Ann's Warehouse this fall, which will culminate in a 24-hour long performance. On screen she most recently played a vegan caterer in The Pioneers, a comedic web series which is an official selection of the Brooklyn Web Fest and has been featured on the homepage of Funny or Die. Other favorite roles include Liz in Stuart Ruston's short film The 9th Annual Brooklyn Pickle Bowl, Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream with director Christopher Hirsh & FoxWolf Productions, and an Angel in the Drama Desk Award winning show The Mysteries directed by Ed Iskandar at The Flea Theater. Julia writes and performs her own music and has a new EP coming out in 2017. She just finished filming her first music video and plans to release it this November. She is also the founder of the Near Thing Productions, a company based in Brooklyn and the Catskills.

WASHINGTON POST FEATURE TO SPOTLIGHT KINGSLEY FLOOD AS BAND’S MOST PERSONAL ALBUM TO DATE EARNS RAVES

The Washington Post is planning a profile on Kingsley Flood to run Friday and new album 'Another Other,' written by Palestinian-American frontman Naseem Khuri about his powerful and sometimes contradictory experiences. Rave reviews are coming in for the Newport Folk Fest alums' first full-length since 2013. Kingsley Flood will perform next at the Sinclair in Cambridge, MA November 18 and at Rock & Roll Hotel in Washington, D.C. November 19. Here’s what we’re reading:

“Acute, razor-sharp tales.”
– Cady Siregar, Stereogum, November 17, 2015

“Ripping… tangle with American identity.”
- Luke O’Neil, Bullet Media, August 16, 2016

“One of those bands that matter… it’s music with something important to say, like the Clash, all backed with a hard-charging folk-inflected rock sound.”
- Pop Matters, October 14, 2016

"A triumphant sound."
- Sjimon Gompers, Impose, October 7, 2016

“Exhilarating… Potent lyrical punch.”
- Glide Mag, September 28, 2016

“Much more than just a boisterous barroom rocker.”
- Chris Palermino, MySpace Music, October 4, 2016

“So good… Every turn comes with something special: a ’70s punk crescendo, a bit of Britpop, a dusty, Western country melody.”
- Jed Gottlieb, Boston Herald, October 28, 2016

“The band’s best… rocks hard while tackling tough questions about what it means to be an American… as with all of Kingsley Flood’s work, it’s an energy with a purpose.”
- Pete Chianca, Gatehouse Media, November 4, 2016

“Can’t-miss.”
- Mark Zaretsky, New Haven Register, October 21, 2016

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Ted Drozdowski’s Scissormen’s “Stink Eye Tour” Comes to Providence, Boston, Lowell and Middletown, CT Nov. 3-6

First New England dates following the release of free “Stink Eye” EP, including song about Negro League Baseball legend Josh Gibson


Nashville, Tennessee-based psychedelic roots and blues trio Ted Drozdowski’s Scissormen are making early November stops in Providence (11/3), Lowell, MA (11/4), Boston (11/5) and Middletown, CT (11/6) in support of their Stink Eye EP, available for free download via Noisetrade.com.

After releasing the Love & Life album last summer, the band has been busy playing dates, working on new songs, and enjoy worldwide airplay—even making a live appearance on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio to support the network’s extensive airplay of the songs “Beggin’ Jesus” and “Let’s Go to Memphis.”

This summer Rocky Mountain Slides also unveiled the Ted Drozdowski signature guitar slide and Ted was the subject of a major feature in Guitar Player magazine. But all of that overshadowed the release of the six-song Stink Eye EP exclusively via Noisetrade.com, which includes Ted’s tribute to American baseball hero Josh Gibson. The legendary power hitter and catcher is an under-sung but important figure in the history of Negro League Baseball, whose skills (Babe Ruth was often called “the white man’s Josh Gibson”) would have propelled him to greater fame if not for segregation. The song originally appeared on the limited edition Batterymen EP on Nashville’s Semi-Pro Records, which also included cuts by ex-members of R.E.M. and Todd Snider.
“At a time when we seem to have forgotten the progress we’ve made as a nation, a song like ‘Josh Gibson’ is a reminder of the sacrifices that many people have made to move us forward—and a reminder that’s the direction we need to keep moving in,” says Drozdowski.

The New England shows:
• Aurora, Providence, RI, Thursday, Nov. 3 at 9:30 p.m. w/opener the Mark Cutler Trio
• The Back Page, Lowell MA, Friday, Nov. 4 at 9 p.m.
• Thunder Road, Somerville, MA, Saturday, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m.
dinner show w/opener Peter Parcek
• Cypress Restaurant, Middletown, CT, Sunday, Nov. 6 at 6 p.m. dinner show

Friday, September 30, 2016

NPR PROFILES SOUTHERN SOUL MAN ROBERT FINLEY AS HIS DEBUT ‘AGE DON’T MEAN A THING’ OUT TODAY ON BIG LEGAL MESS

SINGER DISCUSSES GOING BLIND AS 2ND SYNDICATED RADIO SEGMENT TAPES NEXT WEEK AT MEMPHIS SHOW

NPR aired a profile on Robert Finley nationally this week as his debut album ‘Age Don’t Mean a Thing’ on Big Legal Mess (Fat Possum) comes out today. Finley told NPR that being able to play soul music for a living in spite of going blind “a dream come true… what more could a man ask.” He also described his music as “blues that make a person hold their head up instead of dropping it down.” He and NPR host Jeremy Hobson discussed how money from his father for a pair of shoes went to his first guitar; learning music from watching musicians in church; his religious family disapproving of the blues; what it’s like to go to school to adapt to becoming legally blind; and sensing the energy from the audience even when he can’t see it.

‘Age Don’t Mean a Thing’ is earning praise across the board as he prepares for a Memphis album release show October 6 at Lafayette’s to be taped by syndicated radio show Beale Street Caravan.

Here’s what we’re reading and hearing:

“Not your average up-and-comer… sounds good to me!”
- Jeremy Hobson, NPR Here & Now, September 26, 2016

“More than convincing.”
- Jon Pareles, New York Times, January 18, 2016

“Amazing… great stuff.”
- Rob Weisberg, NPR Music, January 26, 2016

“ Too legit to quit.”
- Hannah Hayes, Southern Living, August 22, 2016

"A delightful mix of old school blues, soul and R&B, with all of it propelled by Finley’s gritty-yet-laid-back voice and equally effortless guitar work. It’s a surprisingly confident effort from a first-time recording artist."
- Sam D'Arcangelo, Offbeat Magazine, September 29, 2016

“A slab of dirty, sexy soul, gyrating around a firm funk backbeat in much the same way as most pairs of hips exposed to this song might. Finley’s Southern croon soars above sensual guitar and horns, reveling in the freedom the music provides and exploring the crannies of the instrumentation.”
- Will Rivitz, Pop Matters, August 15, 2016

“His brand of Southern Soul is tough to resist… a master at work!”
- Soul Tracks, August 29, 2016

Robert Finley "I Just Want To Tell You" postable audio

Monday, September 26, 2016

TWO-TIME GRAMMY WINNER, BLUES HALL OF FAMER & AMERICANA MUSIC LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD WINNER TAJ MAHAL’S STRIPPED DOWN ALBUM ‘LABOR OF LOVE’ OUT DECEMBER 16 ON ACOUSTIC SOUNDS

FIRST RELEASE IN FOUR YEARS SET FOR LP, FEATURES SOLO FAVORITES FROM 1998 PLUS COLLABORATIONS WITH MUSIC MAKER RELIEF FOUNDATION ARTISTS

Two-time GRAMMY Award winner, Blues Hall of Famer, and Americana Music Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Taj Mahal’s 47th album ‘Labor of Love’ will come out December 16 on Acoustic Sounds.

‘Labor of Love’ features some of his most beloved materials such as the murder ballad “Stack-O-Lee,” Mississippi John Hurt’s “My Creole Belle,” the Delta standard “Walking Blues,” and the longtime live favorite “Fishing Blues.” Taj also collaborates with one armed harmonica player Neal Pattman, blind singer Cootie Stark, guitar master Cool John Ferguson (profiled in a recent issue of Premier Guitar), and Piedmont blueswoman Algia Mae Hinton. Pattman, Stark, and Baker have since passed on. Full liner notes by UNC writer Will Boone paint the full picture. All songs are previously unreleased while four of the songs have not been recorded in any other version by Taj.

Enraptured by the mission of the Music Maker Relief Foundation, Taj Mahal met MMRF head Tim Duffy in 1993 and introduced him to the Rolling Stones, BB King, Dan Ackroyd, and others; he is on the Advisory Board and has been a staunch MMRF ally and friend to Tim ever since. On a 42-date tour in 1998, Music Maker Relief Foundation head Tim Duffy set up recording equipment in whatever hotels Taj and the Music Makers were staying. Finally, in Houston, TX, Taj and the Music Makers got to playing after hours; six solo tracks were recorded along with seven tracks of Taj with Music Maker Relief Foundation artists such as National Endowment for the Arts’ National Heritage Fellowship winners Etta Baker and John Dee Holeman. ‘Labor of Love’ is Taj’s first release in four years. Of working with those musicians, Taj says that he most enjoyed “getting to know their lives and how they made things work” while getting “closer to the source.”

In the past half decade alone, Mahal has opened for Bob Dylan, Wynton Marsalis, and Eric Clapton; performed on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon with the Roots; guested on new Clapton recordings; joined the Rolling Stones onstage; performed at the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles, CA; joined a Bonnaroo jam with Susan Tedeschi, Anthony Hamilton, Derek Trucks, Chaka Khan; and performed on the Americana Music Awards.

Raised in a West Indian-American and African-American family, Taj Mahal signed to Columbia Records and began his recording career in 1968. Since then, he has played the music of the African diaspora, drawing connections between African, Carribean, South Pacific, and Southern American culture. Bonnie Raitt said of him, "Taj is probably the most important bridge we have between blues and rock-n-roll. He's as bad as they get." Mick Jagger has called him “a living link to the old blues tradition.”

'Labor of Love' Track List:

1. Stagger Lee
2. Shortnin' Bread (with Neal Pattman)
3. My Creole Belle
4. I Ain't The One You Love (with Alga Mae Hinton)
5. Fishin’ Blues
6. Mistreated Blues (with John Dee Holeman)
7. Zanzibar
8. So Sweet (with Cootie Stark)
9. Spike Drivers Blues
10. Hambone (with John Dee Holeman)
11. Walkin’ Blues
12. John Henry (with Etta Baker)
13. Song For Brenda (with Cool John Ferguson)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Taj Mahal 'Labor Of Love' liner notes

The blues live on because the blues give people life, not the other way around. Talk about the blues with Taj Mahal or Tim Duffy—founder of the Music Maker Relief Foundation—and you will quickly understand how deeply they grasp this. Both men are devoted to tradition, but not a museum kind of tradition. They’re devoted to living tradition; tradition that is not only “viable and vital”—as Taj puts it—but tradition that is life-giving and life-sustaining.
When Tim recounts his first experiences hearing Taj play live in the early 1980s, he describes a performer who rumbled with the echoes of ancestors and forefathers as he created a sound that was completely relevant in the present moment. Taj was not a revivalist. He was a medium for the blues’ reviving power.
            Tim and Taj first connected in the mid-1990s. Tim, just getting the Music Maker Relief Foundation off the ground, had released A Living Past, a book and CD set featuring artists he was working with. When this collection found its way to Taj, it stopped him dead in his tracks. For a long time, he had nurtured a belief that there were musicians out there playing traditional blues with life and vigor; musicians who didn’t simply remember the music, but who got life from it. And here they were. Taj describes hearing their music as “deeply personal,” something that illuminated things about his own musical roots he had intuited before but now came to understand more fully. Taj was also was fascinated by Tim. Unlike so many folklorists of the past, Tim seemed to understand that preserving tradition did not simply mean sticking photographs and recordings into an archive. Preserving tradition was “all about taking loving care of these older artists.”
Taj brought Tim out to L.A. and introduced him and his new foundation to folks like B.B. King, The Rolling Stones, and Eric Clapton. Tim invited Taj to his place in rural Pinnacle, North Carolina where the celebrated musician slept on a palette on the floor and hung out with several Music Maker artists. He loved how they played and sang, but he especially loved “getting to know their lives and how they made things work.”
            Taj says he wanted to “give whatever [he] had” to Tim’s foundation, and he figured maybe his name had “some kind of cachet.” Things fell into place, including a sponsorship from Winston cigarettes, and in 1998 a group of Music Maker artists set off on a mammoth 42-city tour with Taj as the headliner. Talk to anyone who was involved and it’s immediately clear that this was a special time. Artists who had spent the previous decades playing in drink houses and juke joints were lighting up audiences on high-profile stages across the country, rising to ever higher heights. The bigger the show, the better they played.
Taj was tearing it up too, of course. But he was also soaking it in. He was hanging out with artists like Cootie Stark, Neal Pattman, and Beverly “Guitar” Watkins. He was listening to them and learning from them. And he was reconnecting to music he had been hearing and playing since he was a kid. But now he was grasping it in a new way, going “deeper.” Nothing was drastically different, he says, it just felt like he was getting “closer to the source.”
Tim—sensing the incredibly rich musical possibilities in the air—hoped to catch something on tape. In addition to shepherding a motley assemblage of senior citizen bluesmen and women through a never-ending series of unfamiliar cities and settings, Tim was lugging around high-end recording equipment that he had recently acquired from the legendary audio wizard Mark Levinson. He set it up in hotel rooms in Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas—wherever—hoping he could get Taj to do an impromptu session. But it never seemed to work out.
Then one night in Houston, the daughter of Katie Mae was hanging around—the Katie Mae, the woman immortalized in the Lightin’ Hopkins classic “Katie Mae Blues.” Hopkins, with his highly-original cut-to-the bone poetry and raw elegance, is an Olympian figure of the blues, and Taj, being steeped in the blues’ American mythology, couldn’t miss the chance to meet this woman face-to-face. So, a few bluesmen and Tim and Taj and Katie Mae’s daughter hung out together in this Houston hotel room. After a while, Taj picked up an acoustic and started whipping out classic tunes—“Stack-O-Lee,” “Walking Blues,” “Fishing Blues”—merging his reinvigorated feeling for tradition with his inimitable personal style. The tape was rolling.
            Around the time of the Winston tour, Taj often visited North Carolina, first coming to Pinnacle and later to Music Maker’s new headquarters in Hillsborough. Tim had “tapped into a full-on living scene,” Taj says, and he was reeling with a sense of incredible good fortune that he was getting to be a part of it. He regularly sat in on recording sessions (usually long hang-out-and-barbecue sessions with some recording thrown in). When the music got going, Taj would play some piano, bass, harp, banjo, mandolin, whatever was needed. “It was fun. Really fun to get to use all my chops like that,” Taj says, “but I never got in just because I could. If I didn’t have something to say, I shut up.” He overflows with feeling when he talks about playing with these folks; singular artists like John Dee Holeman, Cool John Ferguson, Cootie Stark, and Algia Mae Hinton.
            Tim loved the sounds that were getting recorded. The players were letting loose, digging in, coming alive as the music came through them. This was it, that place where tradition becomes “viable and vital” in the present. He wanted to put this stuff out—these North Carolina sessions and the Houston hotel recordings. But the time wasn’t right. Taj had just released a string of great studio albums with a throwback R&B flavor, and there was a new 3-disc retrospective of his work on the market. There really wasn’t any commercial space for Taj Mahal versions of “Hambone” and “Shortin’ Bread.” So the recordings just sat around.
            For about two decades now, Taj and Tim have nurtured their friendship and partnership. They have incredibly nice things to say about each other. Both men credit the other with enriching their respective life, career, and musical journey. Tim says that, “having Taj Mahal be a champion for Music Maker has been one of the greatest joys of my life.” He goes on, “Without Taj, Music Maker would not be what it is, it would be something else; something different.” Taj’s spirit, it seems, infuses the whole enterprise.
In 2015, Tim’s foundation turned 21 years old, and Taj, born in 1942, was settling into his eighth decade of life. Both men were looking back and reflecting. They returned to these recordings made during that magical time in the late 1990s. In them they heard what Albert Murray, the great African American cultural critic, claimed to be the essence of blues style, “a unique blend of warmth, sensitivity, nonsense, vitality, and elegance.” These tracks needed to be heard. Taj wanted to do a vinyl-only release and Tim thought that “was really groovy.”
So here they are, on a piece of solid wax. Comb through all the dozens of Taj Mahal albums released in the last few decades and you won’t find a more intimate portrayal of his stripped-down traditional blues style, nor a better representation of Taj as a freewheeling, fun-loving, always in-the-pocket sideman. “When I listen to this,” Tim says, “it just shows how good the music really is. His version of ‘Shortin’ Bread’ with Neal Pattman is, you know, it’s just amazing. It’s as good as anything that was on wax in the 20s and 30s.” And it is, precisely because you don’t get any sense that Taj was trying to recreate some old record. He just sounds like he’s having fun. The album might be a Labor of Love (and the labor is there, no doubt), but when the needle hits the grooves, what really comes across is the love: the love of the budding friendship between Taj and Tim; the love of the blues; the loving care that is the essence of real preservation; and, especially, the love of being in the moment, playing, creating a sound that gives you life. I asked Taj what he wanted the record to say to people. “Hrmmh,” he grunted, diverting attention from my too-serious question, “just enjoy it.”

-Will Boone

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Jalopy 10th anniversary celebration poster


Taj Mahal bio

Taj Mahal

In September 2014, some 50 years after moving to Los Angeles to form the band Rising Sons with fellow blues musician Ry Cooder and Jessie Lee Kincaid, Taj Mahal hightailed it to Nashville to receive an honor he called “one of the most powerful and wonderful things that could ever happen in my life.” Celebrating decades of recording and touring that have nearly singlehandedly reshaped the definition and scope of the blues via the infusion of exotic sounds from the Caribbean, Africa and South Pacific, the two-time Grammy winning singer, songwriter, film composer, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist was feted with the Lifetime Achievement for Performance Award at the 13th Annual Americana Honors and Awards.
“I’ve been performing for over 50 years, and to be recognized for the road I’ve traveled means the world to me, says Mahal, who during the show performed “Statesboro Blues” – which he first recorded on his eponymous 1968 debut album – on dobro with a band that included Cooder and Don Was. “I could not have done this without the audience that has been so supportive of me throughout my musical journey. It was a fantastic night and I was thrilled to be there and celebrated among such other outstanding American musical treasures like Jackson Browne and Flaco Jimenez, whose music and talent I am a fan of. It certainly represented a diversity of musical styles and culture. That’s what I’m talking about essay help!”
The night at the legendary Ryman Auditorium capped another extraordinary year for Mahal, which began with a performance at the Gregg Allman Tribute Concert in Atlanta and included playing on the entire Blind Boys of Alabama Christmas album; performing as part of the Bonnaroo Superjam on a bill featuring Derek Trucks with Chaka Khan, Eric Krasno from Soulive,  renowned R&B/blues session drummer James Gadson, David Hidalgo from Los Lobos and Susan Tedeschi; and playing and recording with Van Morrison in Dublin.
“What inspires me most about my career is that I’ve been able to make a living playing the music that I always loved and wanted to play since the early 50s,” Mahal says. “And the fact that I still am involved in enjoying an exciting career at this point in time is truly priceless. I’m doing this the old fashioned way and it ain’t easy..”
Since the release of 2008’s Maestro, his most recent studio recording which received a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Blues Album, Mahal has been busier than ever touring and recording at a whirlwind pace with old friends and fellow musical sojourners. In 2010, after being nominated for Entertainer of the Year by the Blues Foundation, he joined Jimmy Fallon’s Late Night studio band The Roots as a special musical guest on the Rolling Stones classic “Shine a Light.” He also opened in Lake Tahoe for Bob Dylan. One of the highlights of the following year as performing a special opening solo set for Eric Clapton and Wynton Marsalis at Lincoln Center; Mahal also performed several songs with his two fellow legends. The concert was recorded and released as a CD and CD/DVD entitled “Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton Play The Blues – Live From Jazz at Lincoln Center.”
After starting 2012 producing and performing (vocals, guitar and banjo) on Vusi Mahlasela’s live album Say Africa, Mahal joined the critically acclaimed Experience Hendrix tour for a three week run that included performances by everyone from Buddy Guy, Dweezil Zappa and Robby Krieger to Robert Randolph, Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Keb’ Mo’ and Living Colour. Energized anew after the Sony Legacy release of two collections celebrating the riches and rarities of his musical legacy – the two disc set The Hidden Treasures of Mahal Mahal 1967-1973, featuring a full live 1970 concert from Royal Albert Hall, and The Complete Columbia Albums Collection box set, featuring all of his LPs from 1968-1976 – the bluesman enjoyed a wildly productive 2013.
That spring found Mahal singing and playing harmonica on “Further Down the Road” from Clapton’s Old Sock album, and performing as a featured guest at Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival at MSG (NYC) where over 30 of the world’s greatest guitarists played sidemen to each other over two nights. Mahal jammed with The Allman Brothers Band featuring David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas of Los Lobos and in a special unplugged acoustic set with Keb’ Mo’.
That June marked the release of the all-star soundtrack album to “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County,” a supernatural blues n’ roots musical featuring music and lyrics by John Mellencamp, a libretto by author Stephen King and production by T-Bone Burnett. Mahal appeared on “Home Again” with Sheryl Crow, Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin, in addition to “Tear This Cabin Down” and “What Kind of Man Am I.” He later performed on “Vicksburg Blues” on actor/recording artist Hugh Laurie’s album Didn’t It Rain and a new rendition of his song “Winding Down” on the Sammy Hagar & Friends recording. He capped the year with “An Evening with Taj Mahal” at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles.
Mahal’s career has been full of and defined by colorful twists and turns, unexpected whimsical ventures and a commitment to a muse that has long preferred freewheeling innovation to conformity. So there’s always the challenge of finding the right words and phrases to capture just what he’s meant to American music over the past half century. Miles Mellough, who wrote the stark and honest, no holds barred liner notes for The Complete Columbia Albums Collection, captures the complexities perfectly on several posts he penned on his blog Birds with Broken Wings after the box set came out.
“Here’s the thing, plain and simple,” he writes. “Taj Mahal has always been a conundrum; a man who is capable of mirroring many things to many people, and the reason why is because he’s an enigma — an alchemist and a contrarian…Through his music he’s been a dirt farmer, a man of gentry, and a Mississippi riverboat gambler. He’s played the role of the pious country preacher of old South camp meetings to a chain gang prisoner breaking rocks in the hot, midday sun. He’s been a hard-boiled harp player with a gold tooth and process blowing gritty on the South side of Chicago to a West Indies fishing boat captain sipping Banana Daiquiri’s with a St. Kitts woman…Like the blues tree with its many roots, Mahal has become the sum of many parts. But if you were to strip him of the elements that have come to define him publicly, you’d no doubt find that beneath it all he’s really just a simple man with a harp, a steel guitar, and a banjo in his rucksack; a man making music with a whole hell of a lot of heart and soul.”

Thursday, September 8, 2016

KINGSLEY FLOOD – 'ANOTHER OTHER'


For much of his childhood growing up in suburban Boston, Naseem Khuri didn't even realize he was Palestinian. Though his name was a little unusual and his family's Thanksgiving dinner came with a side of hummus, he always thought of himself as a privileged American kid. It was only later that he learned that his mother and father had both been born in Palestine and fled to Lebanon as children; only later that he started to notice walls going up and suspicious glances being cast his way at bars and in airports; only later that he found people considered him—a Massachusetts native—"Middle Eastern," with all the implicit bias and baggage those two words entail; only later that he realized he'd never truly be seen as a "regular" American, despite this country being the only home he'd ever known.
That tension - between growing up comfortably in a nice suburb and existing on the margins as an ‘other’ - lies at the heart of 'Another Other'—the new album from Kingsley Flood, the rollicking, literate, five-piece rock and roll band Khuri fronts—and sets the stage for an exploration of identity and race and class that plays out over thirteen exhilarating tracks.
"What makes you belong somewhere in the first place?" Khuri muses over a beer in Washington, D.C., where he's lived for the past few years with his wife, a speechwriter for President Obama. "At the end of the day, I'm American. The only Arabic words I know are foods and swears. It's just that much more jarring to somehow always be labeled 'an other' when you don't even see yourself that way."
That kind of questioning has pushed Khuri to tackle big-picture issues with his music ever since the band released their debut album, 'Dust Windows,' in 2010. Upon that record's release, NPR raved, "Take some rough and raw vocals akin to Tom Waits, mix in heavy doses of Bob Dylan, add melodies that send you back to a bygone era and push you forward with rock 'n' roll urgency, and you get Kingsley Flood." The band followed it up with a 2011 EP, 'Colder Still,' and a 2013 full-length, 'Battles,' which earned them a main stage spot at the iconic Newport Folk Festival and widespread critical acclaim, including love everywhere from Rolling Stone and Esquire to Paste and American Songwriter. They broke out from their native Boston, where they were championed by both the Globe and the Herald, and hit the road for national touring, sharing bills with Grace Potter, Lucius, Langhorne Slim, Angus and Julia Stone, Brett Dennen, and more along the way.
When the dust had settled and it was time to head back into the studio in 2015, the band decided to take an unusual approach. Rather than record a single batch of songs in one long session for an album, they'd hit the studio every few months to record smaller collections of EPs, resulting in a steady stream of new music throughout the year for their fans and a solid framework for a new full-length LP to follow. In order to fund the approach, they launched a successful, year-long PledgeMusic campaign, in which their fans could act as patrons and enable the band to take the time they needed to hone in on the ever-evolving sound that would become 'Another Other.'
"We've always been an independent band, and as far as the model for how a band survives these days goes, it's just the Wild West," says Khuri with a laugh. "We know we have very dedicated fans, so we wanted to create a model in which they could play an active role in helping to create the kind of art that they wanted to enjoy for a sustained amount of time. And we wanted to give them the ability to interact with us in a personal way and nurture that connection, which is really important to us."
The resulting album is the band's finest work to date, blending the energy of The Clash with Springsteen's keen eye for the experiences of those living on the margins of society. Produced by Paul Kolderie (Radiohead, Pixies, Portugal. The Man), 'Another Other' draws its roots from Khuri's childhood memories and works its way to the present.
"When I was in high school and escaped my nice suburb to venture into Boston," he remembers, "I was always warned not to go past this one particular bridge, which cleanly separated two very different parts of town. I began to understand that 'It’s not safe there' actually meant 'They're not like us.' Later, when I was living in Boston, I'd spend many nights in that exact neighborhood I'd been warned about, sleeping on a friend's porch on hot summer nights and marveling at the hypocrisy of it all. On the one hand, I came from an affluent suburb and enjoyed a life of privilege. On the other hand, I was still seen as 'an other' because of my name and heritage. I felt like I fit in both places and neither place at the same time."
Khuri sets that context with album opener “The Bridge,” which centers on that suburban boundary he had been warned not to cross as a child and grapples with the fear of unintentionally perpetuating the same social divisions he grew up with. It sets the stage for what's to come, laying out a vision of a modern American society still sharply divided along lines of race and class. On songs like "Cavalry" and "To The Wolves," which plays like a 21st century answer to "Fortunate Son," Khuri examines why change is so hard to come by, while unflinchingly implicating himself and other good-intentioned souls for maintaining the status quo in the punk-leaning "On My Mind," which features stand-out slide work from guitarist George Hall.
"I thought of that tune after being stuck at a red light in Cambridge and seeing a guy begging for money," remembers Khuri. "Here I was, comfortable in my car, feeling bad for the guy but not actually rolling down my window to help. I had to put a mirror up to my 'armchair activism' because I was going on stage talking all sorts of talk about trying to change the world. What’s any of it worth if I’m not willing to roll down my window?"
The question of what responsibilities those with privilege owe to those without turns up throughout the album. Keyboardist/horn player Chris Barrett's jazz-noir trumpet line hints at Khuri's barely suppressed revulsion on "Tricks," a song inspired by the political ladder-climbing and empty lip-service he witnessed after relocating from Boston to DC, while the sweeping, string-led "Thick Of It" (the album features fiddle contributions throughout from Eva Walsh and Jenée Morgan Force) looks at the ways personal comfort can reduce our investment in activism. "Good Old Wind" is an infectious, fiddle-led rocker that was inspired by a bigoted convenience shop owner in a changing neighborhood from Khuri's youth. Perhaps the album's musical and emotional centerpiece, though, is the title track, a "Guns Of Brixton"-esque earworm propelled by a deep groove from bassist Nick Balkin and drummer Travis Richter.
"I had this complexity growing up because I could look white, but I also knew I wasn't totally white," says Khuri. "'Another Other' came out of a night at a bar when some news about a terrorist bombing came on TV, and the people I was with put it together that my heritage is from that part of the world. A wall was put up in the blink of an eye. I wasn't doing anything differently, but suddenly I was cast as 'an other.’ I grew up thinking I had the power to define my own identity, and suddenly I didn't.”
Ultimately, 'Another Other' doesn’t offer any easy answers, but it does reflect on some basic truths. Change is hard to come by on a broader level because it's hard to come by on a personal level. Those with power and wealth are often more invested in preserving those elements for themselves than divvying them up amongst others. Racism and classism aren't inborn instincts, but rather learned biases. It's easier to fear differences than search for commonalities.
By the end of the album, though, one thing is certain: in Kingsley Flood's America, to be 'Another Other' is a badge of honor. It's the hallmark of those courageous enough to embrace their heritage and the ways it contributes to the fabric of a society that was itself founded by men and women considered to be others. As Khuri sings in the final verse of the title track, 'Thank God I'm not the same."
- Anthony D’Amato

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

GRAMMY-WINNING PRODUCER PAUL KOLDERIE PROPELS KINGSLEY FLOOD’S SOUND FORWARD ON NEW ‘ANOTHER OTHER’ (OCTOBER 14)

Kingsley Flood – the Newport Folk Fest alums – have propelled their sound forward on new album ‘Another Other’ (October 14) with the help of GRAMMY-winning producer Paul Kolderie (Radiohead, The Pixies, Joe Jackson, Portugal. The Man., Dinosaur Jr.). Kolderie said, “I love this band and I had a blast making this record. Great songs, great people, and we had a lot of fun making it. I think that comes through in the recording. Plus we got to work in an old Masonic temple with shadowy Egyptian gods on the wall.”

Frontman Naseem Khuri recalls, “One of the best traits of Kolderie is his demeanor; he can stay calm through a warzone. He saw us all duking it out over the timing of a trumpet solo, and using very few words, resolved it. He just said quietly, ‘hold on,’ turned around, messed with the board, and played both tracks on top of each other, a few bars apart. [Keyboardist and trumpet player] Chris [Barrett] then did a real take of that second part, and we had our solo with dueling trumpets.” He also suggested layering three different fuzz bass textures on “To The Wolves.” Bassist Nick Balkin adds, “It always a heavy song, but he made it crushingly heavy.”

Kingsley Flood Fall Tour Dates

October 21 – New Haven, CT – Café Nine
October 28 – Gloucester, MA – Rhumb Line
October 29 – New York, NY – Mercury Lounge
November 18 – Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair
November 19 – Washington, DC – Rock N Roll Hotel

“WONDERFUL” (NPR) LOUISIANAN SONGWRITER KEVIN GORDON PLOTS EXTENSIVE FALL TOUR

“He’s amazing.” –Jim Lauderdale

“Kevin Gordon is a Nashville treasure, worth mentioning in the same breath as the Ryman Auditorium and Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack.” –Nashville Scene

Kevin Gordon – the Louisiana-born songwriter who’s earned raves from media, musicals peers, and Americana fans in equal measure – will tour extensively this fall. His most recent album ‘Long Gone Time’ hit #26 on the Americana Radio Chart while earning additional raves from Pop Matters, The Boot, American Songwriter, UTNE Reader, and most recently in Offbeat Magazine.

Praised by NPR, The NY Times, and USA Today, Kevin Gordon’s work has been covered by everyone from Keith Richards and Levon Helm to Irma Thomas and Todd Snider. In his illustrious two-and-a-half decade career, Gordon has shared stages with Snider, John Prine, Leon Russell, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, and the Blind Boys of Alabama among others, played the storied New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival multiple times, and earned the respect and admiration of his peers and a slew of musical icons.

Kevin Gordon is a Green Room Music Source artist.

Kevin Gordon Fall Tour Dates:

September 7 – Eddie’s Attic – Decatur, GA (with Jeffrey Foucault)
September 9 – City Winery – Nashville, TN (with Jeffrey Foucault)
September 10 - Pisgah Brewing Co - Black Mountain, NC (with Todd Snider)
September 11 - The Music Hall - Charleston, SC (with Todd Snider)
September 19 - Family Wash – Nashville, TN
September 20 - Fond Object - Nashville, TN (Green Room Music Source AMA party)
September 23 - Bill Jette House Concert - Rumford, RI
September 24 - Studio 84 House Concert - Middleboro, MA
September 25 - Atwood's Tavern - Cambridge, MA
September 26 - The Fallout Shelter - Norwood, MA (The Extended Play Sessions)
September 27 - Cafe Nine - New Haven, CT
September 28 - Norey's - Newport, RI
September 29 - Union Hall - Brooklyn, NY
September 30 - Red & Shorty's Concert Series - Dover, NH
October 1 - Brad Rodgers House Concert - Newport, RI
October 2 - World Cafe Live Philadelphia - Philadelphia, PA
October 3 – Hill Country Live – Washington, D.C.
October 4 - 10th Avenue Burrito - Belmar, NJ
October 6 - The Evening Muse - Charlotte, NC
October 7 – The Family Wash – Nashville, TN (TomFest)
October 12 - Enoch's Pub - Monroe, LA (w/ Amy McCarley)
October 14 - Rock Room Concerts - Austin, TX (w/ Amy McCarley)
October 15 - Anderson Fair - Houston, TX (w/ Amy McCarley)
November 12 - Music Under the Water Tower - Donnellson, IA
November 15 - SPACE - Evanston, IL
November 17 - The Stage @KDHX - St. Louis, MO
November 18 - Kiki's House of Righteous Music - Madison, WI
November 19 - Anodyne Coffee - Milwaukee, WI

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Jalopy 10th anniversary festival photos

 Above: Hubby Jenkins photo by Luke Ratray
 Above: Jerron "Blind Boy" Paxton, photo by Jack Hirschorn
Above: The Whiskey Spitters artwork by Robin Hoffman


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

BLUES LOVERS STEP UP TO SUPPORT MUSICIANS IMPACTED BY THE LOUISIANA FLOODS

The Music Maker Relief Foundation has created the Baton Rouge Musicians Fund (BRMF). The fund was created in partnership with the Baton Rouge Blues Foundation and will directly support musicians impacted by the Louisiana Flood.

Beginning August 12, 2016, heavy rains fell over the state of Louisiana. The record-breaking flooding, caused by the nearly seven trillion gallons of rain that fell, has damaged more than 60,000 homes.

One of the damaged homes belongs to 91 year-old blues pianist Henry Gray, a native of Kenner, Louisiana. Gray, who still tours both solo and with his band, Henry Gray and the Cats, has traveled the world playing the blues with the Rolling Stones, Howlin' Wolf and countless others. Despite his success on the global stage, Gray still lives in a humble home, and like 54 percent of home owners in the flood zone, has no flood insurance.




(Photo credit Jordan Hefler/Baton Rouge Blues Festival, click for high res)

As news of the historic flooding hit, Music Maker Relief Foundation Founder and President Timothy Duffy was quick to respond. “Music Maker has been helping roots musicians in crisis for more than 20 years, so when we heard that legends like Henry were impacted by the flooding, we immediately reached out to send aid," Duffy said.

When Clarke Gernon, Jr., president of the Baton Rouge Blues Foundation, heard Music Maker was helping Gray, he offered to partner with Duffy to help the many other Louisiana musicians in need. “Guitars. Keyboards. Amps. These among other instruments are the tools of the trade when you are a working musician in the Baton Rouge Blues community. When these items are gone, not to mention one's house and possessions, it really limits your ability to pay your bills. We hope this relief fund can help bridge the gap and get these suffering musicians back to playing the blues and not just feeling them,” Gernon said.

Duffy agreed and offered to mobilize Music Maker resources to set up the Baton Rouge Musicians Fund and assist these performers. "In a disaster like this, we first need to help stabilize an artist’s health and housing situation," says Duffy. "Then we can focus on getting instruments back in their hands and giving them access to stages so they can rebuild their livelihoods.”

Contemporary artists around the world recognize the significance of roots musicians from the South. Grammy-winning artist Taj Mahal is lending his support to the Baton Rouge Musicians Fund and hopes others will join him. "These musicians are the foundation of all popular music in the world. When disaster turns on them, it is not time to turn our backs. Let's show them the respect!," Mahal said.

Tax-deductible donations can be made to the Baton Rouge Musicians Fund through Music Maker at musicmaker.org.

Music Maker Relief Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit, preserves and promotes the musical traditions of the American South. Since 1994 they have partnered with traditional artists over 55 years old who survive on a yearly income of less than $18,000, sustaining their day-to-day needs while building their careers. Through Music Maker, our rich heritage of music will not be lost with the passing of time. Music Maker has been featured on PBS NewsHour, NPR Weekend Edition and CBS Evening News. More information at http://www.musicmaker.org/

Founded in 2002, the Baton Rouge Blues Foundation is a non-profit organization striving to promote, preserve and celebrate the Baton Rouge blues culture and bring the best of Louisiana swamp blues music to the world. Today the Foundation sponsors a Blues Education program, a Blues Music History Project, an annual Blue Carpet Blues Gala, and the annual Baton Rouge Blues Festival. More information at http://www.batonrougebluesfestival.org/brbf/