Wednesday, January 25, 2017

HOW TO SOUND LIKE A 4-PIECE WHEN YOU’RE JUST ONE PERSON AND HAVE NO MONEY: SCAVENGE, BUILD, & WRITE GREAT SONGS

THE SUITCASE JUNKET USES FOUND OBJECTS AS INSTRUMENTS
 
MUSICIAN ALSO A BOOTLEGGER & VISUAL ARTIST
 
When you put on ‘Pile Driver’ (April 21 / Signature Sounds), the new record by The Suitcase Junket, you would think that the band has four members, and yet there’s only one and few overdubs were made. Yes, the Suitcase Junket is a one-man band and a damn good one, with catchy melodies, imagistic lyrics that stick in your consciousness, and enough energy to impress the festival crowds for whom he’s played at Mountain Jam, Joshua Tree, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, and Green River. He calls his sound and ingenuity required to construct it “Swamp Yankee.” However, ‘Pile Driver’s’ constant is the Suitcase Junket’s remarkable songwriting, with rousing choruses underpinned with gritty, distorted guitar and imagistic, evocative verses.
 
It all started with a guitar in a dumpster. “Every spring when the students graduate, a lot of them get rid of stuff. They call it hippie Christmas. I’ve fixed up a dozen bikes and then sold them.” He spied a vintage, Japanese made, acoustic guitar but it was filled with mold. So naturally, Lorenz grabbed it and bought some white vinegar. It resonated best in an open C tuning and he found that his songwriting voice was more focused with the limitations that the guitar provided. It’s also more versatile than he expected, with open chords with a powerful bottom end or slide sounds or he can capo it high on the neck for fingerpicking. Since then, he’s added a chunk of washboard and a pickup to it. The songs that came out of writing on that guitar had a grit and honesty and heart to them and Lorenz began to realize that this was a new project, separate from his former band Rusty Belle. “I’m attracted to music as another aspect of life, not as a fine art, something that you do to survive because you have to.”
 
Though the instruments have developed and several have broke, it began to solidify when he found a double-wide suitcase at a tag sale which is now both the bass drum and throne. “How much noise can I make as 1 person without looping?” Both out of financial necessity and out of aesthetic choice, he began to assemble other found items for percussion. “I’d much rather find a thing that’s more or less itself and beat the hell out of it. Plus, it forces you to be on the edge of your skills. I would add a new thing and then learn a new skill and, in the process, make some interesting mistakes.”
 
He explains the rest of the kit, “My right toe plays high hat. It’s the most nuanced thing about the drum set. On the right toe, is a box filled with silverware, a bottom cymbal which is an old wooden cheese box, and a top cymbal which an eight millimeter film reel. If I stomp the pedal, I get a dark, crunchy sound. My left foot plays a baby shoe [his own] hitting a gas can. I’ve got some galvanized heating duct material that I hammered flat. This one might be the end of the baby shoe. On my left heel is a stainless steel cook pot. I built that on tour down in WV and it’s got a nice pop to it. I built it onto old chair parts. Just a pot. The last thing on my left heel is a circular saw blade, which I use like a crash.”
 
Add to that his technique of Indian-inspired throat singing, which allows him to “solo” by singing two tones at once, and a keyboard that he plays while playing his guitar. Four amplifiers fill out the sound. He has two vocal mics, one a Shure bullet-style mic going into a Vox amp. Two mid-50s Gibson amps, a GA-20 and a Skylark, for both a clean and distorted sound at the same time plus occasional tremolo. He doesn’t use effects pedals, though. He found a two-octave Yamaha keyboard and ran a quarter inch jack off the speaker as there’s no output. It goes into a small, radio solid state amp.
 
For the Suitcase Junket, aka Matt Lorenz, building and fixing and making stuff is just part of life. “I was making my own freaking alcohol. Part of it was this ideal of using what you find. We throw away too much in this society. Why consume more when we already have more than enough?” He pauses and grins, saying,“Aside from all of the sonic ideals and idealistic thoughts, it was fun. I like making shit.”

Monday, January 23, 2017

Ayla Rose photos



Kevin Gordon short bio

"He’s amazing.” –Jim Lauderdale
 
"Dude's a juke-joint professor emeritus"--Rolling Stone

Kevin Gordon, Louisiana-born songwriter who’s earned raves from media, musicals peers, and fans in equal measure, released his latest, ‘Long Gone Time’  to critical praise from American Songwriter, Pop Matters, Offbeat, & others. Hitting #26 on the Americana Radio Chart, the album also attracted the attention of NPR’s World Cafe and Folk Alley; Gordon performed live as a featured guest on both programs.

Praised by NPR, The NY Times, & USA Today, Kevin Gordon’s songs have 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."

9TH ANNUAL BROOKLYN FOLK FESTIVAL GOES ALL OUT WITH BIGGEST ARRAY OF BANDS, WORKSHOPS, CONTESTS, JAM SESSIONS, FILM PREMIERES, RECORD RELEASES, & ART INSTALLATIONS TO DATE

FESTIVAL PLANS AMBITIOUS PROGRAM INCLUDING THE LAST POETS, JERRON “BLIND BOY” PAXTON, WILLIE WATSON, JIM KWESKIN, ANNA & ELIZABETH, REV. BILLY AND THE STOP SHOPPING CHOIR, PETER STAMPFEL, THUNDERBIRD AMERICAN INDIAN DANCERS, ETC.

FESTIVAL, WHICH HAS SOLD OUT EVERY YEAR, INCLUDES PUERTO RICAN, IRISH, INDIAN, FRENCH, TURKISH, BALKAN, NATIVE AMERICAN MUSIC, BLUES, JUG BAND, OLD TIME, SONGWRITERS, AND MORE!

SPECIAL EVENTS:
+ 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF PUBLICATION OF “HARD HITTING SONGS FOR HARD HIT PEOPLE” BY WOODY GUTHRIE, ALAN LOMAX & PETE SEEGER W/ PANEL & PERFORMANCE
+ CLARENCE ASHLEY LIVE IN GREENWICH VILLAGE LP RELEASE (JALOPY RECORDS) & ONE ADDITIONAL RELEASE TBA
+ DOCUMENTARY FILM NYC PREMIERE: “SHAKE ‘EM ON DOWN” ABOUT BLUES LEGEND FRED MCDOWELL
+ BALLAD SINGING ART INSTALLATION
+ RETURN OF THE FAMOUS BANJO TOSS CONTEST!

TWO FULL STAGES ALLOWING FOR 40+ DIFFERENT PERFORMANCES

APRIL 28TH -30TH, 2017
@ ST. ANN’S CHURCH
157 MONTAGUE ST. BROOKLYN, NY
http://www.BrooklynFolkFest.com

Performer photos: http://nicklosseaton.blogspot.com/2017/01/2017-brooklyn-folk-fest-performer-photos.html

Spotify playlist of 2017 performers: https://open.spotify.com/user/129284346/playlist/58bK8Cg1qHI5GJkczN9cXa

Celebrating folk music from near and far, the ninth annual Brooklyn Folk Festival showcases over forty musical acts as well as workshops, film screenings, dances, contests, and, for the first time, a performance art installation. Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton (Brooklynite and mainstay of the festival) returns along with NPR Tiny Desk Concert alums Anna & Elizabeth, folk music legends Jim Kweskin (of the Jim Kweskin Jug Band, veteran of the Newport Folk Fest from in 1963-‘68) and Peter Stampfel (of the Holy Modal Rounders and the Fugs), Willie Watson (founding member of Old Crow Medicine Show), and hip hop progenitors The Last Poets.

This year the Brooklyn Folk Festival seeks to highlight the role of culture in social and political activist movements. Rev. Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir will deliver an activist sermon and post-religious, anti-consumerist gospel show.  Mat Callahan and Yvonne Moore will discuss and perform selections from the book “Hard Hitting Songs For Hard Hit People,” by Woody Guthrie, Alan Lomax and Pete Seeger, celebrating 50 years since its first publication.  The festival will also feature a “Topical Songs” performance with a number of performers addressing social issues. New York’s oldest Native American ensemble, the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers, will also perform traditional Mohawk, Hopi and Winnebago songs and dances.

The festival will also feature the NYC premiere of the documentary “Shake ‘Em On Down,” about Blues Hall of Famer Mississippi Fred McDowell. It also marks the release of ‘Live in Greenwich Village’ by Clarence Ashley on Jalopy Records with another release pegged to the festival to be announced.

The festival has sold out every year and will remain at its home, St. Ann's and the Holy Trinity Church, in Brooklyn Heights, where its world-famous stained-glass windows will frame the stage. The Festival is produced by The Jalopy Theatre & School of Music, located in Red Hook, Brooklyn.  The three-day event has grown in attendance and scope each year, with 2016 marking the largest number of tickets sold to date as well as largest scope of performers. The festival’s partnership with St. Ann's allows for a main stage inside the church, room for food, drink and vendors, a second full stage, and additional rooms for workshops and film screenings.

Adding to the special events, the Festival features the World Famous Banjo Toss Contest (as featured in the Associated Press), a family-friendly square dance, a new Saturday night Salsa dance, a Sunday kid’s concert and several open jam sessions.  There will also be workshops in blues guitar, fiddle, and building instruments from found objects, among others.

Tickets went on sale yesterday while the full schedule is announced today:

Friday April 28th

Main Stage
8pm – Anne Waldman – Acclaimed poet will open the festival.
8:25pm – Ukrainian Village Voices – Rural Ukrainian vocal music
9pm – Jim Kweskin – Jug band, blues and folk songs
9:45pm – Thunderbird American Indian Dancers – Songs and dances from the Mohawk, Hopi, Winnebago and other traditions.
10:20pm – Anna & Elizabeth – Old time songs and ballads
11pm – Feral Foster – Original and folk songs
11:45pm – Tennessee Stiff Legs – Western swing band, from Tennessee! First time in NY!
Parish Hall Stage
8:45pm – Ethan Leinwand – Barrelhouse blues piano from St. Louis, MO
9:30pm – Cole Quest & the City Pickers – Bluegrass songs and tunes
10:15pm – The Freakniks – Original and traditional music, from LA, CA!
11pm – Skalopy – Jalopy’s in-house ska band!
Workshop Room
TBA

Saturday April 29th

Afternoon Concerts

Main Stage
Noon – Jalopy Jr. Recital
12:45pm – Fada – Traditional French music from the Occitan region
1:30pm – Martha Burns – Old time songs and ballads, from the mountains and range!
2:15pm – Brotherhood of the Jug Band Blues – Original and traditional jug band music!
3pm – Spitzer Space Telescope – original and traditional old-time fiddle tunes, English/Irish ballads and sea shanties.
3:45pm – Peter Stampfel & the Ether Frolic Mob – “Paleo Hillbilly Rock meets Great American Songbook and does dirty things together”
4:30 – Clarence Ashley: Jalopy Records Album Release & Tribute with Various Artists
5:15pm – Bill & the Belles – Oldtime, early Country and popular songs and tunes!
6pm – Amythyst Kiah – Traditional and original blues and folk songs from Johnson City, TN, first NY appearance!
Parish Hall Stage
Noon – Old Time Slow Jam
1:30pm – Ethan Leinwand – Barrelhouse blues piano from St. Louis, MO
2:15pm – The Hayrollers – Bluegrass songs and tunes!
3pm – Little Nora Brown and Friends (Highlighting the work of The Shlomo Foundation)
3:45 – Poorboy Krill – Blues and folk singer
4:45 – “Hard Hitting Songs for Hard Hit People” with Mat Callahan & Yvonne Moore – Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the publication or Lomax, Seeger and Guthrie influential and classic book!
5:30 – Ethan Leinwand – Barrelhouse blues piano from St. Louis, MO
6pm – Harmonica Contest – Who is the best harp player in NYC!?!? – Trip Henderson – Judge!
Workshop Room
1pm – Book Reading & Discussion: I Got A Song: A History of The Newport Folk Festival The first-ever history of the Newport Folk Festival, the book documents the trajectory of an American musical cornerstone over its 58 years – with author Rick Massimo.
2pm – DIY Instrument building with Zeke Leonard.  Build your own homemade instruments!  Kid friendly.
3pm –  Book Reading & Discussion: The Explosion of Deferred Dreams: Musical Renaissance and Social Revolution in San Francisco, 1965–1975, a critical re-examination of the interwoven political and musical happenings in the Sixties –  with author Mat Callahan.
4pm – FILM: The Mountain Music Project – Exploring similarities between Southern Appalachians music and that of the Nepali musician caste in the Himalayas, includes Q&A with filmmaker Tara Linhart.
5:30pm – Old time banjo workshop with Hilary Hawke – teaching the banjo music on the seminal album “High Atmosphere.”
6:30pm – Puppet show! with The Boxcutter Collective… presenting: “The Revolt of the Beavers,” a work-in-progress puppet show which received a 2017 Jim Henson Foundation Workshop Grant.

Evening Concerts

Main Stage
7:15pm – The Calamity Janes – Old time string band!
8pm – Jerron “Blindboy” Paxton – Blues, old time and folk songs on guitar, banjo and fiddle
8:45pm – Willie Watson – Folk songs and ballads on guitar and banjo
9:30pm – Rev. Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir – Wild anti-consumerist gospel choir and Earth loving evangelist sermonizing!
10:45pm – The Big Dixie Swingers – Western Swing, all the way from New Orleans! First NYC performance!
11:30 – Jackson Lynch – Blues, old time songs and fiddle music!
Parish Hall Stage
7pm – Main Squeeze Orchestra – All female accordion orchestra!
10:15pm – Salsa Dance with Willie Martinez and the NYC Salsa All Stars

Sunday April 30th

Afternoon Concerts

Main Stage
1:45pm –  The Jalopy Family Sing-A-Long with Emily Eagen and Friends
2:30pm – Deedle Deedle Dees – Fun kids music, with themes from history!!
3:15pm – Preachin’ in the Wilderness – Blues and folk songs
4pm – The Down Hill Strugglers with John Cohen – Old time string band
4:45pm – Meredith Axelrod – Blues and folk songs
5:30pm – Queen Esther – Traditional and original songs
6:15pm – Locust Honey String Band – String band, all the way from Tennessee!
Parish Hall Stage
2pm – Old Time Jam Session with Hilary Hawke
3:15pm – Gotham Jazzmen – Traditional Jazz
4:45pm – The Jalopy Choir – Singing Balkan vocal music!
5:30pm – Square Dance with the 5-Mile String Band – Alex Kramer calling!
6:30pm – TBA
Workshop Room
2pm – “Sing Like the Carter Family” – Learn to sing songs in 3-part harmony the way the original Carter Family did.  Taught by Martha Burns.
3pm – Topical and Protest Songs performance and workshop with Jan Bell
4pm – FILM: Shake ‘Em On Down – Documentary film about legendary blues musician Mississippi Fred McDowell, includes Q&A with filmmaker Scott Baretta.
5:30pm – 10pm – Special art installation and performance with Anna Roberts-Gevalt, Elizabeth LaPrelle and Tim Eriksen.

1PM SPECIAL EVENT: THE BANJO TOSS – Banjo Throwing Contest!

This event is held off-site.
Please assemble at the corner of Smith and 9th Street at 1pm, we will then have a parade to the banjo tossing arena!

Evening Concerts

Main Stage
7:15pm – Jay Gandhi – Indian classical and folk music
8pm – The Last Poets – Radical poetry with music, the roots of rap from NYC
8:45pm – Eva Salina & Peter Stan – Balkan music
9:30pm – Pat Conte – Blues, gospel and old time songs and tunes
10:15pm – Papa Vega’s Dream Shadows Orchestra
Parish Hall Stage
7:15pm – The Cat’s Meow – Irish fiddle and accordion music
8pm – The Horse-Eyed Men – Original and traditional songs
Workshop Room
5:30pm – 10pm – Special art installation and performance with Anna Roberts-Gevalt, Elizabeth LaPrelle and Tim Eriksen.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

2017 Brooklyn Folk Fest performer photos

Click for high res


 Above: Anna & Elizabeth
Above: Downhill Strugglers with John Cohen
Above: Jerron "Blind Boy" Paxton
Above: Rev. Billy & The Stop Shopping Choir
Above: The Last Poets
Above: Peter Stampfel & Friends
Above: Thunderbird American Indian Dancers
Above: Willie Watson

Thursday, January 19, 2017

FIRST EVER BOOK-LENGTH HISTORY OF NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL I GOT A SONG: A HISTORY OF THE NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL OUT JUNE 6 ON WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY PRESS

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LONGTIME PROVIDENCE JOURNAL WRITER RICK MASSIMO PRESENTS MANY NEW INTERVIEWS, INCLUDING PETE SEEGER, GEORGE WEIN, JIM JAMES, JAY SWEET, JEFF TWEEDY, ETC.

On June 6, 2017, Wesleyan University Press will publish I Got A Song: A History of The Newport Folk Festival, by Rick Massimo. Eight years in the making, the first-ever book exclusively devoted to the history of the Newport Folk Festival, I Got a Song documents the trajectory of an American musical cornerstone over its 58 years.

Rick Massimo’s historical research is complemented by extensive new interviews with the people who were there and who made it all happen, including festival producers George Wein, Bob Jones and Jay Sweet; artists such as Pete Seeger, My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, Judy Collins, Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul, and Mary), Colin Meloy (of the Decemberists) and Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, and audience members from every era. Massimo presents an oral history of Bob Dylan’s famous electric performance in 1965 as well as its 50th-anniversary celebration in 2015.

Massimo says, “I was fascinated by how it endured and how it had changed, as well as the controversy over what folk music really was. I wanted to write a book that tells a story and isn’t just padded with facts.”

He collected a lot of stories in the process. “Everyone was very willing to talk about Newport; I was particularly impressed with Jim James’ breadth and depth of knowledge of what Newport is about. He is much more clued into the history of Newport than people think. And so many of the modern acts see themselves as descendants of old performers.”

Massimo also spent hours talking with current producer Jay Sweet, who has wrought more changes at Newport than anyone since the early days of the festival, but has done so from a background well versed in the history: “The first thing he did when he came on board was to read the [board members’ early 1960s] manifesto.”

Massimo, a native of Providence, RI, and a longtime Providence Journal writer, covered the Folk Fest for nine years and wrote extensively on arts, media and beyond.He has won awards from the Rhode Island Press Association and the New England Associated Press News Editors.

Newport Folk Festival sells out every year with Saturday and Sunday tickets gone in two hours for 2017. In recent years, it has reached a peak of cultural relevance with a nationwide media, industry, and fan spotlight.

Paper, $24.95 [T]
978-0-8195-7703-0

Ebook, $19.99 Y
978-0-8195-7704-7

Wesleyan University Press has an editorial program that focuses on poetry, music, dance, science fiction studies, film-TV, and Connecticut history and culture.

Publishing in its current form since 1957, Wesleyan University Press has published an internationally renowned poetry series, collecting five Pulitzer Prizes, a Bollingen, and two National Book Awards in that one series alone.

The mission of Wesleyan University Press is to develop and maintain a sound and vigorous publishing program that serves the academic ends and intellectual life of the University.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

"I Got A Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival" artwork

Click for high res



Book cover, author: Rick Massimo
Above: Pete Seeger, by Ken Franckling
The Staples Singers w/ George Wein by Ken Franckling

Above: Dar Williams by Ken Franckling

Above: Peter, Paul and Mary by Ken Franckling

Above: Judy Collins by Ken Franckling
Above: Joan Baez, Credit (Photograph by Diana Davies, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution)
Above: 1967 finale, Credit (Photograph by Diana Davies, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution)
Above: Indigo Girls, Credit (Photograph by Diana Davies, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution)

FROM THE EMOTIONAL WILDERNESS, BETH BOMBARA FINDS HER ‘MAP & NO DIRECTION’ (MARCH 3)

OFFICIAL SHOWCASE AT 2017 FOLK ALLIANCE CONFERENCE

ALBUM PROMPTS COMPARISONS TO KATHLEEN EDWARDS, NEKO CASE, GEORGE HARRISON

Beth Bombara – the Americana artist who’s opened for Pokey LaFarge, Waxahatchee, Madisen Ward & Mama Bear, and Joe Pug – has found her way with the new album ‘Map & No Direction,’ out March 3. After serving as a side-woman with Samantha Crain, she’s found her voice as a frontwoman on the new album. And after battling depression – as Beth puts it “a couple months of a can’t-quite-get-out-of-bed, always-tired-but-can’t-sleep kind of depression” – she’s found her clarity as a songwriter. The result is equal parts George Harrison-influenced hooky Americana and rock & roll and mixed with "a bourbon-warmed Neko Case" as her hometown Riverfront Times put it in naming her best Americana artist in St. Louis, MO. She’s also drawn comparisons to Kathleen Edwards.

It’s not the only acclaim the hard-touring artist has earned. Pop Matters said, “Honed songwriting… honest… Bombara mines emotional depths, naivety and personal shortcomings” and Glide called her “easily engaging… penetrating… insightful." She’s already headlined Whitaker Music Festival (MO) (to over 10,000 in the audience), Brooklyn Americana Festival, Tucson Folk Festival, and Mile of Music festival (WI) and will have an official showcase at the 2017 Folk Alliance Int’l conference in February.

She has a companion for her frequent tours: husband, multi-instrumentalist (bass, drums, strings), and producer Kit Hamon, a topic she writes about in the Phil Spector-esque song “Sweet Time.” She tackles other topics as well on ‘Map & No Direction’: the pensive “Lonely Few” was written in response to racial divide and violence against black civilians by police and subsequent protests in her hometown.

Monday, January 9, 2017

“BEST OF 2016” (SPOTIFY) ACT SUITCASE JUNKET OFFERS NEW ALBUM ‘PILE DRIVER’ APRIL 21, 2017 ON SIGNATURE SOUNDS

GRITTY 1-MAN BAND PLAYS “SWAMP YANKEE” WITH FOUND INSTRUMENTS AND HARMONIC THROAT SINGING
Suitcase Junket – the remarkable act using mainly found instruments who was named to Spotify’s Best of 2016 Folk & Americana playlist – will release his new album ‘Pile Driver’ April 21 on Signature Sounds. He’s also been named as one of “public radio’s favorite sessions.” The Suitcase Junket’s stellar songwriting with earworm choruses and muscular, gritty verses puts him in a company of shining lights of Americana and rock & roll like Shovels & Rope, M. Ward, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes, Sam Amidon, Flat Duo Jets, and The Record Company (for whom he has opened shows).
The one-man band – aka Matt Lorenz – calls his music “swamp Yankee,” with a muddy, southern aesthetic joining with pioneer ingenuity. The Suitcase Junket originated after he found a Japanese-made guitar in a dumpster and cleaned out the mold with white vinegar. It sounded best in an open tuning (he’s now settled on open C), which reminded him of early 20th century field recordings and focused his songwriting for the project. He now plays the guitar simultaneously with  a kick attached to a double-wide suitcase on which he sits; a high hat that features a box of silverware and an 8 millimeter film reel; a baby shoe hitting a gas can; a cooking pot; and a circular saw blade. The upcoming ‘Pile Driver’ tour will see him add a keyboard as well.
While singing verses and choruses with a powerful voice, he has also taught himself South Indian throat singing, a technique by which one can sing a low droning note and get a high harmonic. After five years of practice in the car and shower, it sounds absolutely otherworldly. Onstage, he sings this through a bullet-style microphone that hides the drone note amidst the guitar’s amplification but lets through the overtone glide atop the mix. This is shown at its apex with the intro to the “Beta Star” or the break in “Ten Rivers.”
However, ‘Pile Driver’s’ constant is the Suitcase Junket’s remarkable songwriting, with rousing choruses underpinned with gritty, distorted guitar and imagistic, evocative verses. The album kicks off with the modal “The Next Act” and rides the high peaks of the garage rocker “Jackie,” the punk-blues tale of an affair gone wrong “Evangeline” and back-against-the-wall narrative of “Why So Brief,” the anthemic “What Was I Gonna Say,” and the inspiring “Seed Your Dreams, ” with its carpe diem message. “Mountain of Mind,” perhaps the album’s most affecting song, a portrait of overcoming an abusive relationship and one’s own self-destructive tendencies. “Beta Star” tackles the first pangs of love and featuring an alternating keyboard and guitar part played simultaneously. He shows himself a master fingerpicking guitarist on “Busted Gut” and “Ten Rivers.” The album then closes with the great campfire song “Red Flannel Rose,” finding the Suitcase Junket singing of perseverance.
Suitcase Junket is an artist to watch in 2017. Boston's NPR station WBUR has said, "It's an astonishing thing to watch Matt Lorenz perform... What’s impressive is not merely the complexity of the endeavor—Lorenz sings, strums and plays up to four instruments with his feet at once—but how utterly he is able to transcend the mechanical minutiae." Already, The Suitcase Junket has opened tour dates for Lake Street Dive, The Record Company, Jackie Greene, the Suffers, and Los Lobos and played Mountain Jam, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Joshua Tree, and Green River festivals.
Suitcase Junket Winter Tour Dates
January 12 - Abilene Bar & Lounge - Rochester, NY                                  
January 13  Rusty Rail Brewing Company - Mifflinburg, PA                   
January 14 - Club Cafe - Pittsburgh, PA                     
January 15 - House Show - Buckhannon, WV                
January 18 - The Purple Fiddle - Thomas, WV                         
January 19 - The Burl - Lexington, KY                       
January 20  Bar None - Springfield, IL                       
January 21 - Private Show - Johnston, IA                         
January 22 - The Warming House - Minneapolis, MN                
January 24 - Off Broadway - St Louis, MO                        
January 26  - Cafe Carpe - Fort Atkinson, WI                            
January 27 - SPACE - Evanston, IL
January 28 - Tanners Grill & Bar    Kimberly, WI                        
February 01 - Atwood's Tavern - Cambridge, MA                    
February 08 Atwood's Tavern - Cambridge, MA                    
February 15 Atwood's Tavern- Cambridge, MA                        
February 22 Atwood's Tavern- Cambridge, MA    

Thursday, January 5, 2017

“SINGULARLY GIFTED” (MOJO) SONGWRITER PETER MULVEY’S 17TH ALBUM PRODUCE BY ANI DIFRANCO IN NEW ORLEANS, LA

‘ARE YOU LISTENING?’ OUT MARCH 24 ON RIGHTEOUS BABE RECORDS, MARKING 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF MULVEY’S CAREER

For his 17th album ‘Are You Listening?’ (Righteous Babe Records / March 24), Peter Mulvey traveled to New Orleans to record with producer and friend Ani DiFranco and her band. ‘Are You Listening?’ marks the 25th anniversary of a rich career of approximately 4,000 concerts and over a million miles traveled. NPR’s Robert Siegel wasn’t kidding when he said, “Peter Mulvey is a 21st century troubadour.”

Lyrically, the songs from “Are You Listening?” range from the emotive, stream-of-consciousness flood of “The Other Morning Over Coffee” to the spare, haunting title track, which uses only seventeen words. The brutal allegory of “Just Before the War” is answered by the upbeat “It Can Get You By”. Working with the keen ear of a songwriter who has been informed by poetry all along, Mulvey sets the ordinary and the profound side by side, especially on the quirky opening track, “D.I.A.” which begins as a drive to the Denver Airport and ends as a call-out to “Wayfaring Stranger.”

Musically, the sure hand of Ani and her touring band, Todd Sickafoose and Terence Higgins, along with newcomer Anna Tivel, shape the songs as they run the gamut from the full-on Americana rocker “The Last Song” to the jazzy dissonance of “The Details.”

The friendship between DiFranco and Mulvey deepened in the summer of 2015. Mulvey was opening a run of shows for her when the shootings at the Emanuel Church in Charleston occurred. In the basement of the Calvin Theater in Northampton, after a long heart-to-heart among the band members, Mulvey went into his dressing room and wrote “Take Down Your Flag”. He sang it twenty minutes later, and as he came offstage, DiFranco asked him to teach her the song. She sang it two days later, and substituted her own verse for one Tywanza Sanders (one of the victims) in place of Mulvey’s verse for Susie Jackson. Within a few days, their versions were posted to YouTube and over the next few weeks, hundreds of songwriters added their own versions, including Anais Mitchell, Keb’ Mo, Paula Cole, and Jeff Daniels.

DiFranco’s help with giving “Take Down Your Flag” a wider audience naturally led to the collaboration on “Are You Listening?” Like DiFranco, Mulvey is an artist with deep roots in community: his early days as a busker in Dublin and Boston are echoed by his marathon online benefit concerts via Concert Window, the latest of which he will play from his Wisconsin home venue the Cafe Carpe on January 15. His long association with the National Youth Science Foundation prompted him to add a yearly warm-weather bicycle tour to his schedule: 2017’s tour will be the 10th anniversary, and the tours have covered thousands of miles.

Twenty-five years in, Mulvey stays true to his roots as a busker in Dublin and Boston: this January15th he will play a marathon Concert Window performance, broadcast online from his hometown Café Carpe in Atkinson, WI, to benefit the ACLU, SPLC, Planned Parenthood, the NRDC, Relief International, and Public Allies.

Mulvey has shared stages with Emmylou Harris, Richard Thompson, DiFranco, Greg Brown, the Indigo Girls, and many others.

Acoustic Guitar Magazine recently asked him to do a video session recently displaying his mastery of alternate tunings and unexpected chordal voicings: http://acousticguitar.com/lesson-folk-rock-songwriter-peter-mulvey-explains-how-to-create-a-dynamic-solo-sound-with-alternate-tunings/

NPR Music’s Bob Boilen has called his 2006 song “Abilene (The Eisenhower Waltz)” “beautiful…. touching… It’s also got a clever rhyme scheme.”

Rolling Stone.com :”Haunting... A voice lush and hushed that occasionally sinks into a whisper."

The Washington Post: "The subtle power of his voice, a husky, hushed baritone... understated, at once sophisticated and intimate [singing songs] as cover-worthy as Randy Newman, Elvis Costello."

All Music testified, "For sheer musicianship, it is difficult to think of many contemporary guitar playing singer-songwriters who can claim superiority to Peter Mulvey... It's hard to understand why Peter Mulvey isn't better known. His acoustic guitar work is flawless, avoiding folky clichés for a light, jazzy feel that makes his melodies bounce, and his singing is superb, an understated tenor that puts across deep emotion."

Peter Mulvey 2017 Winter Tour Dates

January 15 – Café Carpe (12-hour concert window) - Fort Atkinson, WI
January 19 – Motorco Music Hall – Durham, NC
January 20 – The Evening Muse – Charlotte, NC
January 21 – Isis – Asheville, NC
January 27 – The Parlor Room – Northampton, MA
January 28 - Circle of Friends Coffeehouse - Franklin, MA
January 29 - One Longfellow Square - Portland, ME
February 4 - Cafe Veritas, First Unitarian Church - Rochester, NY
February 10 - Alberta Rose Theater - Portland, OR
February 11 - Ballard Homestead - Seattle, WA
February 16 - Brick 15 - Del Mar, CA
February 18 - Hotel Café - Hollywood, CA
February 19 - Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse - Berkeley, CA
February 25 – Taproot - Anchorage, AK
February 26 - Vagabond Blues - Palmer, AK
March 9 - The Walnut Room - Denver, CO
March 10 - Friends House Concerts - Colorado Springs, CO            
March 11 - Old San Ysidro Church - Corrales, NM
March 12 - Kitchen Sink Studio - Santa Fe, NM
March 17 - The Etude Sessions @ Paradigm - Sheboygan, WI        
April 1 - Beal House - Kingston, MA                   
April 6 - Club Passim - Cambridge, MA             
April 7 - Club Passim - Cambridge, MA                         
April 8 - Club Passim - Cambridge, MA             
June 1 - Hezekiah Stone's Coffeehouse - Leicester, MA

Monday, January 2, 2017

Beth Bombara bio

A folksinger with a rocker's heart, Beth Bombara has built her career on an evolving sound that blurs the lines between genres. To those who make their living onstage, she's a musician's musician — a road warrior who writes her own exemplary material, plays multiple instruments, and fronts her own band, often a duo with her husband. With 2017’s ‘Map & No Direction,’ Bombara's songs take aim at a larger audience with melodic hooks that showcase a love not only for roots-rock, but the irresistible punch of classic pop, too.
“We’ve played in 22 states, and driven through every one except South Dakota, Florida, Vermont, and Maine,” Beth notes. The hard work paid off, with American Songwriter, Pop Matters, St. Louis Magazine, The Bluegrass Situation and WBEZ all devoting coverage to Beth’s music. During months on the road after her 2015 release, though, Beth found herself battling a deep depression that shook her confidence and crushed her creativity. Unable to write a song and barely able to get out of bed, she spent some time as a side-woman once again, this time playing bass on a tour with the dance-pop project RAC. Taking the spotlight off of herself followed by a period of rest in her hometown of St. Louis restarted her engines.

So naturally, she left town once again, this time heading to the Pacific Northwest with her producer, partner, co-writer, and musical right-hand man Kit Hamon. For her, travel often provides inspiration (witness her song “Mountain Sun”) and there, during a residency in Portland, OR, the two tested out some new, collaboratively-written material, a high water mark for her songwriting. Before heading back east, they recorded those tunes at Portland studio A/D Agency with producer/engineer Karl Kling, who'd first worked with them during the RAC tour. The songs sounded different this time around, layered with Kit’s lush string arrangements, polished to a light shine by Karl, and influenced by more than a half-century's worth of British pop classics and rock home runs. The result is Map & No Direction, an album that casts the widest net of Beth's career, from the George Harrison-worthy guitar riffs of the kickoff track, "I Tried (You're Too Late)," to the sad, sparse beauty of the piano ballad "What We're Giving." It's the sound of Beth rediscovering her own abilities as a songwriter — and expanding them, too.

Seeds of that sound were planted in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where a teenaged Beth landed her first gig as the frontwoman of a touring punk band. From there, she branched out, traveling the country as a side-woman for critically-acclaimed singer/songwriter and Ramseur Records artist Samantha Crain. “Playing with Sam was my introduction to touring on a national scale,” remembers Bombara, who juggled multiple roles as Crain’s lead guitarist, percussionist, and backup singer. Along the way, she learned how to work a crowd and communicate onstage. The biggest lesson, though, was the realization that Beth wanted to write and perform her own songs, not just participate in someone else’s lineup. After moving to St. Louis, she launched a solo career, kicking things off with a batch of songs that owed less to the fury of her punk beginnings and more to the finesse of Gillian Welch, Tom Petty, and Aimee Mann.

More songs followed, along with a string of solo albums that shone a light not only on Bombara's voice, but her collaboration with Kit. “Sonically, he’s the backbone of my rhythm section, and we’ve started co-writing more and more. Our personalities and the ways we approach music are very different, and working through those differences has led to some great collaborations,” says Beth. Meanwhile, her adopted hometown of St. Louis took notice of her sound, with publications like The Riverfront Times naming Beth the city's best Americana artist for several years running.

There is a really raw artistic energy in St. Louis right now,” Beth says of her adopted hometown, “and a lot of creative people collaborating on projects across different mediums. There’s also a certain freedom to be able to try things because of a lower cost of living -- a freedom to focus more time on creation rather than just getting by.” Even so, Bombara has always kept a broader focus that reaches beyond St. Louis’ city limits, behind releases like Wish I Were You, Raise Your Flag and 2015's self-titled Beth Bombara, and of course, behind her omnipresent desire to pack up the van, grab a map, and head north, east, south, or west.