December 5, 2009

Jack Rose has died

This is very sad news. I will try to update this post as new info is released. I think he will be missed tremendously in the musical world. And of course the people in his life will miss Jack Rose the man, and they will miss him the most.

Though I haven't found an official 'news' article, it appears that Jack Rose has indeed died at the very young age of 38, today, Dec. 5th, 2009.

There are some credible sources verifying that it is true:

Three Lobed Records is reporting that it is true.

Glenn Jones on Yahoo! FaheyGuitarPlayers has this to say:
All too true, unfortunately. Jack Rose died Saturday morning. I only got the news a couple hours ago from Regina Greene — our booking person -- just can’t wrap my mind around it. I haven't been able to reach his wife Laurie, she must be inundated with phone calls, so there’s still a lot I don’t know.

Laurie talked to Regina and told her that Jack died suddenly of a heart attack (sometime Saturday morning or Friday night, I’m not sure) -- that it was fast, there was no pain. I don’t know if he died in his sleep, if they were at a hospital, in an ambulance or what.

Not that the details matter much. Words are so poor. That’s a huge hole in so many lives -- it’s too unreal. Not only a fantastic musician, but a great, great friend, big-hearted, funny, outrageous. We just had several shows together in Belgium two weeks ago, and were scheduled to play in Denver together next Friday. We just bought our plane tickets.

Touring with Jack was a blast — always. Can’t believe it won’t ever happen again.

He’d just finished an album for Thrill Jockey, which would have upped his ante in terms of exposure. (We have a duet on the album, “Moon is in the Gutter.”) There’s also a DVD, filmed in the studio, which is just about ready for release. We each do hour long solo sets and a couple duets, and there’s a very entertaining interview conducted by Byron Coley as well. Jack was in top form for the sessions, and plays beautifully.

An indescribable loss.


I first saw this news on Work & Worry, but it is posted in many places, most seem to be referring to as the source.

Here is what I have found so far in no particular order:

And some info sites for Rose:

There are a couple posts HERE on my blog with some of Jack's music.

November 25, 2009

Blind Brand X (aka Ragtime Ralph) - Yesterday I'll Be Happy

Ragtime Ralph is back! In case you haven't already figured it out, Ralph and Blind Brand X are one in the same. Sort of... There is no doubt that Ralph has separated the two in his mind, and on his guitar. They do not play the same style. But they do share a love of Fahey's music and of course the talent to translate that into fantastic listening!
This is Ralph's 6th release on Empty Square Records. Though he hasn't released any actual 'records' of the black w/grooves type, there is some people out there that seem to be pining for such a thing. Maybe someday? No knowing. However, Ralph has out done himself on this release with a 20 page booklet. The scans are included.
Some of my favorites on this release are
Bringing in the Sheaves
Blessed be the Name
And the Blues Come Down Baby Like Showers of Rain
When the Saints Go Marching In
As the Sun Slowly Melts All My Blues Away
and the amazing Ring of Fire. Yes, that Ring of Fire made famous by Johnny Cash. Ralph, let me say that one is a stroke of genius!

Get the music here

Enjoy and be sure to drop back by after you give it a listen and let me know what you think!


October 16, 2009

Glenn Jones - Barbecue Bob in Fishtown

From the Strange Attractors site:
Returning to Martha's Vineyard where Jones recorded his previous masterwork (Against Which the Sea Continually Beats, Strange Attractors, 2007), Barbecue Bob in Fishtown explores the possibilities of classical composition within American folk forms and solo instrumentation. Its precisely this stylistic melding which sets Jones apart from his modern-day acoustic underground brethren. Jones is able to discover and project wide-screened cinema from just 6 & 12 strings, coaxing vivid panoramic images from his sparkling fingerstyle playing. Experimentations with tuning and various capos of his own invention are wed with delicately expressive playing and a remarkable compositional prowess. Barbecue Bob in Fishtown also finds Jones' performing solo on 5-string banjo for the first time on record, exhuming the spirit of Clive's Original Band as seen through a Dock Boggs-esque prism.
Free MP3 of A Geranium for Mano-a-Mano
Glenn was kind enough to let me post another song from the CD as well. I chose track #4, Redwood Ramble Misremembered. Per the liner notes, it's a Robbie Basho song, or at least a Basho phrase that Jones built around. I had to hunt around to find the Basho version, I found it here. Glenn's effort results in a beautiful song, perhaps he should misremember a few more of his influences! The other really strong songs on this CD are the opening tune, Barbecue Bob in Fishtown and track 6, Dead Reckoning. The later being composed in the studio and cut in three takes.
Not that this has much to do with the music that an artist produces, but I find that a nice fat insert is always a welcome addition to a CD of great music! Glenn comes through with a lot of info that I always find very interesting, what inspired the song, what instrument it was played on, the tuning and even the capo position! Or what's left of the capo after he saws it in half. Extra bonus in this CD is a B&W montage of Glenn getting his nails done, presumably before going into the studio? I dunno, but all I can say is, thanks for the kinda creepy photo shoot! And what's up with the Electric Mud album?
Ok, back to the music. I mention my favorite tracks above, now let us be clear - the other songs are good too, those are just my favs. Glenn does a little something new on this CD, as all artists should, he put a couple of solo banjo pieces on here. Now, I'm not much of a banjo guy so you will have to judge for yourself, or try to decipher "...exhuming the spirit of Clive's Original Band as seen through a Dock Boggs-esque prism." Man, why don't I write cool stuff like that? Ah, anyway, I think I like Jones' efforts on the banjo because he is a guitar player playing banjo, like a guitar, instead of a banjo.
Anyway, here is track #4 as promised.

Now go buy this CD!!

October 14, 2009

Paco Pena concert review and bootleg of Boulder, Colorado Show

Paco Pena puts on a heck of a show. Though I knew that this show was not guitar-centric, I wasn't going to miss a chance at seeing flamenco of such a magnitude. So now I've seen Paco Pena and Paco de Lucia. I would just like to see de Lucia again because when I saw him it was with John McLaughlin and Al Di Meola. Not that that was chopper liver, it just wasn't flamenco!
Anyway, the show featured dancing very prominently. It was great to get to see Ángel Muñoz, an excellent performer! My favorite parts of the show were Paco solo (one tune) and the two pieces he did with just him and one dancer.
Paco is off to Canada for the rest of the North American tour so you better check the schedule and get your tickets.
I did record the show and a few of the pieces came out pretty well, just a little shuffling here and there.
Download them here and please let me know what you think.

September 29, 2009

Will McCarthy - This is Music for Films

Will McCarthy has kindly sent me this 2008 release for the blog! It has been chosen to be used for the soundtrack of a DVD about "Forests of Spain". An instrumental release, Will works with a Spanish guitar throughout.
From the press release:

"This is Music for Films" is Will McCarthy's first soundtrack album. A self-taught musician, this Londoner of mixed descent has settled in Valencia, Spain. He's been playing and recording for 20 years and has explored all corners of Europe, East & West, North & South. He's picked up some musical influences along the way! The universal experiences of travel, work, love, heartbreak, faces and places have all played their part in the making of this album.

Here is an eclectic and distinctive collection of original compositions flavoured with folk, polkas, blues, Arabic, flamenco, funk touches and much more. It is catchy, happy, sad, reflective, mysterious, moving, irreverent and more.

It is the sound of a unique and diverse musician, more concerned with expression and feel than studied technique and endless takes. It's different and that's what makes it special. With just one guitar and one microphone, it is a naked collection of instrumentals...just for you. This is music for films. Enjoy it!
Track list
8-Con Man
18-Faces & Places
23-The Hit
27-On the Road

Download the entire CD HERE
Visit Will on MySpace

September 27, 2009

The Genius of Les Paul - Multi-Trackin'

Yeah, I know I'm a lot late on this. Been busy, or lazy, take your pick!
Sleeve Notes from the 1979 London Records release:
There is no electric guitarist performing who is not indebted to Les Paul. His sound and the hardware he invented to achieve it is revered by the likes of Jeff Beck, George Benson, Eric Clapton, Pat Mortino, Pete Townsend, Richard Betts and Jimmy Page.
Not since Thomas Edison-to whom Les Rightly compares himself-has anyone contributed as much to recording technology. He invented sound-on-sound, making it possible to record one signal independently of an entire program. This process, also called overdubbing, was first introduced on his early fifties hits with Mary Ford, where he played between three and twelve guitar parts and she became the first double-tracked vocalist. He "discovered" echo or delay, a dimension which has totally reconditioned listeners, perceptions to a "depth-of-field" or an acoustical space surrounding the source. Consequently he is responsible for spawning an entirely new area of study and systems called psychoacoustics. (Editors note: I've seen the psychoacoustics in concert!)
Les Paul perfected the solid body electric guitar, was the first to put two pickups on one guitar and the first to build a guitar with 14 frets. Since their introduction in 1952, the instruments he designed for Gibson are the ideal of the majority of electric guitarists.
Les is not only an inventor, he is a capital musician. When he came to New York City in the late thirties he fell in with the best. Art Tatum, Ben Webster, Louis Armstrong, and Charlie Christian. He worked in Fred Waring's Orchestra then went on to back Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters. In 1949 he had his first of what would be a long string of hit records with the Rodgers & Hart standard "Lover".
Les retired from music and performing in 1965 to concentrate on developing new inventions. But in 1967 he was coaxed back into recording again by London's Walt Maguire. The idea was to rework some of the original classics-"Lover", "How High the Moon", "Tennessee Waltz", "Bye Bye Blues", and "I Really Don't Want to Know" -with his updated systems. You hold the results in your hand as, The Genius of Les Paul-Multi-Trackin' (originally released as "Les Paul Now" in 1968).
Since 1975 Les has been active again in performing and recording; last year he won a Grammy for his collaborations with Chet Atkins called Chester and Lester. -Peter Hay
My thoughts-
Interesting that this was first released in 1968, when solo guitar was going strong; Takoma was about to release 6 and 12 string by Kottke, Basho was up to several releases, Fahey, of course was well into his career. Interesting because despite the genre differences and the emphasis on creating layers of sound, specifically layers of electric guitar, this is arguably (and i like to argue) a solo guitar album. There are no vocals, and yes, there is some other instrumentation, but it is really just light support for Les' amazing playing. The emphasis here is to put multiple guitar parts together for the sake of the song as a whole.
The first time I heard this I was blown away. This was one of those moments I can point to as being very important to my development as a fan of the guitar. My grandmother owned this album and thought I would like it. Well, being about 17 and very into Led Zepp, I had a good laugh that she would own anything I might like. Grandma got the last laugh on that one! I, ahem, "borrowed" the album periodically before getting my own copy. I now own two copies, if anyone out there is into the vinyl thing and is interested in buying one, let me know, I am willing to part with one of the two.
Some good thoughts about Les:

September 21, 2009

Ragtime Ralph - Unearthed: live...February 28th, 1981

Folks, Ragtime Ralph is back from the past with a newly discovered recording from a live show.

This is a 35 minute set performed (coincidentally?) on Fahey's 42nd birthday. If you have all of Ralph's other releases, you need this one too! If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you better get with it and get the rest of the releases by going HERE.

This is a solid set in the same vein as the Vol. 4 release.

Get it HERE


September 17, 2009

Otis Taylor – Pentatonic Wars And Love Songs

I’ve heard many a musician talk about the space that needs to be left in a composition. I’ve always thought of that in terms of notes, the notes that one doesn’t play. But Otis Taylor makes songs with space between the singing…lots of space. And man-oh-man does it work.

Overall, Taylor as well as his daughter, Cassie, are about the emotional impact of the song. Taylor’s singing and lyrical style is very repetitive. He labels it call and response, call it what you like but I find it fascinating that he can say so little in a song, and have it mean so much.

Taylor crafts his songs with space for playing too, and it’s always appropriate to the feeling of the song. He builds his songs in a progressive manner, adding layers, but always leaving that space for the musicians to shine. Somehow Taylor manages to let them show off without screwing up the songs.

Taylor’s use of the acoustic guitar is great. He doesn't just play the notes, he pounds them out in a percussive way that is rarely heard in a band setting. All too often acoustic guitars are lost in the mix once all the instruments kick, but Taylor keeps it sharp and up front, setting the pace for the song.

It’s hard to really label this as a blues CD, it’s a big, messy soup of styles. One minute it’s modern blues, then his daughter sings a plaintive ballad. Next is a song with some tasty licks played on a nylon stringed guitar. Trance banjo followed by a jazz piece that seems to be equal parts Miles Davis, Nik Bärtsch and of course Otis Taylor. And all of this is a good thing. So if you haven’t discovered Otis Taylor yet, this is a good place to start.

BUY Otis Taylor from EMUSIC icon

August 27, 2009

Mike Fekete - Yellow and Red

Mike Fekete is currently living in one of the hottest places for music, especially acoustic guitar music, the Northwest of the United States. He keeps good company with the likes of Terry Robb, Sean Smith (a little less North), Mary Flower and even John Fahey. Specifically, Mike Fekete lives in Olympia, WA. At 29 years old he is part of the new wave of musicians that has embraced the beauty and power of the acoustic guitar. Even better, he plays solo acoustic.

Mike says his music is equally rooted in the Takoma sound as well as the Windham Hill sound. Now, I like a guy that will stand up and mention Windham Hill. It has taken a beating for a long time, and still does, but the fact of the matter is that Will Ackerman sought out and signed a lot of very talented musicians. One of which was George Winston.

George Winston has had occasion to listen to Mike's music and says, "Mike Fekete is one of the great new 21st Century guitarist/composers." Now that is high praise indeed. I bet that makes you want to hear some Mike Fekete.

Mike has been kind enough to allow me to post a song from his release, Yellow and Red and make it available for download!

Click on the player to listen to "Magnolia (In Blossom)"

Click on the link to download your copy.

If you like that piece you need to head on out (but please come back) to



or iTunes

Visit Mike on MySpace

to get your copy Yellow and Red. The hard copy is very reasonably priced if you are the type that still likes an actual CD, or you can d/l it for a bit less.

So, having given Yellow & Red a good, thorough listen, I see what Mike is saying about his roots. In a single song his is very likely to start off down the Windham Hill of sweet melody only to subtly veer into Takoma territory with a bit of dissonance and aggressive picking. Strings rattling, the bass line shifting in and out of harmony and then deftly, you are back on the road he started you down, the sweet melody is back and you think, OK, I need to hear that again! A couple of my favorites are track 6, Not Above Not Below and track 8, Rainforest Coast.
Back to the Windham Hill influences, it's interesting that Mike sites Winston as his reason for picking up the guitar as a solo instrument. When he started playing solo guitar, he had yet to discover the genre, so he was trying to play music like Winston, but on guitar. Next came Hawaiian Slack Key and then the flood gates opened eventually leading him back to Winston when he found that Fahey had produced Winston's first album. I think the title cut sounds like it's got a lot of Hedges in it, so the influences do go beyond Winston.

July 19, 2009

UPDATED! - Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood – Pepsi Center Denver CO. 21Jun2009

After hearing about Winwood and Clapton getting together for shows at Madison Square Garden, I’m sure a lot of Blind Faith fans were on edge about the possibility of seeing these two great musicians together again. They did not disappoint.

The set list was a mixture of Blind Faith and each performer’s impressive canon with a few gems thrown in for good measure. They performed most of the Blind Faith LP except Sea of Joy and Do What You Like. But they did play Sleeping in the Ground, an unreleased track from that session. It was nearly a 2 ½ hour show.
Here is the Denver Set list:
Had to Cry Today
Low Down
After Midnight
Presence of the Lord
Sleeping in the Ground
Well Alright
Tough Luck Blues
Pearly Queen
No Face, No Name, No Number
Forever Man
Georgia (Winwood solo on Hammond)
Drifting (EC acoustic)
How Long
Layla (Winwood & EC, both on acoustic guitar) a little sleepy, would have loved the electric version
Can’t Find My Way Home (Winwood & EC, both on acoustic guitar)
Split Decision, EC adds some muscle!
Voodoo Chile-EC sings the opening line, I’m a Voodoo chile...and then hands off the vocal work to Winwood. Great, soaring notes. They put their own stamp on it, for sure, but what a great 15 minutes!
Dear Mr. Fantasy

They are touring with a couple of backup singers with some pretty impressive pipes. Why not do at least one song from the Yvonne Elliman era? I would have loved to hear The Core a song that also allows a lot of room for soloing by Winwood and Clapton. Oh well.

For Presence of the Lord, they both traded off vocals. Interesting now that we know this was a point of contention between the two men since the Blind Faith days. Winwood sings the song on the original LP release, but always felt that Clapton should have sung it since he wrote it. Tonight they traded vocals and it worked very well.

Clapton started his solo set with and old blues tune, Drifting. A great old song that I’ve never heard him play. It was phenomenal! Both men played the acoustic on Can’t Find My Way Home. But instead of the familiar finger style, they changed it up a bit, even adding the backup singers. It was not how I wanted it played, haha, but it was still good.

I do have some songs from the show to post later, so check back. Until then, check out these great YouTubes.

UPDATE: I've added a link to 6 songs from the show, recorded by me. I wish I could put up more but these turned out the best.
01 - Had to Cry Today
02 - Glad
03 - Well Alright
04 - Tough Luck Blues
05 - Pearly Queen
06 - Voodoo Chile
Denver Show

July 13, 2009

James Blackshaw - Live @ St. Giles Church, London

James Blackshaw
St. Giles Church, London
Soundboard recording uploaded to the internets by pjc - thanks dude!

This is a great recording of Blackshaw playing his signature 12 string songs. The first cut is Cross from his recently released The Glass Bead Game. But at the time of the show you can hear Blackshaw say that it is untitled. Very cool.
Though he also says that he will play a couple new things, I think that was the only one. I'm no Blackshaw expert so I did the best I could on the middle two titles. Please let me know if they are titled incorrectly.

I took the liberty of deleting track two, 4+ minutes of tuning and he doesn't even tell any jokes. Everyone knows you are supposed to tell jokes while tuning your guitar. Please go buy some of Blackshaw's stuff so that he can buy another guitar for that other tuning or at least hire a freakin' guitar tech!

Tompkins Square
Young God Records
Official site

Download it HERE

July 11, 2009

C. Joynes - Live @ Cafe Oto, London

C Joynes
Cafe Oto, London
20th March 2009

Woohoo! More C. Joynes!

This is a recent live show, thanks to the taper for posting this out on the internets. Some of this material is from the previously posted "studio" album. I've tried to id the songs but I don't know them all. This is about a 30 minute set.

For the gear geeks: core sound cardioids>fel preamp>zoom h2>48khz 24bit>usb>audience levels cut & resampling to 44/16 in Audition>splitting in CD Wave>TLH flac level 8
and then I did the unthinkable and converted to mp3, so sue me.

set list

01 Spoken Intro (00:34)
02 Limehouse (03:09)
03 Voice of Rita Mae (01:50)
04 Happy & Delightful?? (02:31)
05 Adieu My Own Sweet Nancy (08:36)
06 West Cavaliers (02:59)
07 (02:42)
08 gospel tune (04:03)
09 (02:39)

this is for free trade only
support the artist by catching him live & buying the officially released stuff
a salamanda recording

Download C Joynes Cafe Oto
BUY C. Joynes from EMUSIC icon     

July 9, 2009

Hill Country Revue - Make A Move

Folks, if you like the Alice Mae, free mp3 below, if you like the North Mississippi Allstars, if you like boogie, good-time, shake-your-ass will drink muddy water and sleep in a hollow log to hear this music.

Change is good. Just ask the North Mississippi Allstars. Brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson and long-time friend Chris Chew have spent their entire adult lives playing together. For them, change is good for the soul and the cortex. That’s why Luther is working with the Black Crowes, and Cody and Chris have launched a new group, Hill Country Revue, whose first album, Make a Move, arrives from Razor &Tie on May 12th.

“The North Mississippi Allstars haven’t broken up,” Cody Dickinson says. “We’re just off doing different things. Hill Country Revue, for Chris and me, is like a big jolt of adrenaline. It changes our blood chemistry and has us firing on a whole different set of synapses. Also the input from the other guys in the band, both as musicians and friends, is amazing. So everybody gains!”

Cody and Chris began shaking things up in February 2008 when they started trying out new material – much of it written by their friend Garry Burnside, the youngest son of legendary Mississippi bluesman R.L. Burnside – and working with Memphis-based slide guitarist Kirk Smithhart; vocalist and harp player Daniel Robert Colburn, formerly of Dixie Hustler; and drummer Edward Cleveland, nicknamed “Hot” for his performances around Memphis.

R.L.’s son Garry, the youngest of 14 brothers and sisters, did yeoman work writing the new songs on Make a Move and is a guest guitarist, along with Duwayne Burnside, Luther Dickinson and vocalist Aaron Julison. “There’s a simplicity to these blues-based songs,” Cody says, “but when we perform them they turn into Southern rock with a raw, sexual energy.”

The band and their friends recorded the 10-track, 45-minute Make a Move at Jim Dickinson’s famed Zebra Ranch Studio, as well as at Young Avenue Sound in Memphis, with Cody in the producer’s chair and father Jim acting as “director.”

As bandleader, Cody is also excited to be switching roles, moving from the drum-seat with the Allstars to playing guitar and singing with the Revue. “I’m a multi-instrumentalist, and just playing drums all the time had been holding me back. This was my opportunity to put my band together.”

Cody sees Hill Country Revue as the North Mississippi Allstars’ “rowdy, misbehaving brother, and I’m not saying that because I’m Luther’s younger brother. I see the Revue as an extension of the Allstars. It’s definitely not a side project. We’ve all put our hearts into this band.”

Official Website
"Alice Mae" mp3 FREE DOWNLOAD!!

June 21, 2009

Black Oil Brothers - Long Way From The Delta

The Black Oil Brothers are a 3-piece acoustic delta country/blues/folk band out of Chicago, IL.
Here's what they have to say about themselves.
Before the blues found its way to Chicago and redefined itself with electric guitars and drummers, bluesmen were minstrels playing juke joints in the Mississippi Delta armed only with their guitars and voices while the crowd kept the rhythm by stomping their feet in time. Born and raised in Chicago, The Black Oil Brothers aim to channel that kind of boot stompin' blues that doesn’t need a backline or distortion pedals to make it cook. Resonators played with steel slides, wailing harmonicas, 3 part harmonies and the righteous twang of acoustic guitars and mandolin strings define our music (and very well may be saving our souls at the same time). Let us save yours. Preaching the gospel of Robert Johnson, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Leadbelly, and Gram Parsons.

Take a trip to the site it's worth it as they have some freebies there, tour dates and of course a link to buy the new CD!
Download the Black Oil Brothers


June 19, 2009

Cam Deas - My Guitar is Alive and It's Singing

Have no doubt when Cam Deas tells you that his guitar is alive and singing.
While the comparisons to James Blackshaw are numerous and admirable, they miss the mark. But only by a little bit. Granted, they both play a lot of that fancy 12 string. But Deas plays his guitar with such raw urgency and crisp production. Not really as lush as Blackshaw, it's playing that is hard to define.
Deas will spend nearly 10 minutes on the opening track luring you into a quiet and beautiful world before he really unleashes the picking attack on his guitar. A fantastic piece spanning nearly 20 minutes. The other two pieces are equally compelling in originality and passion.
This CDr has three pieces.
1. The Waters of Kval0ya
2. My Guitar is Alive and It's Singing
3. As Spring Fell From the Leaves
A prolific artist, he has put out a dozen works. Check his MySpace site for what is available now. He tends to sell a lot of his music on vinyl. So you need a turntable or to look close for the CDr releases. That's what I picked up, a simple digipak with cover art by Jake Blanchard. If you hear something you like you better grab it quick because most of it is printed in very small runs.
That is the case with this release, all sold out!

So Cam has been nice enough to let me post it for download.  I think he is still a nice guy!  It's just no longer available for d/l!

Cam Deas - My Guitar is Alive and It's Singing
Cam has re-issued/re-released, whatever, this effort so it is no longer available for d/l.  Please go to his site and buy it!

June 18, 2009

Ben Reynolds - How Day Earnt Its Night

Ben Reynolds tries to be everything to modern finger picking on his latest release. In some ways it is successful in that he takes on several of the common niches within the current genre. On the other hand, you may feel that just as you were getting into one feel, he is headed off into another direction.
The CD kicks off with a couple pretty straightforward tunes. Skylark (Scorner of the Ground!) is a Scottish-tinged, melodic piece. Up next is the surprisingly upbeat (for the title), Death Sings. I would say this is a very nice Takoma style piece. Good stuff, very melodic with Reynolds staying clear of the field of dissonance.
But not for long…Next up is The Virgin Knows. A little bit more than a hint of Eastern/Raga comparable to a Jack Rose long rambling piece, though he never gets as weird as the weirdest Rose. The piece is sort of flirting with the Eastern melody while thumbing in the West. Interesting combination.
Risen reminds me of the Hymns that Fahey used to put at the end of his albums. Though this one isn’t at the end nor does it make you feel like “the end” is near. While Fahey went for the gloom, Reynolds chooses to skip the gloom while maintaining the stately feel that Fahey was so good at projecting.
In the middle of it all is the nearly 13 minute title piece, How Day Earnt its Night. Though it took me a listen or two to warm up to this one, I would say this is a very successful attempt at the long form style that Blackshaw et al have made their careers on. Reynolds guides us through three sections of the song, transitioning to each in simple and effective ways.
I can hear a nod to his fellow country men in the picking of many of these tunes, the opener and again in England and Kirstie it is noticeable.
And then we have what may be the aptly titled, All Gone Wrong Blues. I’m not too sure about this one, but I must disclose that I’m not a big fan of the harp unless it’s played through an overdriven amp on the South side of Chicago. So let’s just leave it at that.
Clocking in at 42 minutes is a bit disappointing. These days I like to see us get at least 50 minutes for our $12-15.
I’m always interested in info about the tune, inspiration, the guitar used to record it. This is a very simple packaging offering none of that. I suppose sometimes artists like to keep that to themselves, or perhaps it adds to the mystery of the music and therefore the interpretive experience by the listener.
Head over to his MySpace album page where you can hear nearly every tune before you buy.

Make sure you head over to Tompkins Square and browse the other excellent offerings. Tompkins has James Blackshaw's early releases, Max Ochs, Peter Walker and of course the Imaginational Anthem series.
BUY Ben Reynolds from EMUSIC icon

June 12, 2009

Pat O'Connell - On the Sunnyside of Ashland

(Photo by Michael Lenzi)

On Pat O'Connell's MySpace he describes his music as unsophisticated guitar tunes. Isn't modesty refreshing? O'Connell's tunes are hardly unsophisticated. Though I discovered O'Connell's music via The Revenge of Blind Joe Death: The John Fahey Tribute Album, he isn't letting that pigeon-hole his sound. Considering his previous musical work, Number One Cup, it's obvious that O'Connell is a musician that spans styles.

Though he does show off his ability to play a tune with a solid, steady thumb, he is just as likely to play it subtlety to hold the bottom down and allow plenty of room for the melody to shine. With his penchant for glissando and judicious use of bends he leads us down a very melodic path. His unhurried style is a bit deceptive. Like riding a bike slowly, it's much more difficult than at a moderate speed. It requires skill.

His pace reveals his skill at injecting emotion into the songs. As O'Connell says, "I strive to emphasize moments of beauty and grace rather than the dissonance and tension that have become so commonplace in finger style guitar music. The tunes are brief and stripped of any unnecessary indulgences. It is my hope that they complement each other and provide the listener with a consistent theme throughout."

Despite my association of O'Connell with John Fahey (you can find more than a few Fahey tabs on the net with O'Connell's name on them), this release isn't Fahey-esque in style although he does include a cover of Sligo River Blues. All the other songs are O'Connell originals. A glance at the list of O'Connell's influences include William Ackerman. Anyone hanging around in the Fahey/Takoma circles knows that takes guts. Ackerman is widely acknowledged as the father of new age music. I have my own views about that.

Be sure to visit his MySpace for more tunes and watch for an official release sometime in August.

June 6, 2009

The Backpork Drifters - Raiders of the Lost Porch

Ragtime Ralph is back with a string band release from 1982. Originally recorded on reel to reel in Ralph's kitchen. This is a little different from Ralph's other work that we have heard thus far.

Ralph kicks it off with a solo 12 string version of Poor Boy Long Ways From Home. After that the boys join in, Dirk Dykstra on guitar, mandolin & vocals. Roderick "Scotty" Scott on harmonica, spoons and vocals. And Ralph on mandolin, Hawaiian guitar, vocals and kazoo.
Track List:
1) Poor Boy Long Ways From Home
2) Going Up the Country
3) Mandolin Rag
4) Hot Time Blues
5) Red River Valley
6) Leaving Home to be a Cowboy

It's a good time recording, give it a try and DOWNLOAD it now.

May 27, 2009

Mark Lemhouse - Loud - Live - Luxurious

Does anyone out there have these Mark Lemhouse releases?
I've contacted the label and the artist to no avail.
Please leave me a comment or send an email if you know where I can get them, or are interested in sharing them with me.


John Hammond - Got Love If You Want It

This 1992 release has got some sweet guests and some great solo work. Guesting is JJ Cale, John Lee Hooker and Charlie Baty and his Nightcats buddies!

Solo work includes Tom Waits' "No One Can Forgive Me But My Baby"

One of the most influential moments in my musical life was seeing John Hammond play live. You can find him on MySpace. My buddy and I had heard his records, his parents had a huge record collection, but we didn't really get it, not yet. He was playing a bar in Denver called The Mercury Cafe, we were under age and getting in was going to be a problem. We were probably about 17, there wasn't much chance of us bluffing our way into a 21 establishment, we didn't have fake ID's and we certainly weren't blonde with a tight pair of jeans. But my friend's mother wasn't about to let that stop her, she had a few words with the door man, promised we wouldn't drink, told him how important it was that we see this guy...and he let us in. Looking back I'm not sure why she was so intent on us seeing this show. Maybe she just saw it as an opportunity to expand our musical tastes beyond Led Zeppelin. But I'm thankful, and when the door man wasn't looking, she bought us a beer!
We were early and sat right up front. This was not a big place and I bet we were no more than 10 feet from the stage. The stage was just a platform made of 2x4's and plywood, good for stomping on, as I was about to find out.
I don't remember the set list, I don't even remember a particular song. What I remember is John sitting in a chair, harmonica holder around his neck, singing, stomping and wailing on that guitar. And to add to the intensity he had Washboard Chaz Leary playing washboard! What a trip. I had never seen anything like this. I was well into my concert going days by then, I had seen the Who, the Stones, pyrotechnics, lasers, blah blah blah. So why was this guy blowing me away? He was sitting down! He had a guy playing the washboard and plinking tin cans...WTF??
The bottom line is that John is an intense man that loves the blues and plays 'em that way. And it was evident that night, stomping and all! It was an introduction to another kind of music that I have loved and appreciated since. Maybe that night in the Mercury Cafe will never be matched, but I'm not worried.

May 22, 2009

Ben Reynolds - How Day Earnt Its Night

Tompkins Square Label release is June 9th

Ben Reynolds is an English solo steel string guitarist and songwriter. In his solo instrumental works he draws upon the vast well of musical inspiration native to the British Isles as well as that found across the Atlantic and beyond.
Ben’s 2008 recording ‘Two Wings’ was released on Portland, Oregon label Strange Attractors Audio House and focuses upon sprawling, meditative improvisations and concludes with the track ‘Here Toucheth Blues’ which appeared on Tompkins Square’s Imaginational Anthem Vol. 3 compilation.

2009 sees the release of Ben’s second solo guitar full length ‘How Day Earnt Its Night’ on Tompkins Square. This new recording consolidates his interest in British and American folk guitar traditions in concise and intensely melodic pieces as well as longer, expressionist improvisations. The intricacies of British guitar luminaries such as Bert Jansch and Davy Graham are found alongside the stark grandeur of John Fahey’s ‘American primitive guitar’ stylings.

Outside of Ben’s solo work he is a member of Glasgow based songsters Trembling Bells whose debut album ‘Carbeth’ is to be released in April 2009 on London label Honest Jon’s.

Make sure you head over to Tompkins Square and browse the other excellent offerings. Tompkins has James Blackshaw's early releases, Max Ochs, Peter Walker and of course the Imaginational Anthem series.
BUY Ben Reynolds from EMUSIC icon

May 18, 2009

James Blackshaw - The Glass Bead Game

Release date is May 26th. This sounds like another good one from Blackshaw!

Blackshaw has recently signed to Michael Gira's Young God Records label (Devendra Banhart / Angels Of Light /Akron/Family / Lisa Germano / Larkin Grimm / Swans etc...)and his seventh studio album The Glass Bead Game is to be released in May 2009. Blackshaw is currently a member of Current 93, Brethren of The Free Spirit (duo with Jozef Van Wissem) and performs live with Pantaleimon. He has toured extensively in Europe, US and Japan, playing approximately 200 shows since 2005 in a broad range of environments from sold-out 1,000 capacity venues supporting Jose Gonzalez to intimate church shows and institutions such as The Douglas Hynde Gallery in Dublin and The ICA in London. He has featured on National Public Radio in the US, BBC Radio 2 and performed live on VPRO television in The Netherlands.
Go to the label site, Young God Records

James Blackshaw on MySpace

May 4, 2009

Pete Seeger's Birthday! How could I have missed it?

John Fahey was attributed with the following quote about Pete Seeger; "I remember when you'd go into a folk store, there'd always be a big sign up, 'Should Pete Seeger Go To Jail?' I'd always say, Absolutely. Because he sings such lousy music."

Sounds like something Fahey would say! Apparently Fahey had a reputation for saying most anything to be outlandish, get attention, just get a reaction? Hard to know for sure.

But Fahey wasn't without his own political song, don't forget March! For Martin Luther King. Pretty cool song. is Pete at the feet of Woody Guthrie. Now Woody, he had an interesting life.

You could say Woody started all this singin' for change. Sit in, Sing out, march, march, march.

Woody was all about the labor movement.

No doubt Pete learned a lot for Woody, like how to write all over your guitar. looks like the stencil had been invented by the time Pete decided on his protest motto. So you could say that Pete improved on his mentor's style. Always good for the student to teach the master a thing or two, no?
Pete sorta took up the protest career and with all the labor problems solved he decided to focus on racism and wars. Excellent cause. Pete learned another thing from Woody, take a folk song and turn it into a "cause" song. Take an old spiritual and turn it into a "protest" song. Very effective. Everyone kinda knows the tune, add some timely lyrics and presto, the whole crowd sings along!
However, somewhat questionable when it comes to all the accolades the men receive for preserving American folk music. True, some of the praise is well deserved, but let's not lose site of the means to an end. Protesting, sitting in, walking out, march, march, march. And, the causes were noble and worthy, no doubt about that. But does one justify the twisting of the other?

How about the song "I Shall not be Moved"? Beautiful old spiritual, forever linked to sit-ins. Listen to Mississippi John Hurt sing that song. Man, that is something! Very popular song, lots of people did it as a spiritual, Johnny Cash, "Pops" Staples. Long list. Great song.