Saturday, February 26, 2005

Jimmy LaFave No April Fool

April 1 marks the return of the great Jimmy LaFave to the Narrows. And he'll be celebrating the March 8th release of his first CD in four years. It's called "Blue Nightfall."

Jimmy LaFave is particularly a "fave" for the crew at the Narrows. If memory serves, the last time he was here was a couple years back for the Woody Guthrie tribute.

Learn more about this Texas troubador at

Welcome back, Jimmy!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Radio Stations We Love: Part Deux

Of course, in yesterday's blog entry, I forgot WGBH 89.7 FM as a source of Narrows' music. So, as a public service, I grabbed their playlist from a recent show and pasted it below. I have bolded the names of artists who have played, or will be playing the Narrows.

Saturday, Feb 12, 3pm–6pm, WGBH 89.7

3:01pmSteve Tilston & Maggie Boyle: Let Your Banjo Ring, All Under The Sun (Flying Fish 663)

3:05pmTony Rice: Wayfaring Stranger, Cold On The Shoulder (Rounder 0183)

3:10pmRichard & Linda Thompson: For Shame Of Doing Wrong, Dreams Fly Away (Hannibal 1379)

3:15pmDavid Francey: Morning Train, The Waking Hour (Red house 182)

3:25pmThe Duhks: True Religion, The Duhks (Sugar Hill 3997)

3:22pmTaj Mahal: Queen Bee, Senor Blues (Private Music 01005-82151-2)

3:18pmIndia Arie: Beautiful, Acoustic Soul (Motown 440-013770-2)

3:30pmAlison Krauss: Goodbye Is All We Have, Lonely Runs Both Ways (Rounder 0525)

3:34pmBeau Jocque: I'm On The Wonder, Gonna Take You Down Town (Rounder 2150)

3:40pmMary Gauthier: Prayer With Out Words, Mercy Now (Lost Highway B000357-02)

3:42pmNew Grass Revival: Angel Eyes, Friday Night In America (capitol 7 90739 2)

3:46pmBeth Orton: Touch Me With You Love, Trailer Parkl (Dedicated/Heavinly 61702-44007-2)

3:51pmK.D. Lang: Pullin' Back the Reins, Absolute Torch and Twang (Sire 25877-2)

3:55pmNorah Jones: Turn me On, Come Away With Me (Bluenote 7243532008820)

4:06pmSteve Riley: Sweey Dream, Bon Reve (Rounder 6160)

4:13pmSteve Riley & Mamou Playboys: La Danse De mardi Gras, La Toussaint (Rounder 6068)

4:16pmDexter Ardoin: Dexter's Zydeco, What Yoou Come To Do (Louisiana Radio Records 5731)

4:25pmChris Ardoin: Stay in Or Stay Out, Turn The Page (Rounder 2157)

4:30pmProfessor Long Hair: Going to the Mardi Gras, Mardi Gras Till You Drop (Rhino 90106)

4:40pmCorey Harris & Henry Butler: There's No Substitute For Love, Vu-Du Menz (Alligator 4872)

4:45pmMary Chapin Carpenter: Read My Lips, State Of the Heart (Columbia 44228)

4:48pmThe Derailers: The Way To My Heart, Genuine (Lucky Dog 86873)

4:51pmRosie Flores: Funnel Of Love , Dance Hall Dreams (Rounder 3719)

4:53pmOllabelle: Gentle Annie, Beautiful Dreamer (American Roots Publishing 591594-2)

4:57pmDave Van Ronk: You've been A Good Old Wagon, ...And The Tin Pan Bended and the Story Ended... (Smithsonian Folkways 40156)

4:59pmRosalie Sorrels: Old Devil Time, My Last Go Round (Red House 167)

5:05pmJoe Val: Sparkling Brown Eyes, Diamond Joe (Rounder 11537)

5:10pmRicky Skaggs: Sally Jo, Brand New Strings (Skaggs Family 6989010062)

5:15pmKng Wilkie: Broke Down and Lonesome, Broke (Rebel 1802)

5:20pmHunger Mountain Boys: Hang My Hat 1#, Blue Ribbon Waltz

5:25pmThe Bibson Brothers: Mountain, Long Way Back Home (Sugar Hill 3986)

5:30pmSteve Earl: Gringo's Tale, The Revolution Starts Now (Artemis 51565)

5:35pmEliza Gilkyson: Not Lonely, Land Of Milk And Honey (Red House 174)

5:40pmNorman and Nancy Blake w/ Tim O'Brien: Black Jack David, The Unbroken Circle (Dualtone 80302-01162-2)

5:42pmThe Cox Family: Lovin You, Beyond The City (Rounder 0372)

5:51pmTift Merritt: I am Your Tambourine, Tambourine (Lost Highway B00025828-2)

Submitted by that list-loving Steve the Emcee

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Radio Stations We Love

Not everybody knows that a lot of the music we feature at the Narrows CAN be found on the radio. It's just tricky finding it. And the reception in your area may not be so good.

Anyway, if you live toward Boston, there's 91.9 FM WUMB which can be heard fairly well in the Fall River/New Bedford area also. I usually lose it around Swansea when driving to Providence. It's broadcasting from UMASS Boston, but, unlike most college stations, it's truly a professional operation, although it is non-commercial. The local UMASS franchise in these parts has 91.1 FM WSMU, which is out of Dartmouth, Massachusetts.

90.3 FM WRIU is good for a lot of Rhode Island and parts of Southeastern Massachusetts. It comes from the University of Rhode Island campus in southern Rhode Island (or as they say in Rhode Island "South County"). It's also non-commercial.

And from about Swansea east you can probably pick up 92.7 WMVY, which originates in Martha's Vineyard. I think they also have another place on the dial that serves Newport, but I don't know the frequency. If you do, please leave a message in the comments section. By the way, WMVY is a for-profit station, which we're happy about it. It proves that you can play great music and still turn a profit.

If you know of a great station I haven't mentioned, please leave a note in the comments section. Thanks to all the DJs, most of 'em working for no or little pay, for serving up the wonderful sounds with little glory. And thanks for promoting the Narrows!

Submitted by Steve the Emcee who loves heavy metal and just lost a great metal source, 100.3 FM WKKB. But he likes the new format at 100.3 FM too, so it's kind of a wash for him.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Thanks Griffin Mfg!

A big thumbs up and thank you to Griffin Manufacturing in Fall River for their substantial donation to the Narrows.

If you would like to make a donation, please contact for more information. The Narrows is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization entirely staffed by volunteers.

Thanks again to Griffin Manufacturing for helping us keep the lights on!

Submitted by Steve the Emcee, who is also a proud financial donor to the Narrows.

New Jimmy Ryan CD in April

Alternative country pioneer, and frequent Narrows' performer, Jimmy Ryan has a new CD "Gospel Shirt" coming out in late April.

Jimmy just did a great opening set at the Marshall Crenshaw show.

Jimmy's credits include lead singer for the alternative country band The Blood Oranges as well as guest appearances on Warren Zevon's "Life'll Kill Ya'" CD, and various Catie Curtis releases.

Check out for more info.

Written by Steve the Emcee shortly after taking Marshall Crenshaw down the freight elevator.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Celtic Summer

The shows haven't been officially placed on the schedule at this writing, but it looks like it's going to be a Celtic Summer at the Narrows.

We'll be featuring The Cottars, a young and adorable group of kids from Cape Breton Island. They may be teenagers, but they've already played the Newport Folk Festival!

Also, from Ireland, Danu, a group of young traditional musicians from Waterford, Dublin, Kerry and Donegal counties. They're a favorite on the international circuit.

So, be here to catch the gentle Celtic breezes wafting through our rafters during the dog days!

Written by Steve the Emcee, who has ancestors named O'Dorsey, believe it or not.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Fresh Off Letterman, Meet Kathleen Edwards

Watch David Letterman's show March 1 and you'll see singer-songwriter Kathleen Edwards, who's coming to the Narrows on May 21.

Don't know her? Here's stuff from her record company's website:

Having been hailed as one of the finest and most distinctive singer-songwriters to emerge in 2002, Kathleen Edwards is poised to vault to the front rank of contemporary music with her superlative sophomore album, Back To Me.

The New York Times praised Edwards as a writer whose songs can "pare situations down to a few dozen words while they push country-rock towards its primal impulses of thump and twang," and on Back To Me, she once again demonstrates that she can rock hard but also move a listener with heart stopping insights.

The 26-year-old singer-songwriter's 2002 debut Failer started as an indie project recorded with friends in the Ottawa music scene. It was released by MapleMusic Recordings in Canada and Zoë/Rounder in the U.S., and on the strength of three singles - "Six O'Clock News," "One More Song The Radio Won't Like" and "Hockey Skates" - Failer was acclaimed as one of the finest debut records in recent memory. No Depression said the album marked "the arrival of a rare talent." Rolling Stone declared her one of year's most promising new acts...

Submitted by Steve the Emcee, who's only been to Canada 3 times, maybe.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

You Never Know Who's Next to You

Besides the many well known performers at the Narrows, out in the audience have been celebrated musicians sneaking in to see other bands, public officials, even the publisher of a nationally known newspaper.

So that hairy guy sitting in the pew in front of you just may have played bass on your favorite record.

Recently, the daughter of Doobie Brother Keith Knudsen attended a show. As you may know, Keith recently passed away. Our condolences to her and her family, and thanks to Keith for all the great music!

Submitted by a person never destined to be famous, Steve the lowly Emcee

Taylor (Chip & Liv) & Cheryl

Shhh! Don't tell anybody, because they're not posted on the official schedule yet.

June 10th, Chip Taylor and Carrie Rodrigues return to the Narrows.

I'm also not supposed to mention that dates will soon be announced for Livingston Taylor, Cheryl Wheeler and The Strawbs.

Submitted by Steve "Deep Throat" the Emcee

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

WUMB Radio's Top 10 CDs of 2004

We were surfing WUMB's website,, and spotted a listing for what they consider the top 10 CDs of 2004. Several of these artists have played the Narrows.

Congrats to all, but particularly to Narrows' alums Eliza Gilkyson, Jeffrey Foucault, Lori McKenna, Mark Erelli and best new artist Ollabelle, coming to the Narrows on Friday, March 18, for their 3rd visit!

The list starts at #10:

Eliza Gilkyson "Land of Milk and Honey" Red House

Alison Krauss "Lonely Runs Both Ways" Rounder

Keb Mo "Peace, Back By Popular Demand" Epic

Pierce Pettis "Great Big World" Compass

Jeffery Foucault "Stripping Cane" Signature Sounds

Kate Campbell "The Portable Kate Campbell" Compadre

Mary Chapin Carpenter "Between Here and Gone" Columbia

Lori McKenna "Bittertown" Signature Sounds

Mark Erelli "Hillbilly Pilgrim" Signature Sounds

Patty Griffin "Impossible Dream"ATO

NewArtist --Ollabelle "Ollabelle" Columbia

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Our Thoughts and Prayers are with Gatemouth Brown

The legendary Gatemouth Brown, slated to play the Narrows this week, has had to cancel his show due to failing health.

Gatemouth suffers from lung cancer and has performed on stage with an oxygen tube.

We began hearing that his health situation was taking a very serious turn last week. So it's not a total surprise.

There's nothing about his status on his website last time we checked. His site is

Suffice it to say that our thoughts and prayers are with Gatemouth. We hope we'll be able to re-book him in the near future.

Submitted by Steve the Emcee

John Hammond Climbing Chart

Blues icon John Hammond's new album In Your Arms Again has climbed up to number 34 on the Americana Music Association airplay chart (February 14, 2005).

John played a great show last year at the Narrows, and is slated to return on Saturday, March 19th. John, by the way, is one of the nice guys in music. The crew at the Narrows had a wonderful time chatting with John and his wife during their last visit.

To visit the Americana music chart, click on the link below:

Written by the very lowly and humble Steve the Emcee

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Heads Up! New Shows!

Check out the on-line live music calendar for all the shows. These are a couple recently added, though:

Saturday, April 2. John Doe--Roots meets punk played by a frequent actor who was in the LA punk band X. He was in the TV show "Roswell."

Thursday, April 7. Surprise Me Mr. Davis Featuring The Slip and Nathan Moore--We don't understand all the "Mr. Davis" stuff and really don't know Nathan Moore, but we know and love The Slip. Get tickets quickly or you will be disappointed.

By Steve the Emcee who has rarely missed a show in about 3 years

Thanks Tom Rush!

Tom Rush, at his first ever concert at the Narrows (Friday, February 11), offered to give away free CDs to anyone who signed up to become a member.

Thanks to Tom's generosity, we raised nearly $800 in memberships in about ten minutes.

By the way, the CD Tom gave away is called Tom Rush: New Year featuring him live at Symphony Hall in Boston.

If you'd like information on becoming a member of the Narrows, please email

Thanks again to Tom Rush for helping us keep the lights on at the Narrows!

Written by Steve the Emcee just as Tom was wrapping up his concert

Friday, February 11, 2005

No Depression

No Depression is an alternative country magazine that I don't recall ever reading. Recently, however, I finished reading a No Depression book, which features a collection of articles from the 1990s.

The articles profile various artists, including Guy Clark (coming to the Narrows on Friday, March 4 for his second visit), the Waco Brothers and others who have performed at the Narrows, as well as Wilco, Iris Dement, Son Volt and Steve Earle. I'm returning the book to the Providence public library tomorrow so it's up for grabs (784.4973, N739).

At the end is a discography of important alternative country albums. Here's part of the list:

Roy Acuff, The Essential Roy Acuff 1936-1949 (Columbia)

Dave Alvin, Blue Blvd. (High Tone)

Bad Livers, Delusions of Banjer (Quarterstick) (Danny Barnes from this group has played the Narrows)

Chuck Berry, The Great Twenty-Eight (Chess)

Blue Mountain, Dog Days (Roadrunner)

Dock Boggs, Country Blues (Revenant)

Bottle Rockets, 24 Hours A Day (Atlantic)

BR5-49, BR5-49 (Arista)

Richard Buckner, Devotion + Doubt (MCA) (Played the Narrows)

Buffalo Springfield, Again (Atco)

T Bone Burnett, T Bone Burnett (Dot/MCA)

Byrds, Sweetheart of the Rodeo (Columbia/Legacy) (Chris Hillman has played the Narrows a couple times and Roger McGuinn is coming Friday April 15)

Carter Family, Anchored in Love: Complete Victor Recordings 1927-1928 (Rounder)

Johnny Cash, The Essential Johnny Cash 1955-1983 (Columbia/Legacy)

Rosanne Cash, King's Record Shop (Sony)

Ray Charles, Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music (Rhino)

Guy Clark, Keepers (Sugar Hill) (Coming for 2nd appearance on Friday March 4)

Patsy Cline, The Patsy Cline Story (MCA)

Cowboy Junkies, The Trinity Session (RCA)

Creedence Clearwater Revival, Chronicle: The 20 Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 (Fantasy)

Those are the first 20 listed. Jumping around the list a bit for artists who have played the Narrows but weren't in the top 20:

Silos, Cuba (Watermelon)

Jason & the Scorchers, Fervor EP (Mammoth). (Jason Ringenberg of this group played the Narrows)

Mekons, Original Sin (Twin/Tone). (Jon Langford of the Mekons has performed at the Narrows)

Wilco, Being There (Reprise) (Jay Bennett, who played on that record but is no longer in Wilco, has played the Narrows a couple times)

Flying Burrito Brothers, Farther Along: The Best of the Flying Burrito Brothers (A&M) (Chris Hillman was a member)

Woody Guthrie, Dust Bowl Ballads (Rounder) (Woody's grand-daughter Sarah Lee Guthrie has played the Narrows)

Grateful Dead, Workingman's Dead (Warner) (In April we'll be featuring the art of Jerry Garcia, including rare original drawings. Also, the Grateful Dead's Vince Welnick (keyboardist in the 1990s until Jerry's death) is coming to the Narrows on Sunday, March 6)

Bob Dylan and The Band, The Basement Tapes (Columbia) (A member of Ollabelle, Amy Helm, is the daughter of Levon Helm of The Band. Amy and the rest of Ollabelle are coming for their third visit on Friday, March 18. I should mention that Professor Louie, of Professor Louie and the Cromatix (coming for another visit on Saturday, April 30) has been a producer for The Band. And Jim Weider (coming for his 2nd visit Saturday, April 16) has been The Band's guitar player, replacing Robbie Robertson.)


Written by the ever-lowly Steve the Emcee

Thursday, February 10, 2005

It's Young. It's Hip. It's Sexy. It's Old.

The Boston Globe recently published a great article by Scott Alarik about a music scene that is very much evident at the Narrows. Some call it old-timey; others call it roots.

No matter. It's young. It's hip. It's sexy. It's old.

Groups like Ollabelle (coming for their third appearance on Friday, March 18), the Duhks (who recently tore down the house at the Narrows) and the Mammals (who played the Narrows awhile back) are at the heart of the scene.

Here's a condensed version of the article, which you can read in its entirety at at least for a little while longer.

By Scott Alarik, Globe Correspondent February 6, 2005

CAMBRIDGE -- ''Everybody on the West Coast is calling old-time music the new punk," says Crooked Jades singer-guitarist Jeff Kazor...

...Old time is enjoying a tremendous national revival, partly due to smart young bands like the Crooked Jades, Ollabelle, the Duhks, the Reeltime Travelers, Uncle Earl, the Mammals, and Boston's own Crooked Still. But even more, it's hot because it has existed almost entirely underground for years, preserved as a fun-loving social music, with a fiercely anti-commercial, anti-star vibe that pop-weary young people are eating up with an oaken spoon...

...How popular is old time getting? There's no better barometer than banjo sales. Since 2000, Deering Banjos, the country's most respected banjo maker, has enjoyed a 30 percent sales increase -- every year. According to CEO Janet Deering, the floodgates burst open that year due to the old-timey soundtrack to ''O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

But that just tapped a wave that was already rising. In 1997, the company introduced its Goodtime model, an affordable, portable banjo designed especially for the bouncy clawhammer style of old-time music and marketed to amateur jammers. It immediately became Deering's best-selling model and now accounts for fully one-third of its product sales...

...Originally, old-time music was simply the term Southerners used to describe their traditional music, the songs and instrumental tunes passed down through generations. In its modern incarnation, it shares much with bluegrass, since both spring from the same soil. But old time generally has a more spacious, ''take-off-your-boots-and-set-a-spell" feel to it. If bluegrass stands on its toes, old time sits back on its heels.

A lot of the scene's young players literally grew up in the music, learning it at fiddle camps and festival parking-lot jams. Local fiddler Laura Cortese, who plays in a lighthearted old-time band called the Jolly Bankers, cut her teeth at Scottish fiddle camps, but was drawn to old time because it was so American, and so was she. She now displays a fluid mastery of both styles.

''Old time is very groove-focused and not so notey as some other traditional styles," she says. ''So if you can feel the music, even if your fingers can't move real fast, you can totally have something to offer in a jam. No matter what old-time session I've been at, it didn't matter how good you were; you were sitting in the same circle, all grooving together."

The Foghorn String Band is the pied piper of a burgeoning old-time revival in Portland, Ore. All but one member grew up in families where folk was played socially, and they wear the music like a second skin. And yes, they take their name from the Dixie-spouting cartoon rooster Foghorn Leghorn.

''I think old-time music is seen almost like a craft," says Foghorn mandolinist Caleb Klauder. ''You're not up there performing, being a rock star; it's something everybody's doing together, that's the huge beauty of it. It isn't anybody's music; it's everybody's."

That aesthetic is deeply ingrained in the modern culture of the music. After the '60s folk revival waned, old-time devotees determined to preserve it by rejecting the music business, focusing instead on creating a new folk culture for the old music.

Fiddler Jay Ungar is a perfect example. A veteran of the '60s rock band Cat Mother and the All-Night Newsboys, he moved to upstate New York in the early '70s, helped create ongoing folk dances, and looked for fun ways to get kids interested in the music. That led to the creation of the popular Fiddle and Dance camps at Ashokan, N.Y.

His daughter Ruth Ungar is now in the vanguard of the old-time revival, fiddling with the street-smart, folk-sweet band the Mammals.

''Old time was sort of a separatist movement, as was the folk-dance revival, identified with the back-to-the-land migrations of post-'60s culture," Jay Ungar says. ''We were out to create a community with its own culture, and to make this our folk music.

''We raised children in that community, and now they want to keep it going, which is wonderful beyond belief. Many of us joked at the time that our kids would probably grow up to be bankers and lawyers, because we sure rebelled against our parents' culture." ...

© Copyright 2005 Globe Newspaper Company.

Put together by Steve the very humbe Emcee at the Narrows

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Who Was Sister Rosetta Tharpe?

As you may have heard, on Saturday, March 26, the Narrows is presenting a tribute to Sister Rosetta Tharpe, starring Odetta, the Holmes Brothers, and Marie Knight. The event is so big that it will be held at the Jackson Arts Center at Bristol Community College, just off of Route 24 in Fall River.

But, who was Sister Rosetta Tharpe? Well, according to this website, she was Johnny Cash's favorite singer:

This one talks about how she so outraged her core audience when she started making secular music, that she stayed in Europe waiting for the controversy to die down:

This link talks about how she was a pioneering guitar player:

Here's a link to a pretty good picture of her with her guitar:

If you like to test your knowledge of French, here's some info about her in that language:

See you at the show!
Written by Steve the Emcee

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Friends in High Places

You may have seen a young man open a number of shows at the Narrows named JJ Baron. Most recently, he opened for Catie Curtis and he's slated to open for Guy Clark in March.

We think JJ is one of the best things to happen to music in these parts in awhile.

We spotted him at an open mike at the Narrows playing blues songs like he was born on he Delta. Who is this guy? (Really a kid. What is he, 21?)

Since then, JJ has worked real hard, writing songs, doing some touring, building his audience and his career. At one point he was talking about moving South, but apparently has put those plans on hold.

Along the way, he's developed admirers like Slaid Cleaves. Which, no doubt, has enabled him to put together a CD featuring Slaid, Bela Fleck, Jim Weider (formerly of The Band), Buddy Cage, and another local fave, Ryan Fitzsimmons. Currently the CD is being wrapped up, but JJ has posted some stuff on his website:

While it's great to have well known admirers, in the end it's all about the music. And we're pleased to say that JJ delivers. Oh, and it doesn't hurt that females we've spoken with find him "cute."

See JJ Baron opening for Guy Clark. And save up your nickels so you can buy his new CD!

Written by Steve the Emcee