Monday, December 31, 2007
Sunday, December 30, 2007
One of their devoted followers helped out with this one, bringing the spirit of the "mulleted-one" onto the stage.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Jeffrey Foucault, below, was the opener.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
He learned the electric blues guitar from Albert Collins while playing drums in his band. John Mayall recruited him for his newly re-formed Bluesbreakers, filling the spot once held by the likes of Eric Clapton and Mick Taylor. "In a world of blues guitar pretenders, Coco Montoya is the real McCoy. Be prepared to get scorched," says Billboard. http://www.cocomontoya.com/.
A jazz and blues singer, the Village Voice has called her "incredibly talented and classy." Talk about a solid foundation: Her dad was Louis Armstrong's music director; her mom is a bassist and singer who has performed with Mary Lou Williams and Wynton Marsalis. To give you a better feel for her work, here are some of her gigs before playing the Narrows: the Panama Jazz Festival (Republic of Panama, where her dad was born); opening for the Levon Helm Band in Woodstock; several dates as part of the American Beauty Project, a tribute to the Grateful Dead, featuring Ollabelle and Jim Lauderdale; and a performance for the Mountain Stage Radio Show. Her new album was recorded at the Levon Helms Studios in Woodstock and will be released shortly before she plays the Narrows. http://www.catherinerussell.net/.
$18 , $20
She's a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and VH1's Greatest Women of Rock and Roll. She was a member of the Staple Singers, who had two #1 singles, "I'll Take You There" and "Let's Do It Again." During the 1960s the group was the spiritual and musical voice of the civil rights movement, and were closely associated with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Over the years, Ms. Staples has worked as a solo performer, recording her own albums and working with Bob Dylan (a Grammy nomination for her duet with him on the song "Gotta Change My Way of Thinking"), Prince, The Band, Ray Charles, Delbert McClinton, Natalie Merchant, George Jones, and others. Whew!! http://www.mavisstaples.com/.
1) Lucinda Williams, West
2) Ryan Adams, Easy Tiger
3) Kelly Willis, Translated From Love
4) Son Volt, The Search
5) Patty Griffin, Children Running Through
6) Marty Stuart, Compadres: An Anthology of Duets
7) Jay Boy Adams, The Shoe Box
8) Joe Ely, Happy Songs From Rattlesnake Gulch
9) Subdudes, Street Symphony
10) Gurf Morlix, Diamonds To Dust
11) Jimmy LaFave, Cimarron Manifesto
12) Various Artists, Endless Highway The Music Of The Band
13) Greencards, Viridian
14) Adrienne Young, Room To Grow
15) Joan Osborne,Pretty Little Stranger
16) Sarah Borges And The Broken Singles, Diamonds In The Dark
17) Sunny Sweeney, Heartbreakers Hall Of Fame
18) Steve Earle, Washington Square Serenade
19) Old Crow Medicine Show, Big Iron World
20) Doug Spartz, The One Who's Leavin'
Monday, December 24, 2007
As mentioned earlier on this blog, Lori McKenna got album of the year for "Unglamorous." That was in the major label category.
Best local male vocalist was a guy we hosted just once, if I'm not mistaken: Ryan Montbleau.
Did I mention Sarah Borges received the best local female vocalist?
Our guy Chris Smither received the outstanding folk act of the year award and Josh Ritter received the outstanding singer/songwriter of the year award.
The complete list can be found here.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
The CDs don't have to be by artists who have played the Narrows, though some may be.
For example, one of my favorites is Bruce Springsteen's latest "Magic." I'm not wild about the production, but it sure is a nice kick-in-your-face presentation. Great songs, great playing. The compression, or whatever you call it, is too squashed for these furry ears.
I kinda like the Eagles' latest, though as time goes on I'm not so sure. Not as interesting to me at least.
The Holmes Brothers' "State of Grace" CD was certainly a highlight, as they transformed Cheap Trick's lecherous "I Want You to Want Me" into a gospel number (!!), and interpreted tunes from folks like John Fogarty ("Bad Moon Rising") and Nick Lowe ("What So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding"). Rollingstone.com particulary took note of the Cheap Trick cover.
Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles released "Diamonds in the Dark" in 2007. "Open Up Your Backdoor," a fun, audience-participation song during their concerts, is one of the best tracks, but garage-bandy "Stop and Think It Over" is the hit for your humble Backstage Blogger, an unabashed Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles fan. It was the major label (Sugar Hill) debut for Sarah and the fellows.
Narrows alum--and now would-be country star with the help of Faith Hill and Tim McGraw--Lori McKenna put out a compelling record called "Unglamorous" in 2007 on Warner Brothers. Not sure if it made her a C & W star at this point (though she won "Album of the Year" in the Boston Music Awards), but still an excellent outing and worth a listen. She knows how to write a tune! As you may know, she lives up in Stoughton, MA with her husband Gene and five kids. We have hosted her only once, if memory serves, a few years back. Nice woman and a great talent.
Although the record came out in 2006, let's give a tip-0f-the-hat to Cassandre McKinley, a Boston-based jazz chanteuse, for her "Til Tomorrow" CD, a tribute to Marvin Gaye. Her website isn't up and running, but here's a link to a review of her recording. Cassandre played the 2007 Narrows Festival of the Arts, and your blogger never listened to "Til Tomorrow" until 2007. By the way, her cover of the Beatles "Yesterday" (which apparently Marvin Gaye recorded as well) is worth the price of admission. Her partnership with Brad Hatfield (she and Brad did the arrangements, and Brad plays keyboards on the record) works well, and your Backstage Blogger hopes it continues.
Americanaroots.com, for which your blogger used to write reviews, has polled its writers for their Top Ten. See their stuff here. Some of the Narrows alums making their lists are Eilen Jewell, the Avett Brothers, Mary Gauthier, Uncle Earl, Grace Potter, John Gorka and Jim Lauderdale.
Leave your fave CD list in the comments section.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
(Your humble Backstage Blogger doesn't know how tickets are going, but chances are getting entrance should be no problemo for this show. Visit http://www.ncfta.org/)
These young guys are absolutely brilliant players and know how to entertain as well. But because they're young they're still in the audience-building phase, which is why I urge that you take the time to learn more about them and consider coming to the show. Your humble Backstage Blogger has proclaimed this show a "lock"--using a sports term indicating a sure thing.
Don't just look at the schedule and say "don't know 'em" and move on. If you dig the David Grisman jazz/bluegrass thing (he's a fan of theirs, btw) then you are almost required to learn more. These are your guys.
But your humble blogger must point out that these guys are SONG GUYS. Some great instrumentalists are so into riffing that they (to kinda quote Chuck Berry), they lose the beauty of the melody. Not Old School Freight Train.
Okay, enough blathering from yours truly. Check out this write up on jambase.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
You've heard of Craig's List? It's time for Ben's List for 2007.
Ben Norton, still in grade school, is one of the youngest volunteers at the Narrows. Nonetheless, since he's been growing up at the Narrows, his musical sophistication is well beyond his years.
Without further ado, here's the word from Ben:
In no particular order!
Rasputina--Gothic but rockin'.
Sarah Borges and Broken Singles--Good as usual.
Drunk Stuntmen--Drunk as usual (Note from your Backstage Blogger: Ben is just goofing here. At least I think he is!)
Old School Freight Train--Cool cats.
Tripping Lily--Local but good! (Note from your Backstage Blogger: Ben is apparently cleverly alluding to the misconception that if you're local, you can't be good--which as we all know, including Ben, is not true.)
New Riders of the Purple Sage--Good show.
Holmes Brothers--Poppy is funny! Shout out to him. (Note from your Backstage Blogger: Hey Poppy! We're shoutin' out to you!)
The John Cowan Band--Great musicians.
Buckwheat Zydeco--He has cool alligator shoes.
l also liked: Henry Butler
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Gonzo dude Hunter Thompson and folklore guy Studs Terkel wrote liner notes for some of her albums. As part of its Beat Generation Archives, the University of California set up a Rosalie Sorrels Archive. Etc. etc. etc. She's a folk icon and we're truly honored to have her perform. Don't know her? Check out her website and meet her--and learn a bit about America too: http://www.rosaliesorrels.com/.
We first met her as an opening act; now her music is popular on Americana radio stations across the USA. She's gotta a kinda lazy, sexy, western swingy kind of voice and a cookin' band. And she knows how to write a tune. Give a listen to this young woman! http://www.eilenjewell.com/.
The Boston Globe's Steve Morse described Entrain as "like a lively summit conference between the Dave Matthews Band and Little Feat.” Says it all. http://www.entrain.com/.
A strange name, perhaps, but these are serious young musicians who are classically trained, and play all sorts of guitars, banjo and mandolin to make what has been called a folk/pop/bluegrass sound. http://www.girlyman.com/.
Yes, he's the "Romeo's Tune" guy. But his career has been much more than that, as those who have seen him previously at the Narrows know firsthand. We particularly dig his version of the Kinks' "Star Struck." http://www.steveforbert.com/.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
A very generous collector donated a bunch of these bad boys to the cause, and you can help yourself and the Narrows by making a bid.
We're featuring just a few of the guitars on this blog. There are many more. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want more info.
Narrows president Patrick Norton shows off a Tom Anderson Atom valued at $2,200+.
He's sitting below a visual art piece by Richie Havens on display in the Narrows' Gallery
Deb Charlebois, queen of the numbers at the Narrows, cradles a USA Parker Fly Mojo worth $1,500+
Monday, December 10, 2007
Alison Brown and Joe Craven coordinate their sound Saturday night at the Narrows
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Narrows prez and chief bottlewasher Patrick Norton and Richie Havens just after the show
Saturday, December 08, 2007
But, actually your humble Backstage Blogger is writing to provide further information about a story that Mr. Havens told last night (and I believe has told before; so this may make sense if you've ever seen Richie in concert).
Richie talks about a guy on "muscle beach" in California on his back playing one note on his guitar over and over again. Some guy goes up to him and says something to the effect "Hey man, why are you playing the same note over and over and over again. Can't you play something else?" To which the guy with the guitar replies that "there are a lot of guys on this beach looking for that note."
The guy Richie is talking about is the writer of "Get Together" (a big hit in 1969 for the Youngbloods). His name was Dino Valente. To find out more about him, click here.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
So, perhaps it would be fun to start listing what you think were the top concerts at the Narrows for 2007. Of course, if you only went to a couple shows, that's kind of tough. But we want to hear from you! My thoughts:
--The Karla Bonoff show, for me, was one of the best ever. And meeting producer/sideguy Kenny Edwards was a personal thrill. Karla's songs and performance were solid, and she had an interesting sense of humor, too.
--The Kim Wilson, Charlie Musselwhite show was another thrill , particularly when J.Geils' guy Magic Dick showed up.--The John Cowan Band show was also one of the best of the year, although folks may not know who he is. Get to know him!
--I love the Holmes Brothers. Their most recent CD was groundbreaking, as they did a "gospel" version of Cheap Trick's "I Want You to Want Me." They got some notice on rollingstone.com for this, which was nice.
--Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles continued to surpass expectations. They're just a fun band to watch. They released their first CD on major label Sugar Hill Records, which was cool. They're still "working" the record as we speak. I wouldn't be surprised if they head back into the studio in 2008.
--Did we have the Drunk Stuntmen in 2007? If we did, their show was certainly one of the best. Great energy, songwriting, arrangements, harmonies, musicianship. Always a "lock" for the Backstage Blogger.
--And let's not forget Eilen Jewell either. She continues to grow in popularity across the country. I wouldn't be surprised if she goes back into the studio, or gets signed by Sugar Hill or somebody.
Some of the best news at the Narrows was the soon-to-be-completed installation of an elevator (yaaay), and the guitar auction, which is going on right now. Visit www.ncfta.org for more info on that.
Leave your favorites and your thoughts in the comments section.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Btw, some inside stuff: We almost had to delay the show because we had to call in a piano guy to fix a something-or-other. But the job got done during the break.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Will you be there?
Last I checked, tickets were still available. More info at http://www.ncfta.org/.
In celebration of the return of the wonderful Mr. Havens, we interviewed him about his art, his music, his life.
How does one produce digital art, and how did you become interested in it?
Digital art has been legitimized by the international art world and gives rise to thousands of stylistic approaches to modern artists... The computer as the palate allows many young artists to express themselves in conventional and unconventional ways...The Wacom pen tablet allows one to use a digital stylus to draw with a pencil or a paintbrush/palate knife, etc., directly onto digital surfaces to be printed on canvas, art papers or fabrics. I was fascinated by the different mediums available to me that allowed me to experiment.
As an artist, how does it differ from your painting and sculpting?
I am able to use different programs to prepare and create models so much faster for sculptures I have always wanted to do. As far as painting goes I am able to work with interactive color.
Let's talk music...who are the backing musicians you'll be bringing with you this visit, and how do you feel they add to your sound?
I am traveling with a cellist and a guitarist... 3 of us ... who are in themselves incredible musicians...who are what I call "feelers"... I only know the first two songs I am going to sing and they are able to use their senses to figure out what's coming...Between us we create an organic atmosphere song by song.
You do a cover of the Gary Wright song "Love is Alive," which was a follow up to his hit "Dream Weaver." Why did you choose this song?
I didn't choose. "Love is Alive" was a song I have wanted to do since it came out... It chose me... Any song that stopped me in my tracks was a song I responded to by learning it and sharing it immediately with the audiences I sing to... Those songs educated me on many levels...
You seem to be a very positive individual. Were you always this way, or is it something you developed over the years?
I was always that way, because I was under the impression that we all are a part of the "Great Becoming".. which meant, we are living in the ongoing history of the world we live in...Nothing is finished; we are in the throes of creating this world... Everything man has ever witnessed was a "FIRST"... and we are creating more firsts every day.
What are your future musical and artistic plans?
I feel that I too am in the world of "FIRSTS," so the songs I sing will always reflect the "The Ongoing" and allow me to chronicalize our human story... forever :)
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Narrows alum Tim O'Brien is the latest cover guy for Dirty Linen magazine. To read an excerpt from the article, click here.
That's Tim, on the foreground right, playing the Narrows in January 2006. On the left is the legendary Danny Barnes.
Monday, November 26, 2007
The following Narrows alums are either on the chart or are just bubbling under:
Chip Taylor and Carrie Rodriguez
Red Stick Ramblers
Jim Lauderdale (read a review of the recording on americanaroots.com by clicking here)
Duncan Earl Walters
Did I miss anybody?
Some of those and Narrows alum Lori McKenna are on this chart from americanaroots.com.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles rip this joint
The "joy" is always there. It's a blessing. Tough to hold on to if you take it lightly. I try to not make it "work" which this business of being a traveling musician can quickly become. Therefore I take less gigs so that the ones I do play, I can give 1000% to the audience and to the music. I can't give any less...it's the way I'm built.
What recordings are you listening to these days? Any recommendations?
I like listening to the artists I grew up with. All the old blues and rock records are still fresh to me. I like people like Mose Allison and Tony Joe White and Dion and so forth. Older artists that still make great new music. I've been also listening to The Smiths lately which will tell you just how crazy my tastes are!
How about your recording plans?
I'm currently recording my next solo acoustic CD tentatively entitled "Out Of The Blue" for release next May. I have the songs written but now I'm waiting on a special Martin from the Martin factory and also I've been promised a couple of newer Guilds so there will be a guitar shoot out in my studio soon....may the best guitar win.
Solo performing versus playing with a band...any preference? The positives and negatives for each.
I was surprised to hear James Taylor talking of the difficulties of putting on a one man show. I would have thought it was second nature to him. There is a real challenge to standing on stage alone with just an acoustic guitar. I love the challenge. With a band you can relax on stage and just let it happen (if the band is good)...you can't relax just by yourself. Of course on the upside there is a wonderful solitary vibe that goes along with traveling and playing alone which appeals to the Celt in me.
What kind of gear do you use, and why?
I use Gibson guitars because they give me a beefy sound and one that exemplifies the "UK blues sound" that I am apart of. I was also using Marshall amplifiers for the same reason but recently I've switched to a Dailey amplifier that has much the same characteristics as a Marshall but with hand made components etc.
What's your favorite kind of audience...quiet and attentive, or kind of rowdy, shouting out requests, that kind of thing. The Narrows has both, and in-between.
For solo acoustic performances I like an audience that's not too quiet because then I may get too self conscious. Attentive but responsive I suppose is what I mean. As regards the band shows...I don't mind...quiet is good...boogie loud is also good...crazy maniacal is also good!!! Really, with the band, there is nothing better than a loud, ready for the moment audience.
What are your long-term future plans?
I intend to keep being a traveling musician until I'm.......really old. It keeps me healthy and inspired. I also draw and paint every day at home (as well as practice the guitar) so even if I wasn't a professional I would still do those things. More and more I am grateful for the ability and blessing that have made me able to make a living at doing what others consider a hobby.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Opening for Sarah Borges Saturday night is a new face to the Narrows: Danielle Miraglia, out of Boston way.
Your BSB has never seen or heard her, but let's see what others are saying:
Thursday, November 22, 2007
What do you read in terms of music publications? Not necessarily folk/Americana music, but also in general. Here are my thoughts on a few publications and websites. Love to get your thoughts, too.
Rolling Stone--Still the grandaddy of them all in my opinion, and http://www.rollingstone.com/ is pretty good. Of course the magazine is geared for folks younger than the BSB, but it's still a good way to take the pulse of the nation. Plus, for all you political folks, it's as lefty as ever. Not enough coverage of the folk/Americana scene (pretty much none), but we're an elitist group anyway.
No Depression--A folk/Americana magazine that drives the BSB nuts with its refusal to follow standard American punctuation. (Message to No Depression editors: In the USA, the period always goes inside the quotation mark.) Other than that, it's pretty much the bible for the kind of music we feature at the Narrows. The articles are way too long for me though. (Message to No Depression editors: Leave the best and cut the rest.) I like to read the advertisements, too, because they're often about upcoming releases. Great reading for the treadmill!
Dirty Linen--Another folk/Americana magazine. I don't receive this in the mail at this time, but I used to read it every now and then after purchasing it at the newstand. Pretty good, but No Depression is better. Update 11/23/07: Disclosure: Dirty Linen once gave me a positive review for a CD I co-produced and had a track on.
Blender--This is a guilty pleasure. It doesn't look like it would be a good magazine for us elitists, but it has more coverage of stuff we're interested in than you might imagine. Yes, yes lot's of hip-hop, but also indie rock, which is not far from folk/Americana. The latest issue has Jay-Z on the cover (I wasn't exactly sure who he is), but also a listing of the 100 greatest indie-rock albums of all time. Hmm, let's see....the #1 album is "Slanted and Enchanted" by Pavement; #7 "The Velvet Underground" by the VU, an album that featured "Pale Blue Eyes"; #21 is "The Modern Lovers" by Massachusetts guy Jonathan Richman & his crew; #30 is Wilco's "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot"; #97 is "Rock 'n' Roll" from Narrows alums The Mekons; you get the picture. Overall a fun magazine, unless you're so elitist that only something sanctioned by NPR will do.
npr.org/music--This site does the sanctioning. Great cross-section of musical genres. I don't read this enough. Maybe I'll make a vow in the New Year to do so. Currently features an interview with Narrows alum Eric Anderson.
Revolver--okay, this is a metal magazine that has an approach way below my personal standards. But--if you have any interest in the metal scene, this is pretty good. It has surprisingly good interviews mixed in with the stupid stuff. And its CD reviews are interesting. If your life is way too serious, this may be the magazine for you! I think it's fun to read about various musical genres, and this is my way of staying in touch with metal. Now, I just need to get magazines on jazz, classical and hip-hop and I'll be all set!
folkalley.com--An online magazine I check regularly. Not enough content, but it's quality stuff worth a look every week. Made to order for the Narrows' audience.
mog.com--Sort of like Blender, except on-line. A musician in one of the groups playing the Narrows made me aware of this site. Worth a visit every couple days. Occasional coverage of folk/Americana artists.
pastemagazine.com--I became aware of this after it was referred to by Narrows alum Sarah Borges (Sarah is playing the Narrows Saturday night). Haven't spent much time on this site, but it looks like a nice mixture of music genres. I should read this more often.
aolmusic.com--I rarely look at, but a friend says it's a quick way to follow the music trends, if you care. I do care, so I'm going to look at this one more.
americanaroots.com--I've written many reviews for this site, so I'm partial. It's the most ambitious on-line Americana magazine that I've found, featuring podcasts, reviews and interviews. It comes out of San Antonio, Texas so it seems to have a slant for the Lone Star State at times, but that's fine with me. When I wrote for it, I provided a Northerner viewpoint. They're constantly revamping the site, trying to make it better, so if you haven't visited in awhile you'll notice a different look. Their reviewers are all volunteers, by the way, so they may be looking for somebody who can write who digs the music.
radioandrecords.com--One of the important magazines for the world of radio. It does have sections about Americana and Triple A (Triple A is the format for WBOS in Boston; open to folkie/Americana stuff, but not really hardcore).
americanaradio.org--A weekly chart about who's getting the airplay in the folk/Americana scene. These are the Narrows' folks! Btw, according to musicians I've spoken with, being successful on this chart doesn't mean you can afford to buy a new car.
wumb.org--This is for Boston's WUMB radio, an important station to us folks at the Narrows. You must visit this site! I even set up a link (I'm too lazy to do this for every entry). I particularly like to read the playlist archives to see which Narrows' artist is getting the most airplay.
fmqb.com--Another important radio publication that is worth checking out, particularly to learn about new releases. Doesn't really cover folk/Americana but does venture into this territory in its writing about the Triple A format.
billboard.com--Still critical for those of us who care about charts. Its charts are based on sales, so it's a good way to take the pulse of the nation. The Eagles and Led Zeppelin are in the top ten in terms of album sales this week, btw. All is not lost! Now if we could only get Tim O'Brien, Sarah Borges, Eilen Jewell, Richie Haven and other Narrows' alums on the chart, then the world would be a much kinder place!
Did I miss anything? Please leave your suggestions in the comments area.
Happy T-Day. Hope to see you Friday night at the Tony Trischka show.
Update 11/23/07: I ran into a guy who suggested pitchforkmedia.com and expectingrain.com.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
The celebrated Josh Ritter, as you probably guessed, is a Narrows alum.
Without further ado, here's the concert review.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
A couple of the Greencards up top, and pretty much all of Tripping Lily down below.
Monday, November 19, 2007
She's played the Narrows a time or two but is not on our current schedule.
Of course that changes all the time.
For all you oldies fans, her dad Terry wrote "Greenfields," which I think was a hit for the Brothers 4 or somebody. He also wrote "The Bare Necessities" for Disney.
Anyway, the feature on Eliza is here.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Here we go:
- The guitar auction benefiting the Narrows should begin on Wednesday on Ebay. A wonderful benefactor has donated many beautiful guitars for this auction, which is likely already creating a buzzzzzz among guitar aficionados. If you've attended a Narrows' concert recently you may have picked up the flyer so you can purchase a guitar at the minimum bid price. Keep an eye on http://www.ncfta.org/, the Narrows website, for more information over the next 48 hours or so.
- While your BSB missed the Friday night show with Donna Jean, formerly of the Dead, I did emcee the Greencards' show on Saturday night. Good crowd showed for the first-time appearance of this highly acclaimed Aussie/Brit roots ensemble. The opener was a Cape Cod group of youngsters called Tripping Lily, who charmed the audience with their songs and personalities. Both the Greencards and Tripping Lily look to be folks in their twenties, more or less. It's great to see that today's roots movement is being driven by young musicians (Think of Ollabelle, Uncle Earl, the Mammals--all kids in the eyes of your BSB).
- But the old guys (and women) get the job done too. Tony Trischka, coming to the Narrows on Friday, has a terrific new CD out this year. Your humble BSB has toiled at his real job with "Tony Trischka's Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular" on the CD player a time or two. Very tasty stuff. Your BSB believes one doesn't have to be a bluegrass fan to dig it.
- Parking for a visit to the Narrows is usually not a big deal. It was a bit challenging on Saturday night because--we hear from a reliable source--that our friends at the Battleship Massachusetts held a sleep-over on the Battleship for youngsters.
- Don't forget the elevator fund. Last I checked we raised about $15,000 for the $40,000 last-stage-of-the-project. Go to http://www.ncfta.org/ for more info.
- New suggestion: If you bring it in, please take it with you. A member of the audience suggested this awhile ago. If you bring bottles etc. to the Narrows, kindly take them with you for final disposal. You don't have to--we have trash barrels etc. But, remember, clean up (and everything else except for the music and art) is performed by volunteers.
- Our buddies Louie Leeman and Cheap Sneakers are opening for Savoy Brown in the final hours of November. Make sure you arrive early enough to catch Louie and the crew. Solid musicians who know how to entertain. Special salute to the group for helping your BSB at a charitable event put on by the Providence Rotary back in September.
- From our "Would Hank Have Done It This Way?" Department--Bob Dylan, Jack White and others have put music behind Hank Williams Sr. lyric sheets that may have been with the Hankster when the 29-year-old "stepped on a rainbow" (as Kinky Friedman would put it) more or less on January 1, 1953 in the back of a Caddy. More info from Paste magazine.
- Nice to see Kinky on Robert McNeil's "Do You Speak American?" on PBS. Kinky was on a segment about talk deep in the heart of Texas. Btw, I notice some people call Robert "Robin." Anybody know what's up with that?
- A belated farewell to Porter Wagoner, who died recently. He never got the respect he deserved from us hipsters until the very end of his life. We elites embraced his last CD which came out earlier this year. Your BSB has yet to get an earful, though. It's called "Wagonmaster." When your humble BSB was growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio, Mr. Wagoner's show used to come on to the TV. We, of course, got up from our chairs and changed the channel. Mostly because he dressed in rhinestone outfits and slicked his hair back in a rather odd way to our eyes. Porter, btw, helped make Dolly Parton a star.
- Speaking of opening acts, don't miss Mark T. Small opening for Johnny Winter in January at the Narrows. He puts on an energetic show and is very swift with his fingers on the fretboard.
- Wanna work off the turkey and stuffings? Come to the Sarah Borges show Saturday after T-Day. An energetic time is guaranteed for all!
That's it for now. Hope to post some photos from the Greencards show soon.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Sunday, November 11, 2007
It was a packed house, maybe a sell-out, which we were surprised at since the group really hadn't worked the area much, other than playing at Summerfest in New Bedford a couple years back.
But Crooked Still showed why a lot of the crowd was willing to travel from Boston--some even attending the group's show the preceding night in Beantown--to hear them play.
They were charming, funny and experts at their instruments. Most of all the evening was just good-old-fashioned entertainment, roots-music style.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
This show is a lock! Guaranteed to warm up a January evening. Violinist Elana was in the fabled string jazz group "Hot Club for Cowtown" that played the Narrows and toured with Dylan. Is it folk? Is it jazz? Is it Western Swing? The answer is: yes, all those and more. www.elanajames.com.
USA Today says "LaVette's chill-inducing performance is without question one of the finest you'll hear all year." She's recognized as one of the finest soul singers. Learn more by going to her website: www.bettyelavette.com. By the way, we've spelled her first name correctly. It is Bettye.
Roots of Creation
Jam banders unafraid to let their freak flag fly as they boogie through all sorts of funky rhythms. Every time we have these folks in, we love them even more. www.rootsofcreation.com.
New Riders of the Purple Sage
A seminal country rock band that used to be a Jerry Garcia side-project. Get your tickets early for these psychedelic space cowboys! www.nrpsmusic.com.
A musician on one of her albums, Jay Bennett, has performed at the Narrows. He used to be in Wilco.
More on Ms. Crow's stuff here.
Friday, November 09, 2007
The word is there was a death in her family.
Our condolences to her and her family. We look forward to seeing her December 1.
For more info regarding tickets, please visit www.ncfta.org.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Monday, November 05, 2007
Interesting life, interesting career. Tragic end.
More here from Newsday.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
To see the write up by the Guthrie folks go here.
To read a review that is somewhat critical of the release, click here.
In short, it means folks traveling 95N to 195E to, of course, the Narrows from south of downtown Providence will be shaving some time from their trip.
Your humble blogger traveled the new ramp and bridge today to get a firsthand look.
Currently, it's only for the eastbound hookup to route 195.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
British folk-rock guru Richard Thompson was so impressed by this Welsh folk-jazz chanteuse and songwriter that he invited her to perform on his tour, “1000 Years of Popular Music.” She's gotten rave reviews from the New York Times, the Boston Globe and others, and has performed on The Today Show. And she's married to funny guy Harry Shearer, with whom she's performed as well. www.judithowen.net.
The Washington Post calls him "a rock-'n'-soul man in the tradition of Van Morrison and Southside Johnny but with a twist: Lindell has spent the past seven years in New Orleans." Learn more at
If you've followed the bluegrass scene over the past 30 years, you've heard of this group, which has received widespread recognition across the nation--even recording with Alison Krauss and Peter Rowan! Learn their history and who's in their latest version by visiting their website www.northernlightsband.com.
Friday, November 02, 2007
Anyway, there are a bunch of categories, including metal (your humble blogger digs Killswitch Engage), and YOU can vote.
We, of course, urge you to support Sarah and her crew, The Slip and Lori McKenna (one of the good folks who has worked many years for her success).
Don't know why Narrows-most-recent-discovery Eilen Jewell wasn't nominated, since her latest CD did extremely well on the national Americana chart.
For more click here.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
If you enjoy the Eagles laid back, kinda out-in-the-desert sound, this CD won't disappoint. Trademark harmonies and a country rock feel abound.
Read more from Rolling Stone here.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
These guys are graduates of Robert Fripp's League of Crafty Guitarists (coming this Friday), and showed that they must have graduated with "straight A's" as they wowed the crowd with intricate melodies and complex musical interplay among the three guitarists.
Above is a photo of them closing the show with a beautiful instrumental version of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody."
If you missed this show, be sure to catch them the next time--especially if you have any interest in fine guitar work.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Proceeds will benefit the Narrows, of course.
Minimum bids range from $300 to $7,500, according to info provided today to your humble blogger.
Guitars were generously provided by Matthew Brown, a guitar collector living in Europe.
Monday, October 22, 2007
He's also known by we folkie/Americana types for fostering the career of Dolly Parton, who--despite her "over the top" image--is a talented songwriter and musician now celebrated in the folk/Americana community.
For more info on this story, click here.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Escovedo's acclaimed 7th album, The Boxing Mirror (produced by Velvet Underground guy John Cale, who has produced Patti Smith, Jonathan Richman and others) finds the artist mixing rock 'n' roll, pop-rock, Mexican-American and more as the songs trace his recovery from severe illness. Rolling Stone critic David Fricke has asked "What does it take to make this man a star?" He's already that for many of us. Visit http://www.alejandroescovedo.com/.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
Friday March 28
He lives in Italy, but much of his musical heart lies in the USA, where many of his influences--including Narrows alums Leo Kottke and Tony Rice--call home. He also cites Gypsy jazz guitar icon Django Reinhardt as an influence and often collaborates with Dawg music great David Grisman. This is a must show for serious students of the guitar. Hear what he sounds like by visiting his myspace page. Also, visit beppegambetta.com.
He's a huge presence on the Americana/folk scene as a performer and a songwriter (Willie Nelson, Carlos Santana, Shawn Colvin and Mary Chapin Carpenter have covered his songs), and is likely to sell out the Narrows again. Get your tickets early for this one. http://www.gregbrown.org/.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
(As noted in an earlier entry in this blog, your humble blogger is a big fan of Mr. Edwards--to the point when I was introduced to the multi-instrumentalist-producer-former Stone Poney before the show I showed uncharacteristic enthusiasm, like a "fan." This apparently was unnerving to witnesses, according to other Narrows' volunteers. Your humble blogger pledges never to show an emotional crack in his professional music armor ever again.) BTW--for more info on the Stone Poneys, click here.
Your humble blogger did not have one single Springsteen CD (Wait a minute--I might have the Seeger Sessions CD; can't remember) in his collection, until he heard the first single off of the "Magic" CD, called "Radio Nowhere." Since your humble blogger has had too many years behind a radio microphone not to take notice of a song with the word "radio" in there, he went and purchased it (with a Newberry Comics' coupon, for under 11 bucks). I'm also a big fan of Little Steven, who, with the other E Streeters, has rejoined Bruce for the recording and a tour.
Other than the fact that the CD is a bit too bassy (part of the way Bruce gets that immense "Wall of Sound" anthemic quality to his stuff), it's fun, interesting and clearly showing a guy at the height of his powers.
As for its political commentary, you can read about that here if you'd like. Yeah, yeah, I agree with all the sentiments on the record--but the world according to Bruce is of less interest to me than whether the record is--as a sum of all its parts--worth my time.
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Didn't you ever read the credits on a Linda Ronstadt album? He helped found The Stone Ponys, baby (Remember "Different Drum?") with Linda. He'd done much more over the years, of course.
Check him out here.
Monday, October 01, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
The University of Massachusetts already has one graduate and one undergraduate course that focus on Grateful Dead, and now the school will take it a step further with a university conference on the enduring legacy of the Dead experience.Unbroken Chain: The Grateful Dead in Music, Culture and Memory will be held from November 16 to 18 at UMass Amherst and will bring together more than 50 presenters for 20 panel sessions ranging from music composition and improvisation to an examination of the band’s business model, as well as a musical performances, gallery exhibits, movie screenings and other presentations. Panelists will include “Mountain Girl” Carolyn Garcia, first wife of guitarist Jerry Garcia; David Gans, host of Grateful Dead Radio Hour for the past 20 years; Dead midi wizard Bob Bralove; and Dan Healy, who designed and built the “Wall of Sound,” famed enabler of the Dead’s improvisational style. There also will be a keynote address by Dennis McNally, longtime Dead publicist and author of Long Strange Trip: The Inside History of the Grateful Dead. “The academic world is not as removed from so-called reality as people think, especially those in the academic world,” said McNally. “In the Rock & Roll world, there are pockets of meticulous intelligence and literacy, people like Jerry Garcia and (bassist) Phil Lesh.” The weekend also will include performances by American Beauty Project and Dark Star Orchestra, whose rhythm guitarist Rob Eaton and keyboardist Rob Baracco will take part in several of the panel discussions.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Above, there's Paul Geremia not long after we coaxed him out of the dressing room where he was making sure his 12-string guitar was tuned. He tuned because he cared! Next to him is guitar wunderkind Tony Medeiros, of the Chili Brothers and other collaborations, who sat in a bit with Paul. By the look on Tony's face, what do you think he's thinking? Maybe we should have a caption contest!
Down below is fleet-fingered blues cat Mark T. Small, who gave away his debut CD on Whaling City Sound to everyone who wanted one. It is fab, by the way, and not because it was free!
Above, Richard Shindell proves why he's the "thinking person's" folk musician on Saturday night, with lyrics that make you ponder without being ponderous.