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.