Sunday, March 30, 2008

But Did She See The Zuiderzee?

From hither and yon:

--Narrows discovery Eilen Jewell just returned from a weeklong tour of Holland!  We remember when people couldn't pronounce her name!  Hey Eilen (and her great band), congrats on expanding your influence and for your successful record!  And while all being nice folks, too!  They all head back to Europe in mid-April, playing Spain, Holland, the UK and Ireland.

--Our personal favorite blogger festive living writes to note that there's a fundraiser to benefit New Orleans musicians that you might want to consider.  The Narrows features a lot of New Orleans acts, so we're kind of an outpost up north.  Visit the festive living blog for more info.  And a special tip of the Narrows cap to Lisa and Joe!

--The Drunk Stuntmen, with a new CD, return to the Narrows in June.  Details should be posted on very soon.

--Cheryl Wheeler also returning, except in October.

--Beatle roadie, business manager and close buddy Neil Aspinall died the other day.  The true "fifth Beatle."

--The Phoenix is having its Best Music Poll.  Narrows alums on the ballot: Maryann Rossoni, Zox, Barn Burning, Sasquatch & the Sick-a-Billys, Paul Geremia, Betty LaVette, Richard Thompson, and I think that's it.

--And speaking of polls, we urge you to vote for the Narrows in the RI Monthly Magazine poll.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Narrows in SoCo Magazine

Nice feature on the Narrows in the April issue of SoCo magazine--a new glossy available at the Narrows and many other places in the area.  It's an eye-catching publication.

Great to see Narrows prez Patrick Norton and the Narrows getting their props!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Italian Roots

Roots guitar master Beppe Gambetta, from Italy, charmed the crowd at the Narrows Friday night, making his first appearance ever.

He described himself as a "Led Zeppelin" boy when he was growing up, until he heard his first Doc Watson album.  From there it was roots all the way, including Woody Guthrie, Norman Blake and Leo Kottke.

By the way, not only was he a master of his instrument, he was amusing!  His cover of Guthrie's "Hard Travelin' " in his version of an American accent was funny in a warm, understated way.

If you missed him, hope you'll try to see him next time around.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Beatles Engineer Dies--Signed Pink Floyd

Norman Smith--also known as "Hurricane" Smith--recently died.

He engineered the early Beatles' sessions, and signed Pink Floyd.

He had a hit on his own called "Oh Babe, What Would You Say?"

More here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

WUMB To Brighten Sound

Sounds like WUMB intends to back away a bit from a hardcore folk format.  Details from right here.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Sign We Like

Sign spotted on the streets of Pittsfield, MA on Easter Sunday.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Catherine Russell, Vocalist

One of the strongest vocalists ever to perform at the Narrows, Catherine Russell, turned our former factory floor into a circa 1929 supper club. 

She and her group--a pianist, stand-up bassist and guitarist/banjoist--breathed life into songs performed by the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and--leaping the decades--Jerry Garcia.

Catherine belted out the blues with such passion she could have put aside the microphone.  

If you missed her this time around you might want to pick up her latest CD, Sentimental Streak.

East Meets West at the Narrows

Friday night jazz guitar great Larry Coryell combined his love for jazz and Eastern music (and his wife Tracey) at the Narrows.

That's Larry up above along with Tracey on vocals and tabla guy Aditya Kalyanpur.

Sounds like a serious evening, but Larry's light-hearted approach turned it into a night of excellence in music along with more than a touch of silliness. 

Below Larry and Tracey flank East Providence guitar student John Edward Farley, who, no doubt, was looking to pick up a few tips.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Electric Blues & Tim O'Brien Coming to Narrows

These should be posted at any minute now!

Thursday May 22

Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials--Slide guitar boogie comes to the Narrows straight out of the finest Chicago electric blues tradition. Lil Ed Williams not only plays the blues, but does so while doing flying leaps on the stage along with other moves! The Boston Globe calls Lil' Ed and his group "the world's number one houserocking band."

Thursday July 17 

Walter Trout--It's been too long since electric blues guitar phenom Walter Trout played the Narrows! He's a former member of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers (along with Narrows alum Coco Montoya) but has been doing his own thing with his band for many years.

Saturday November 1 (brrr!)

Tim O'Brien--it's been awhile since Grammy Award winning Tim O'Brien has played the Narrows, though he's graced our stage a bunch of times! You might call what he plays bluegrass, or maybe folk, or, at times, even Celtic. No matter. It's top notch musical creativity from one of the nicest guys ever to perform on our stage.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Master At Work

French guitar master Pierre Bensusan graced the Narrows Saturday night.   Was it classical, folk, jazz, baroque?  The answer is "yes!"

Pierre is a Narrows fave not only for his intricate finger stylin', but for his engaging personality, too.  It might be serious music, but he doesn't take himself too seriously.

Below, Narrows president Patrick Norton chats with Pierre before the show.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Deke Dickerson Returning Later This Year

Your humble blogger is happy to report that come September, hot rod guitarist Deke Dickerson returns to the Narrows.

Deke is one of the most fabbest guitar gods you'll see.  He plays zippin' rockabilly guaranteed to make you grin.

Visit for more details.  The show should be officially posted later this week.

Monday, March 10, 2008

James Cotton Scheduled to be on VH1 Classic Tonight

The word we got is that James Cotton--who did a fab show Friday night at the Narrows--will perform during the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies.  He'll be doing a tribute to Little Walter.

It's supposed to be carried live on VH1 Classic, starting at 8:30 p.m. TONIGHT.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Narrows Alums Backing Joan Baez

Folk chanteuse Joan Baez has a new album coming out soon, with Steve Earle as producer.

Although Mr. Earle hasn't played the Narrows, the album features Narrows alums Tim O'Brien and Darryl Scott, and a song from Narrows alum Eliza Gilkyson.

Details here.

Fingers Flying Saturday Night

Sometimes it's not about speed.  Sometimes it is!

Saturday night at the Narrows, fleet-fingered electric bluesman Coco Montoya gave the testosterone-brimming packed house its money's worth.  It was his debut at the Narrows.

Backed by a tight band consisting of keyboards, drums and bass, Coco also exhibited excellent dynamics--alternating between quiet and commanding, slow and speedy.  Unlike some blues players, he seemed to see songs as songs, rather than as an excuse for a raved-up guitar jam.

No doubt we'll try to bring Coco back again as soon as possible. Below, super volunteer Herb Tracy, left, poses with Coco during the intermission as Herb sold the CDs and Coco signed 'em.  A dynamic duo!

Friday, March 07, 2008

"Angel Eyes" Jeff Healy Dies

This page is really looking like the obits. Sad to note that blind guitarist Jeff Healy died of cancer in Canada recently.

You may remember his song "Angel Eyes," and that he played his guitar in a rather unconventional way.

More here.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

WUMB Making Changes

One of the most important radio stations to Narrows' patrons is, no doubt, WUMB, out of the UMASS Boston campus.

It's been doing a folk format for something like a quarter century.

Change is in the air, but it doesn't look like it should alarm fans too much.

Details here.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

A Good Read

As I battled a bad cold or a mild case of the flu, I finished up reading The Sound of Our Town, written by Brett Milano.

It's about Boston rock & roll, from the 1950s to the present day.  Since I was on the very fringe of the scene in the mid to late 1970s (I was a DJ at Boston College's WZBC, and interviewed several Boston legends (Willie Alexander being one (at least I think I interviewed him; my memory is foggy))), I had a ball reading this.  

If you are unaware of the Boston scene, you still might enjoy the book, since it's a breezy read and mentions some names you may know: Dinosaur Jr.; Kristen Hersh (a Narrows alum); the Mighty Mighty Bosstones; the Dresden Dolls; David Champagne of Narrows alums The Heygoods; Jonathan Richman; the Dropkick Murphys; Boston; and many others.

The author has written for the Boston Phoenix and the Boston Globe.  If you've ever read the Boston Phoenix, you probably recognized his name.  Chances are his writing has been in the Providence Phoenix.