Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Luther "Guitar Jr." Johnson February 11.
Robert Cray February 23.
Ralph Stanley March 5.
Tommy Castro March 19.
Chely Wright March 26.
Neil Innes (remember The Rutles?) May 14.
All the other great performers already scheduled like Judy Collins, Eilen Jewell, Aztec 2-Step, Rodney Crowell and many more.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Hunter, 71 years young, was Mott the Hoople, the glam rock band from the 1970s. Their hits include All the Way from Memphis ("You look like a star but you're really out on parole"), a cover of Lou Reed's Sweet Jane ("Standing on the corner, suitcase in his hand"), and David Bowie's All the Young Dudes, which gave Mott the Hoople a career after they were on the verge of being the next big thing that never was.
After Mott, Hunter went on to a solo career and songwriting. His greatest commercial successes were his Cleveland Rocks (the theme song of the Drew Carey Show, recorded by the Presidents of the United States), Ships, sung by Barry Manilow, and Once Bitten Twice Shy, covered by Great White. Did I miss anything, fans?
Saturday night he was in great voice, with plenty of energy, spurred on by former Wings member Steve Holley on drums and guitarist extraordinaire Andy York.
Hunter is one of the oldest of Rock's Greatest Generation, but Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bob Dylan, Roger McGuinn, Chris Hillman, Paul McCartney, David Crosby, Dan Hicks, Steven Stills, Grace Slick, Jorma Kaukonen, John Sebastian,Pete Townsend, Ray Davies, Eric Clapton, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Jeff Beck, Leon Russell, Van Morrison, Judy Collins, Donovan, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, etc. aren't far behind. And many still pack venues, despite being on the scene for 40 or more years. To put that in perspective, if you were living in the 1960s, it would be like performers from the 1920s still competing in the concert halls and on the record charts. With the exception of Louis Armstrong, I don't think that was happening much if at all.
So Hail! Hail! Rock's Greatest Generation. Long may you live. Hope to see you, like Ian Hunter, at the Narrows soon.
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Thursday, December 02, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
What do you call the sound of the subdudes. Hard to put a name to it, but rock, folk for sure. And, being from New Orleans, one can hear The Big Easy. Heck, I even thought Doobie Brothers.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Saturday, November 06, 2010
Friday, November 05, 2010
Thursday, November 04, 2010
Monday, November 01, 2010
Sunday, October 31, 2010
"I'm a cross between Pete Seeger and Don Rickles," said Vance Gilbert during his debut at the Narrows Saturday night.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Peter Wolf, solo artist and J. Geils singer, makes his Narrows debut in November, although he has attended at least one show (Shelby Lynne's) at our fabled location.
Peter lived an interesting life even before he came to national attention as the wild man voice of the J.Geils Band.
Some fun facts:
--His father was a musician and had his own radio show in New York City; his mother was a teacher; his grandmother, an actress.
--His older sister was a dancer on Alan Freed's television show.
--As a child he took part in a child music series with Woody Guthrie.
--Peter has dyslexia, a condition which makes it difficult to play an instrument. He studied piano, guitar, drums and violin.
--When he was seven his family moved to the Berkshires due to his father's work at Tanglewood, and young Peter used to hang out in the studio of Norman Rockwell, developing an interest in painting.
--Peter hung out with Bob Dylan in Greenwich Village in Dylan's early years.
--Peter's high school was in Harlem, not far from the Apollo Theater, where Peter watched shows by Ray Charles, James Brown, Jackie Wilson and others.
--Peter roomed with David Lynch (Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks) in Boston while studying art at Boston's Museum of Fine Art. He also befriended Jon Landau, later Bruce Springsteen's manager and a writer for Rolling Stone magazine.
--Peter had an apartment in Cambridge, MA which became a refuge for touring musicians, including Muddy Waters.
--Barry Tashian, of New England legends Barry and the Remains, and later a member of Emmylou Harris' group, roomed with Peter.
I could go on. Learn more at www.peterwolf.com.
Friday, October 08, 2010
Sixty artists have done beautiful work in interpreting the lyrics from 73 of Cheryl's songs.
The book will continue to be for sale at the Narrows for a couple more weeks. Also check out www.nicerendition.com.
Friday, October 01, 2010
For those who may not be ultra-serious blues students, there's a possibility you are unfamiliar with the tunes on Bingo. You might know B.B. King's "Rock Me Baby" (reportedly the most covered blues song of all time), though. But, no matter. This is a fun, fine recording you can listen to a lot without growing tired. I'm mean, have you ever tired of hearing "Rock 'N Me,""Jet Airliner," or "Swingtown"? Not me. Okay, I am tired of "The Joker," "pompatus of love" notwithstanding.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Listening Booth:1970--Marc Cohn--This guy, a Narrows fave and best known for "Walking in Memphis," may finally put that song behind him with this interesting recording of important tracks from 1970. "It was the year that the Beatles broke up. Simon and Garfunkel too...but it wasn't really 'the '70s' yet. 1970, at least musically, still felt like the '60s somehow," he writes in the CD notes.
When I saw the song listing on the CD, I was less than enthused about another cover of Paul McCartney's "Maybe I'm Amazed"--a great song, but hasn't it been covered enough? But Marc makes it worth hearing with new ears, along with Cat Stevens' "Wild World," Bread's "Make It With You," and Badfinger's "No Matter What."
But he makes this more than a trip down memory lane for those listening to Top 40 radio at the time. He reaches for deep tracks, like John Lennon's "Look at Me," from the Plastic Ono Band album that contained the better known "Mother," and "Working Class Hero," and blends it with the Beatles' "I Am the Walrus." And "The Only Living Boy in New York," from Simon and Garfunkle's Bridge Over Troubled Waters album containing the better know title track, "Cecelia," and "The Boxer." And the Dead's "New Speedway Boogie" from Workingman's Dead, an album containing the better known "Uncle John's Band." Frankly, I don't think I've heard "The Only Living Boy in New York" or "New Speedway Boogie" before, so this is an introduction to those songs for me.
As for moving beyond "Walking in Memphis,": "Listening Booth: 1970" surpassed it on Billboard. So there.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
Sunday, September 19, 2010
So you want to be an electric blues guitarist. What do you need to know and do?
Saturday, September 18, 2010
During your last visit to the Narrows you played with such joy. Is it always fun these days?
KS: 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?
KS: 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?
KS: 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?
KS: 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?
KS: 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.
KS: 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?
KS: 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. I will continue to record band and solo records and with luck, I intend to live to a ripe old age!
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
On the inside stage, a Chicago fellow named Joe Moss (above) gathered his troops around 3 p.m. Sunday.
Your humble blogger, who was emceeing two stages (one inside the Narrows proper and one down the street at a park sporting the "Gates of the City"), wasn't able to hang out and listen. But fortunately we had the ears of mvyradio.com morning host (5:30 to 11:00 a.m. M-F) Laurel Redington tucked next to the sound board:
Monday, September 13, 2010
Continued follow up to the Narrows Festival of the Arts 2010, held Sunday:
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
It was good rockin' on a rainy Tuesday night at the Narrows!
Saturday, August 21, 2010
The LA Times reports he was suffering from cancer and a blood disorder. He collapsed in Denver while on tour with Karla, the paper reported, and hospitalized, dying Wednesday in California.
I know the crew at the Narrows who worked with him liked him and enjoyed working with him. A great talent and fine gentleman.
Karla Bonoff posted this message on her website, marking his passing: "I want to thank him for being my teacher, my musical partner and my best friend for the last forty-three years." Linda Ronstadt called him a "beacon to me" in an extensive remembrance of Kenny in an LA Times blog. To see that remembrance, click here.
For all of the entries about Kenny I've blogged, please click here.
Monday, August 09, 2010
Friday, August 06, 2010
Thursday, August 05, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Friday, July 16, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
Tears, Lies and Alibis--Shelby Lynne--"I like this record a lot. I spent a year making it and made a lot of decisions and changes during that period," Ms. Lynne writes on her Facebook page.
"It was fun at times, not fun sometimes. But in the end, this is the record I wanted you to hear and the one I thought you would love."
She's celebrating her independence these days because she's created her own label, called Everso Records. "I finally have the creative control I’ve needed to get my vision out there..."
Her vision on Tears, Lies and Alibis is one of heartbreak and, oddly enough, Airstream trailers:
"When the sun hits her right/She'll blind you with her light a beacon of royalty, ooooh/Yeah, she's like a Van Gogh or an old Picasso oh what a sight to see."
This recording, produced by Ms. Lynne herself, won't knock you over at first, like her last project, a tribute to Dusty Springfield, produced by legend Phil Ramone and sporting classics "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me," "Breakfast in Bed," and "How Can I Be Sure." Her vocals, of course, are right on from the first phrase, but the songs, mostly short--she doesn't waste our time--may take several listens before you connect. That's a sign this is going to have a long shelf life--speaking of which, soul organist and songwriter Spooner Oldham backs her on Tears, Lies, and Alibis. You probably first heard him on the 1960s' hit "When a Man Loves a Woman," performed by Percy Sledge.
Shelby Lynne returns to the Narrows August 5. See her perform on the Late Late Show by clicking here.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Steve Bjork (below) opened with a set celebrating
married men at the supermarket, trying to understand what their wives mean when the shopping list says "c. cheese"--so they get Velveeta, a "man's cheese."
The Narrows plans to continue offering comedy shows in the months ahead. So spread the word to comedy fans!
Thursday, July 08, 2010
Whimsical, sort of a Dan Hicks-like approach. Old timey, rootsy. The woman in the photo with the sunglasses, Maryanne Price, was an early member of Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks and performed on the Kinks' Preservation Act II album! That's a huge deal for your humble blogger.
The show was streamed live on mvyradio.com and should be available on that site's archives in a few days, so you can hear more of the group.
Chatted with guitarist Tanner Swain about our heat wave, figuring it was no big deal for a guy used to the torrid summers in the former Republic of Texas. Seems, though, even he felt the discomfort we Northerners have been experiencing because of the record heat over the past several days.
Friday, July 02, 2010
Lifted Off the Ground--Chely Wright--Narrows fans may only be vaguely aware of Ms.Wright's work as a mainstream country artist, with some major hits, including Single White Female, back about 10 years ago. In 2001, she worked with Narrows alum Dr. Ralph Stanley, appearing on his Clinch Mountain Sweethearts album, so members of our bluegrass community may be familiar with her through that. More likely, you know her because in May of this year her autobiography was published, revealing she is leading a life that some think is outside the mainstream country norm. If you want to read about that, here's a link. Let's talk music, instead. Rodney Crowell, whom we hope to have play the Narrows soon, produced the disc, played some guitar on it, and co-wrote one of the tunes with Ms. Wright, who wrote the rest herself. And they're well worth hearing, starting with the first track, a catchy number called I'm Broken:
Why can't you just believe in me?/ Not everyone is the enemy/I'm trying hard I swear I am/I'm doin' the best I can/But I'm Broken.
She's a fabulous singer, the production is tasteful--sometimes even Beatlesque--and Ms. Wright knows how to write a song, which isn't surprising since she's been composing for herself and others for a long time. The CD has apparently not been a success on mainstream country radio, but is picking up support from Americana stations. So she might be getting backlash from the Nashville establishment. Nonetheless, Lifted Off the Ground is a winner. Their loss.
Thursday, July 01, 2010
He and his group made their debut at the Narrows on Thursday night, although the 30-something Ralph had been on our stage backing his dad as one of the Clinch Mountain Boys in the wintertime.
The show included Stanley Brothers tunes, a Fred Eaglesmith song saluting Carter Stanley, and an original or two or three.
Excellent musicianship, harmonizing and arrangements. Note for note, one of the best shows of the year. Look for it in the archives at mvyradio.com.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
It was blue-eyed soul night, and another sold-out show night, at the Narrows Friday as Englishman James Hunter brought his band and a sackful of catchy tunes that sounded like they could have been recorded in 1959 or yesterday.
If you're unfamiliar with his work, just stop by the Ruby Tuesday's in South Attleboro. Your humble blogger swears that he hears something from James Hunter in the soundtrack piped through the restaurant every visit.
A young fellow originally from Arlington, MA, Jesse Dee, opened the show doing his version of the retro soul man. After his set, audience members were asking us to have him headline his own show.
Nice job, Jesse (he's pictured right).
Friday, June 18, 2010
A loud, bluesy Friday night at the Narrows, that started acoustic with master blues picker Mark T. Small, playing some Charlie Patton, some Robert Johnson, some Mark T. Small. Then the air got electric with Coco Montoya (above) and his group, sporting a new CD.
All kicked off a blues weekend that features Ronnie Earl on Saturday night. Blues fans--take note! James Cotton, Taj Mahal, Savoy Brown, Jimmy Vaughn and Johnny Winter coming up in the months ahead!
Friday, June 11, 2010
The performer, Jesse Winchester, kind of understated, too. Except with fabulous songs.