Sunday, January 31, 2010

Grammy Winners So Far

At this writing, Narrows alums who won Grammys are Buckwheat Zydeco and Louden Wainwright III. Both have shows coming up in the near future. Visit for more information.

Your humble blogger heard Buckwheat Zydeco's new CD "Lay Your Burden Down" for the first time this morning. Although they're known as a big party band, this is some serious soul music. Very tasty. Think you'll like it, even if you're not a Cajun music fan.

Those alums who were nominated but did not win: Jim Lauderdale, Susan Tedeschi, Duke Robillard, Ruthie Foster, the Greencards, John Hammond, Robert Cray (not an alum but on the schedule), Alison Brown, Mavis Staples, Beausoleil (Buckwheat Zydeco won in their category), and T Bone Burnett for producing a CD for Narrows alums Moonalice.

That's really it for Narrows alums at the Grammys except...Jim Lauderdale has some ties to a couple nominees not decided at this writing: Country Album of the Year Award--George Strait's CD "Twang" has been nominated. Jim wrote the song "Twang" and another track on the album.

Lee Ann Womack is also up for Country Album of the Year for "Call Me Crazy." Jim's "King of Broken Hearts" is on the CD.

Speaking of Jim Lauderdale, if you were watching the afternoon feed on the Grammy website you saw him perform with a group composed of Alison Brown and others.

Here's a link to the Grammy winners page, which is being updated as the awards are presented.

Narrows Alums Nominated for Grammys

A bunch of Narrows' alums have been nominated for Grammys. There is a good number of 'em, plus this doesn't include other connections to a possible Grammy (e.g. Jim Lauderdale's singing vocals on Elvis Costello's album).

So, here goes. Please indicate errors or additions in the comments section

Best Country Instrumental Performance
Alison Browne
The Greencards

Best Bluegrass Album
Jim Lauderdale

Best Traditional Blues Album
John Hammond
Duke Robillard

Best Contemporary Blues Album
Robert Cray (ok, he hasn't played the Narrows yet--but he's on our schedule)
Ruthie Foster
Mavis Staples
Susan Tedeschi (played at the annual Narrows' anniversary celebration in November 2009)

Best Traditional Folk Album
Louden Wainwright III--Updated Sunday afternoon: Louden wins!

Best Zydeco or Cajun Music Album
Buckwheat Zydeco--update Sunday afternoon: Buckwheat wins!!!

Producer of the Year
T Bone Burnett, producer of "Moonalice" by Narrows' alums Moonalice

Saturday, January 30, 2010

His Town Saturday NIght

You know his songs "Best of My Love" and "New Kid in Town" recorded by his friends The Eagles.
For those who dig "deep cuts," Linda Ronstadt recorded his "White Rhythm and Blues." James Taylor and he had a hit with "Her Town Too" and he had a solo hit with "You're Only Lonely."

You may have seen him on the Roy Orbison video "A Black and White Night" along with Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits and others.

J.D. Souther brought his songs (all of the above except for "Her Town Too") and his lighthearted personality to the Narrows stage Saturday night.

It was believed to be the first time he played in the Providence/Fall River area since opening for Warren Zevon a few decades back.

As you might guess, John David has been around for a few years, so sometimes he forgets lyrics or the key he plays a song in (he noted that sometimes he plays his songs in different keys to make it interesting--and then forgets in the middle of the song what key he's in). Below, he's checking out the lyrics from his new album to refresh his memory.

Overall, though, he remembered his lyrics and often complex chord changes. Great show, especially for those of us who admire the artistry of the songwriter.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sunday Could Be Jim's Day

Narrows fave Jim Lauderdale could have a big night Sunday at the Grammys. His CD "Could We Get Any Closer?" has been nominated for "Best Bluegrass Album." Also nominated are two other projects our guy was involved in:

Elvis Costello's "Secret, Profane, and Sugarcane" has been nominated for "Best Contemporary Folk Album" (Jim sang harmony on all tracks and also toured with Mr. Diana Krall).

George Strait's "Twang" has been nominated for "Best Country Album." Jim wrote the title track and also "I Gotta Get to You."

Also, Lee Ann Womack's "Call Me Crazy" is nominated for "Best Country Album." She performs Jim's "The King of Broken Hearts" on the CD.

Good luck to a good guy!

A Word from the Professor

Coming to the Narrows February 5th is Professor Louie and the Crowmatix, who are performing a gig along with Commander Cody.

Professor Louie (he's the one with the accordion in the photo above) and his crew were one of the first groups to perform at the Narrows way back when, but your humble blogger thinks they don't get the recognition they deserve--this despite the fact that Professor Louie produced several albums for The Band, and has worked with individual members of that fabled ensemble over the years.

The group has a wonderful new CD, called "Whispering Pines," which features an award-winning song "Melody of Peace." I emailed a few questions to the Professor about the new CD and other topics.

Your "Melody of Peace," which you wrote with bandmate Miss Marie, won an international award. Can you tell us how that song came about?

We wrote "Melody Of Peace" for a CBS television holiday special. Professor Louie and The Crowmatix performed the song on the special with The Empire State Orchestra and Choir

How did you ended up recording it in the Czech Republic, and please tell us about the award.

The International Orchestra Arrangement ad Composition Award was given out by the record label ERM Media/Naxos. The prize was to go to Prague and record the song "Melody Of Peace" with The Prague Symphony & Kuhn Choir.

This recording was originally released on ERM/Naxos but is now on our latest CD, "Whispering Pines."

I see you also have been traveling to Russia to teach.

And perform.That has been very exciting and I have now toured Novosibirsk and other parts of Russia four times. This experience has been released as a documentary: "Woodstock To Siberia Blues Express."

I was reading that your music has been featured on MTV--the last place one might think it would appear. How did that come about?

You never know where your music will go and there are music lovers everywhere.

MTV has different episodes of their shows and a few music supervisors are fans of ours. They use bits of our songs behind a few of their shows and episodes.

Whom are you listening to on your IPOD, CD player, or record player these days?

Since I work a lot in the studio I spend most of my time listening to what I am working on.

When I had a chance the other day I listened to The Timex Jazz hour from NYC with Steve Allan as host--a lot of jazz greats on that show. I have been downloading Taj Mahal. I usually scan the radio when I drive.

Your real first name is Aaron--how did the "Professor Louie" come about?

Louis is my middle name. Rick Danko gave me the name Professor Louie when I was playing as a duo with Rick. A very big honor.

What songs can we expect to hear during your upcoming performance at the Narrows?

We mostly perform songs from our seven CDs Check: You will hear some of our originals, some Band songs, some blues and rock 'n' roll...We try to play songs that we feel the audience and ourselves are in the mood for on the night of a performance.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Holmes Brothers Feed My Soul

Our faves The Holmes Brothers (above with your humble blogger in 2008 at the Narrows Festival of the Arts) have a new release called "Feed My Soul" coming out March 2.

Produced by Joan "If God Were One of Us" Osborne, the release features a cover of a Beatles tune. These guys do fantastic covers--remember "I Want You to Want Me" and "What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding?"

We're happy to learn that Wendell Holmes recently won his battle with cancer!

Celebrate with them by coming to their show at the Narrows on May 14. It's got your humble blogger's personal guarantee.

Louden, Mick, Rize

Not sure if anything is posted yet on but I'm hearing Louden Wainwright is returning very soon, Mick Taylor is feeling better and will perform at the Narrows in the spring, and Hot Rize may be coming.

But you didn't hear it from me.

Keep an eye on

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hangin' with The Low Anthem

Friday night sizzlin' hot roots scenesters The Low Anthem had a front row table at the Ralph Stanley show.

A couple nights before they appeared on Letterman.

Good enough credentials for your humble blogger to pose in a photo with 'em just after Dr. Ralph finished his show.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Three Generations of Stanleys

It was three generation of Stanleys at the Narrows Friday night, with Dr. Ralph, Ralph II,(over to the side) and grandson Nathan (below) along with the Clinch Mountain Boys.

It was Dr. Ralph Stanley's first visit to the Narrows. He and his crew were one of the most accessible acts we've ever had, making themselves available to the fans even before the performance, which is very rare.

Yes--he did "O Death," which gained fame from his appearance doing the song in the movie "O Brother Where Art Thou" with George Clooney.

By the way: Members of one of the hottest roots groups in the country, Low Anthem, were in attendance.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Get to Know Janiva

Blues singer Janiva Magness is coming to the Narrows in May. Chances are, you are unfamiliar with her work, though she has won a ton of acclaim.

Check out her sound clips, and then go to her page on the Narrows' website and get your tickets.

Feel Like Going Home

If you are unfamiliar with the work of Corey Harris, who is playing the Narrows in February, you might want to borrow from the library "Feel Like Going Home," a Martin Scorsese documentary celebrating the blues.

I got my copy from the Cranston library, but my guess it's readily available at libraries generally.

Watch the film and come to the show!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Milton is a Band or Is It?

Opening for Eilen Jewell Friday night was a newcomer to the Narrows that some in the audience think deserve a shot at being a headliner.

Milton opened with a folky rock set filled with charisma and good vibes. Keep an eye on them/him.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Eilen Jewell is Now a Star

Eilen Jewell and her band--particularly hep cat guitar slinger Jerry Miller--wowed a large, enthusiastic crowd at the Narrows Friday night.

We've been following her career closely, since we first saw her opening for Sarah Borges something like 3 or 4 years ago. Back then she had the songs, the voice, even the band. Now, no doubt through playing constantly across the country and overseas, she has developed a strong stage presence and even--dare we say it--sex appeal!

We remember when she seemed to almost hide behind her guitar. Now she sometimes puts her acoustic aside and just sings.

And her main man, Jerry Miller, keeps it interesting, stabbing the ether with high octane rockabilly riffs that had the fans applauding from the start.

While Eilen's own songs are powerful, her cover of Johnny Kidd and the Pirates' "Shakin' All Over" seems to be her hit. The notion that low-key Eilen, with a sleepy voice and relatively low-key stage persona, could shake anything is possibly why her cover of it works so well. It goes "against type."

Congrats to Eilen and her group on a stellar performance!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

An Intro to Corey Harris

If you're like your humble blogger, you don't know the work of Corey Harris, even though he's been around for awhile and was in a Martin Scorsese film on the blues.

But, Friday night, just before the Backeddy and Reunion Band show I stumbled across Mr. Harris's latest CD "" when I was hanging around the Narrows' office.

I've listened to the CD about 4 times since. Terrific. Soul, gospel, blues, reggae and other stuff in there. Mr. Harris is a musical anthropologist--he's a recipient of a "genius" grant from a major foundation--who has focused on music in and from Africa.

All of that is fab--on top of that, the CD is an enjoyable listen. Hear excerpts here.

So don't pass up Mr. Harris's February 20th appearance at the Narrows because you may have never heard of him, like me. Interesting and tasty stuff!

Friday, January 08, 2010


Brrr! We kicked off frosty 2010 with a warm hearted bluegrass show Friday night featuring Boston area plunkers The Reunion Band (left) and locals Backeddy Bluegrass, which was celebrating the release of their new CD entitled "We'll Meet Again Someday."

Friday, January 01, 2010

People Who Died

Not to be morbid, but NPR has a nifty memorial to musicians who died in 2009, featuring clips of their music. These include Narrows alums Jay Bennett and Vic Chestnut, along with Mary Travers, Ellie Greenwich, Jim Carroll, Michael Jackson, Jim Dickinson, Mike Seeger and others.

Check it out here.