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: