Sunday, March 30, 2008

3/30/08 Playlist

Appearing in the area:
1. Caroline Herring (Iron Horse 4/4): Midnight on The Water (Lantana), Signature Sounds 2010
2. Tanglefoot (Chester Meeting House 4/6): Boot Soup (Dance Like Flames), Borealis 179
3. Girlyman (Iron Horse 4/5): Commander (Hail to The Thieves, Volume III), Running Scared
4. Tim Grimm (Ridgefield 4/6): Squaw (Wilderness Plots), Rosehill 111

More appearances:
5. Joe Crookston Ridgefield 4/6): Red Rooster in The Mash Pile, Live (Able Baker Charlie & Dog), Milagrito
6. Harvey Reid (Roaring Brook 4/5): Jambalaya (The Song Train), Woodpecker Box 120
7. Eric Taylor (Church House 4/12): Better Man (Hollywood Pocketknife), Blue Ruby 003
8. Greencards (Club Helsinki 4/5): Lonesome Side of Town (Viridian), Dualtone 01265
The second song was inspired by the first, but has a happier ending:
9. Amy Gallatin & Stillwaters: The Water Is Wide (Phoenix), Happy Appy 7
10. Nerissa & Katryna Nields: We'll Plant An Oak (Sister Holler), Mercy House

Even more appearances:
11. Jackson Browne (Calvin Theater 4/1(: Casino Nation (Solo Acoustic Vol. 2), Inside Recordings 8021
12. David Jacobs-Strain (Club Helsinki 4/4): Liar's Day (Liar's Day), self]
13. Pat Donohue (Roaring Brook 5/17): Nordeast Rag (Freewayman), Bluesky 929

Friday April 4 is the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King; I've also just watched "4 Little Girls," the Spike Lee documentary about the bombing of the Birmingham church which killed the children; and maybe "Backlash Blues" might explain some of the anger of people like Reverend Wright:
14. Nina Simone: Why? [The King of Love Is Dead] (Forever Young, Gifted & Black), ?
16. Anne Hills & David Roth: That Kind of Grace (That Kind of Grace), Cassette / Carole Robertson Center for Learning
17. Chatham County Line (Club Helsinki 4/11): Birmingham Jail (IV), Yep Roc 2157]
18. Nina Simone: Backlash Blues (Forever Young, Gifted & Black), ?

Guess who James is singing about:
19. James McMurtry: Cheney's Toy (Just Us Kids), Lightning Rod advance CD
20. Joel Rafael: Rich Man's War (Thirteen Stories High), Inside Recordings advance CD
21. Karan Casey: The Fiddle and The Drum (Ships in The Forest), Compass 4476
22. Anthony da Costa: Ain't Much of A Soldier (Typical American Tragedy), self
23. Andrew McKnight (Vanilla Bean 4/5, Café Fantastique 4/6): Safe Home (Something Worth Standing For), Falling Mountain 1050

The Dreaded Folk Calendar over Pat Donohue's "Freewayman," Bluesky 929

24. Eliza Gilkyson: Hiway 9 (Land of Milk and Honey), Red House 174
25. Eliza Gilkyson: Angel and Delilah (Your Town Tonight), Red House 205

26. Hans Theesink: Katrina (Acoustic Rainbow Roots Volume 30), radio sampler, PoetMan
27. Evalyn Parry: Bottle This! (Small Theatres), Borealis 181
28. Mary Gauthier: Thanksgiving (Between Daylight and Dark), Lost Highway 33857
29. Chris Vallillo: Let the Band Play Dixie (Abraham Lincoln in Song), Gin Ridge 1009
30. Evalyn Parry: 14 [for December 6] (Small Theatres), Borealis 181
31. Lars Din: War Prayer (Know Where You Are / Conflict), self
32. Eliza Gilkyson et al: Peace Call (Land of Milk and Honey), Red House 174

Billy Bragg Op-Ed about musicians' royalties

The Royalty Scam

By BILLY BRAGG, March 22, 2008, Op-Ed Contributor, New York Times
Dorset, England

LAST week at South by Southwest, the rock music conference held every year in Austin, Tex., the talk in hotel lobbies, coffeeshops and the convention center was dominated by one issue: how do musicians make a living in the age of the Internet? It’s a problem our industry has struggled with in the wake of the rising popularity of sharing mp3 music files.

Our discussions were brought into sharp relief when news reached Austin of the sale of to AOL for a staggering $850 million. Bebo is a social-networking site whose membership has risen to 40 million in just two years. In Britain, it ranks with MySpace and Facebook in popularity, although its users tend to come from a younger age group.

Estimates suggested that the founder, Michael Birch (along with his wife and co-founder, Xochi), walked away with $600 million for his 70 percent stake in the company.

I heard the news with a particular piquancy, as Mr. Birch has cited me as an influence in Bebo’s attitude toward artists. He got in touch two years ago after I took MySpace to task over its proprietary rights clause. I was concerned that the site was harvesting residual rights from original songs posted there by unsigned musicians. As a result of my complaints, MySpace changed its terms and conditions to state clearly that all rights to material appearing on the site remain with the originator.

A few weeks later, Mr. Birch came to see me at my home. He was hoping to expand his business by hosting music and wanted my advice on how to construct an artist-centered environment where musicians could post original songs without fear of losing control over their work. Following our talks, Mr. Birch told the press that he wanted Bebo to be a site that worked for artists and held their interests first and foremost.

the rest of the column at

Sunday, March 23, 2008

3/23/08 Playlist (a very short one)

The first 3/4 of The Sunday Night Folk Festival was preempted by the broadcast of the Lady Huskies' game.

1. Jack Hardy: The Dust of Africa (Noir), Great Divide 4170
2. Rhonda Vincent: World's Biggest Fool (Good Thing Going), Rounder 0592
3. Andrew McKnight: Safe Home (Something Worth Standing For), Falling Mountain 1050
4. Kathy Mattea: Blue Diamond Mines (Coal), Captain Potato Records 7653260

5. Punch Brothers: Punch Bowl (Punch), Nonesuch 181732
6. Ann Savoy & Her Sleepless Nights: If Your Kisses Can't Hold The Man You Love (If Dreams Come True), Memphis International 00172
7. Joel Rafael: This Is My Country (Thirteen Stories High), Inside advance
8. Erica Wheeler: Muddy Waters (Good Summer Rain), Blue Pie 0400
9. Leon Rosselson: Conversation on A Mobile (A Proper State), Fuse 024
10. Susie Burke & David Surette: This Is The Year (When the Small Birds Sweetly Sing), Madrina
11. Eliza Gilkyson et al: Peace Call (Land of Milk and Honey), Red House 174

Monday, March 17, 2008

HARP Magazine in bankruptcy; read these articles soon!

I have to say I didn't know much about HARP Magazine when I read of its imminent demise, so I went to its website and discovered some interesting articles.

There's one from James McMurtry ostensibly about "What Would Ike Think?" at

and a short one about Leonard Cohen planning a tour at

and one about Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters, Nirvana) running for president at

and lots more. And no, I don't know anything about Guthrie Inc., the parent-company -- I couldn't find any info, so I don't know if there's any, y'know, connection.....

Sunday, March 16, 2008

3/16/08 Playlist

1. Patty Larkin: Hallelujah (Watch the Sky), Vanguard 79851
2. The Evangenitals: Ode to Scientology (Everlovin'), self
3. The Barefoot Boys: Billy in The Low Ground / Over the Waterfall (Sweetwater Passage), self
4. Les Barker: The Church of The Wholly Undecided (Top Cat, White Tie & Tails), Osmosys 041

5. Mae Robertson: Meet the Sun Halfway (Meet the Sun Halfway), Lyric Partners 45082
6. Bob Zentz: Blue Peter (Closehauled on The Wind of A Dream), self
7. Caren Armstrong: Ode to Billie Joe (Everything), Wildplum 0204
8. Rick Spencer: First of November (Waiting for Me), Catfeather

9 & 10. Aztec Two-Step (East Hartford Community Cultural Center 3/22): Better These Days & I Don't Believe in Jesus, But I Sure Do Like His Songs (Days of Horses), Red Engine 003

The President is "a little envious" of those deployed in Afghanistan. Why, if he "were slightly younger and not employed here, [he thinks] it would be a fantastic experience to be on the front lines...."
11. Roy Zimmerman: Chickenhawk (Faulty Intelligence), Metaphor 920 12. Matt Angus Thing: President's Son (Politlcal Pop), Black Potatoe 030
13. Todd Snider: You Got Away with It (The Devil You Know), NewDoor Advance version
14. Garnet Rogers: Junior (Get A Witness LIVE), Snow Goose Songs 1133
15. Les Barker: Debate (Twilight of The Dogs), Mrs Ackroyd DOG 019

16. Lori McKenna: I Know You (Unglamorous), Warner Bros 44299
17. Joe Crookston: John Jones (Abel Baker Charlie and Dog), Milagrito 78 18. Mike and Ruthy: Something's Got A Hold on Me (The Honeymoon Agenda), Humble Abode 010
19. Michael Jerling: Cold River (Crooked Path), Fool's Hill Music 2002

I read Paul Janensch's WNPR-commentary about the lack of Iraq war coverage as we approach its fifth anniversary, even though the war in Iraq is the second longest in U.S. history after Viet Nam and the second costliest after World War II. The mainstream media seem to be giving us "War Lite."

20. Steve Earle: Rich Man's War (The Revolution Starts...Now), E-squared / Artemis
21. Joel Mabus: Touch A Name on The Wall (Retold), Fossil 1808
22. The Mammals: Wartime Blues (Bootleg Sixpack), Humble Abode 009 23. Tom Paxton: The Willing Conscript (The Best of Tom Paxton: I Can't Help but Wonder Where I'm Bound), Elektra / Rhino RS 73515
24. Si Kahn: First Time At A War (Thanksgiving), Strictly Country Records 63
25. Shawn Mullins: For America (Honeydew), Vanguard 79830

The Dreaded Folk Calendar over selections from Lynn Patrick's "On the Wind," Dakota Ridge Records

26. Mark Erelli: The Volunteer (single / download)
27. Linda Thompson: Day after Tomorrow (Versatile Heart), Rounder 3217
28. Steve Quelet: Foxhole (House of Wax), self
29. Darrell Scott / Danny Thompson / Kenny Malone: With A Memory Like Mine (Live in NC), Full Light 0403
30. Dan Bern: After the Parade (My Country II), Messenger 19

31. Phil Ochs: The War Is Over (Farewells & Fantasies), Elektra Rhino R2 73518
32. Meg Hutchinson: Song for Jeffrey Lucey (Come Up Full), Red House 209
33. Roy Zimmerman: Thanks for The Support (single), self
34. Eliza Gilkyson et al: Peace Call (Land of Milk and Honey), Red House 174

Friday, March 14, 2008

3/14/08 Fill-in Playlist

This program followed Democracy Now, so it seemed natural to use songs of a topical / political nature:

1. Tom Lehrer: It Makes A Fellow Proud to Be A Soldier (An Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer), Reprise 6199
2. Richard Thompson: I Ain't Marching Any More (RT / The Songs Pour Down Like Silver), Free Reed 55
3. Dan Bern: After the Parade (My Country II), Messenger 19
4. Darrell Scott / Danny Thompson / Kenny Malone: With A Memory Like Mine (Live in NC), Full Light 42
5. Meg Hutchinson: Song for Jeffrey Lucey (Come Up Full), Red House 209

6. Steve Quelet: Foxhole (House of Wax), self
7. Jez Lowe: Dover Delaware (demo)
8. John Prine: Sam Stone (John Prine), Atlantic 19156
9. Mat Callahan & Yvonne Moore: Johnny Refused (Welcome), Broken Arrow
10. Roy Zimmerman: Thanks for the Support (single), self
11. Bruce Springsteen: Last to Die (Magic), Columbia 17060

12. Patty Larkin: Metal Drums (Live in The Square), Philo 1136
13. Chris Williamson: Waters of Spokane (Real Deal), Wolf Moon 65406

14. Malvina Reynolds: Little Boxes (Ear to The Ground), Smithsonian Folkways 40124
15. Tom Paxton & Anne Hills: Manzanar (Under American Skies), Appleseed 1052
16. Randy Newman: Political Science (Sail Away), Reprise / Rhino
17. The Kingston Trio: Merry Minuet (...from the "Hungry i"), Capitol LP
18. Mavis Staples: My Own Eyes (We'll Never Turn Back), Anti- promo

19. Paranoid Larry: R. U. N. Alien (Are You Following Me?), Prove It 03
20. Todd Snider: Conservative Christian, Right Wing, Republican, Straight, White, American Males (East Nashville Skyine), Oh Boy promo
21. Joni Mitchell: Strong and Wrong (Shine), HEAR 30457
22. Barry McGuire: Eve of Destruction (single)
23. Shawn Mullins: For America (Honeydew), Vanguard 79830

24. The Kennedys: Give Me Back My Country (Better Dreams), Appleseed 1107
25. Solas: Song of Choice (The Words That Remain), Shanachie 78023
26. Band of Hope: If They Come in The Morning (Rhythm and Reds), Musikfest 512

Sunday, March 9, 2008

No 3/9/08 Playlist, BUT here's something terrific:

Sorry, no S.N.F.F. tonight due to a sports-preemption -- but here's a special treat -- Eliza Gilkyson has just posted her keynote speech given at the 20th Annual Folk Alliance Conference, held last month in Memphis. Here's the beginning:

Keynote Speech, Folk Alliance Convention, February 21, 2008
By Eliza Gilkyson

Good morning and welcome to the 20th annual Folk Alliance Convention! Are we really that old?

Oh my god, I can't believe I agreed to be a keynote speaker at this thing! What was I thinking? I am
so not a speaker! Forgive me; I’m going to have to read this thing to you today like a high school kid reading her term paper.

This assignment has been hanging over my head like the Sword of Damocles for the last three months.

It ruined my holidays and haunted me my whole time off from touring. No matter what I did, the
knowledge was always back in there somewhere, "You have to come up with something to talk about for 20 minutes!" I don't do "talk." I've already got my shtick, and I'm comfortable with that. Do I
HAVE to do something new?

But then, how could I turn down an opportunity to open for Janet Reno? I’ve always wanted that
opening slot! Just think of the ways it would expand my fan base! The mind reels!

Actually I had no idea of the incredible compilation that Janet has produced, called Song of America, a chronicling of American history through song. This comprehensive body of work, performed by roots-based as well as current popular artists, gathers the different historical/cultural contributions, cross-connections and roots that define this genre in America described as “music by and for the common people.”

The Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary defines folk music as "music of the common people that has
been passed on by memorization or repetition rather than by writing, and has deep roots in its own

According to Webster's Dictionary, folk music is the "traditional and typically anonymous music that
is an expression of the life of the people in a community.”

So, what is the difference between folk music and pop music (besides the fact that there's not a lot of money in it!)? Ok, let's start with Janet Reno, for example. Her name has been reduced to a sound bite by a pop culture that is addicted to the latest sensation - and that is exactly what I want to talk about today: the role of folk music in a culture that wants to reduce everything and everybody to a seven-second sound bite. Because that IS the goal of pop music: to take a complex and many-faceted person or idea and reduce them to a simple sound bite, a commercial product that can then be force-fed to the masses by an industry that truly does not think along any other lines than of what will sell.

This machine is so all pervasive and dominant that those of us who do not hold the keys to the magic kingdom via youth, beauty, scandal, wealth, attitude or sexuality are made to feel out of it and
marginalized, if not non-existent altogether. Other than the occasional visitations from rock royalty,
folk music seems at best to be a sidecar to the real music business machine.

Years ago I wanted into that machine so bad I would have sold my firstborn for it, and in some ways I did sacrifice my kids to that dream. I was pretty obsessed with the idea that I could be the latest
whatever, and I honestly did not give them the focus they deserved growing up. I regret that. But I do
remember my ex-manager at the time (also my ex-husband - that's what you're supposed to do: marry your manager!) ... anyway, in protest he decided that he wouldn't shave his face until he got me signed to a major label. Well, years later one of the reasons he couldn't get me signed was because the beard was so long and straggly he looked like one of the Minor Prophets, and people avoided him.

Needless-to-say, I never did grasp the brass ring. I remember the moment when I realized that "IT"
wasn't going to happen for me. I was too old (like, older than 35...), the music I made was never going to be hip enough, I was way too accessible, kind of corny in an ex-hippie sort of way, and the machine had really rolled on without me. I was alone by the side of the road.

For the rest of the talk, go to

Sunday, March 2, 2008

3/2/08 Playlist

1.Jaime Michaels: Somewhere Like Italy (Fool), Frumdahart 1007
2. Carey Creed: I Didn't Raise My Boy t Be A Soldier (Peace of Wild Things), Azalea City 0705
3. Corb Lund: The Truth Comes Out (Hair in My Eyes Like A Highland Steer), Stony Plain 1309
4. Cindy Kallet & Grey Larsen: Playing with A Full Deck (Cross the Water), Sleepy Creek 105
5. Carrie Newcomer: There Is A Tree (The Geography of Light), Philo 1253
6. Steve Earle: City of Immigrants (Washington Square Serenade), New West NWA 3027
7. Guy Mendilow: Gesher Tsar Meod (Live), Earthen Groove
8. Gurf Morlix: Food, Water, Shelter & Love (Diamonds to Dust), Blue Corn Music 0701

9. Evalyn Parry: 14 [for December 6] (Small Theatres), Borealis 181
10. Elizabeth Nicholson & Stringed Migration: La Rotta / Waltz from Orsa (Fly Not Yet), Waterbug 81

In the studio: Bob Zentz ( and Ken Hicks (try and find HIM on the net – hard to do!)
11. Bob Zentz: Your Favorite Song (live) [played on taropach]

12. Ken Hicks: Fast Food Ain't Good Enough to Be Slow (live)
13. Bob: Ocean Station Bravo (live)14. Ken Hicks: The Jean LaFitte Hotel (live)
15. Bob Zentz: Horizon (live)
16. Ken Hicks: Vegematic (live)
17. Bob Zentz: Ships That Pass (Closehauled on The Wind of A Dream), Soundside 003

18. Anders Osborne: Summertime in New Orleans (Coming Down), M.C. Records 0060
19. Mat Callahan & Yvonne Moore: Circle Round (Welcome), Broken Arrow
20. Skye Zentz: Persephone (Legitimate Bohemia), self

Live in studio: Notorious (Eden MacAdam-Somer & Larry Unger) ( (at the Branford Folk Coffeehouse 3/8)
21. Eden & Larry: Whiplash / Greasy Coat (live)
22. River Falls Waltz (live)
23. Rodeo Clown Rag (live)
24. Lucky Penny (live) Dreaded Folk Calendar over selections from "Notorious," Black Socks 26

25. Eliza Gilkyson et al: Peace Call (Land of Milk and Honey), Red House 174

Saturday, March 1, 2008

(Steve) Earle Proves Himself The Boss Of Country-Rock Storytellers

Earle Proves Himself The Boss Of Country-Rock Storytellers

By THOMAS KINTNER, Special to the Courant, March 1, 2008

For local fans of iconic American troubadours, Thursday night presented a difficult choice between Bruce Springsteen's latest Hartford date and an appearance north of the Massachusetts border by Steve Earle.

Earle, playing at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton, provided ample rewards to those who chose him with a lengthy trip through some of the strongest entries in his wide range of country and rock compositions.

The solo acoustic setting in which he began the show suited the 53-year-old Earle's material, and served as a showcase for the roots-laced texture and down-to-earth clarity of his opener, "Steve's Last Ramble." The gritty sensibility at the core of his storytelling anchored the kinetic bob of "Devil's Right Hand" and fueled the wistful contemplation at the core of the mellow "Goodbye."

Politics always come standard with Earle's performances, whether in activist discourse between songs or in his lyrical content, which included the sharp social commentary of the rough-hewn story song "Billy Austin." Similar themes were at the heart of his anthems, whether it was the punchy, bouzouki-propelled "City of Immigrants" or a thumping delivery of the escalating "Steve's Hammer (For Pete)."

The rest at,0,3891230.story

Pete Seeger film on PBS last week

from the NY Daily News, Wed Feb 27, 2008

PBS has a folksy look at Pete Seeger


Watching this first-rate "American Masters" production on
Pete Seeger, the reigning dean of American folk musicians, you find yourself wondering if in another life he was a monk and he enjoyed it so much that he asked if he could keep the same personal code this time around.
For all the music that fills this 90-minute production, the most fascinating part may be the window into Seeger's personal life.

He built his own log cabin in a lovely patch of upstate woodland and raised his family there, for many years without running water. A number of segments are introduced here with shots of Seeger, now 88, chopping wood.

He notes that he never enjoyed performing in nightclubs with his most successful group, the Weavers, because he doesn't smoke or drink. When the Weavers agreed to do a commercial for cigarettes, he left the group.

"They said we needed the money," he says. "I said we didn't need it that badly."

He smiles a lot, but he doesn't seem to laugh much. Maybe in private, he does. But the portrait here reinforces his public image as a man who seems slightly aloof, who takes things very seriously and is perhaps quietly impatient with those who do not.

At the very least, this in-house special - it was co-executive-produced by Seeger's wife, Toshi - suggests there are complexities behind the public troubadour. Whatever those might be, they don't diminish or dilute the main point here, which is just what the title declares: the power of song.

From the time he was a child and his father exposed the family to old-time Southern music, Seeger was drawn to song and its power.
Bruce Springsteen, one of a number of musicians interviewed here, takes it a step further by saying Seeger demonstrated "the power of music to influence."
Bob Dylan, another interviewee, says what impresses him most about Seeger is his "amazing ability" to make people sing along, whether they want to or not.

The special covers the range of the songs with which Seeger has coaxed those sing-alongs over the years, from folk dances like "Tzena, Tzena, Tzena" to message music like "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy."

It also puts them into the context of his involvement with political musicians like the Almanac Singers, and notes the career price he paid for refusing to disassociate himself from some of the messages in that music.

During his blacklist years, he supported himself primarily by playing for and teaching children - which, the show notes, ironically, enabled him to plant more seeds than he ever would have planted in a commercial career.

But the whole idea of a "career" seems mostly to amuse him. In the olden days, he remarks, most of the world did physical work and sang while they did it. You get the impression that's Pete Seeger's kind of world