Sunday, December 28, 2008

12/28/08 Playlist

1. Krista Detor: Awake the Voice (The Silver Wood: Wintersongs), Tightrope

2. Dixie Chicks: Merry Christmas from The Family (live -- download)
3. Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison: Oklahoma Christmas (Happy Holidays), self
4. Mary Ann Rossoni: It's A Holiday (The 12 Steps of Christmas and Other Holiday Fare), Providence Music Works 10002
5. Susan Urban: Despite It All (Old Blue Dodge), No Lady 02
6. Kevin Keady: Let's Play Christmas (The Off-Season), Camp

7. Dar Williams: The Christians and The Pagans (3-song EP), Razor & Tie 718
8. Beth Nielsen Chapman: Years (Greatest Hits), Reprise 47302

9. Ilene Weiss: Tree (Weiss Christmas), Gadfly 236
10. Michael Dunkley & Suzanne Ives: Take the Tree out to the Curb (A Holiday Feast Vol. VII), Hungry for Music 016
11. Bob Malone: The After Christmas Song (2-song EP), Delta Moon
12. Tim O'Brien: Bah Humbug (Christmas on The Mountain), Universal South 48522
13. Misty River: Don't Take Down the Mistletoe (Midwinter: Songs of Christmas), self

14. Claudia Schmidt: Get Packin', Rod Blagojevich (single download)
15. Lori Lieberman: Daughters and Sons (download), self
16. Nancy White: Tellin' Those Christmas Lies (single download)

17. James Gordon: There Is No Silent Night (Mining for Gold), Borealis 129
18. Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer: American Noel (American Noel), Signature Sounds 2011
19. Teresa Healy / Tom Juravich Last Christmas on The Place (single download), self
20. Heidi Muller: Jesse's Carol (Matters of The Heart), Cascadia 102
21. Bruce Springsteen: How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live (The Seeger Sessions: The American Land Edition), Columbia 88231

22. Tom Paxton and Anne Hills: Links in The Chain (Under American Skies), Appleseed 1052
23. Ann Reed: Heroes (Hole in The Day), A Major Label 802

24. Michael Doucet: Auld Lang Zyne (Christmas Bayou), Swallow 6064
25. The Hidden Persuaders: What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? (A Holiday Feast Vol. III), Hungry for Music 006
26. Cigarbox Planetarium: Hello Mr. New Year (A Holiday Feast Vol. IV), Hungry for Music 010

The Dreaded Folk Calendar over selections from Al Petteway and Amy Whhite's "Winter Tidings!" Maggie's Music 234

27. Sean Tyrrell: The Rising of The Moon (The Orchard), LongWalk Music 002
28. Loreena McKennitt: The Old Ways (A Christmas Radio Sampler 1999), Quinlan Road QRCDP12 []
29. Bob Zentz: At The End of Another Year (single download), self
30. Slaid Cleaves: One Good Year (Broke Down), Philo 1225

I read part of Dr. Sandra R. Scantling's "For 2009, A Happiness Action Plan",0,1245384.column
31. Mary Chapin Carpenter: Late for Your Life (Time * Sex * Love), Columbia CK 85176
32. Kitty Donohoe: Do What You Love (This Road Tonight), Roheen 005
33. Claire Lynch: Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring (Silver and Gold), Rounder 0415
34. Colum Sands: One of These Days (All My Winding Days), Spring 1035
35. David M. Bailey: If I Had Another (Life), self
I read Natine Stair's "If I Had My Life to Live Over"

36. Chuck McCabe: My Prayer for You (Creatures of Habit), Woodshed 7608
37. Ian Robb: Song for The New Year (Rose & Crown), Folk-Legacy LP
38. Maria Muldaur et al: This Old World (Yes We Can!), Telarc 83672
39. Elvis Costello: What's So Funny 'bout Love, Peace and Understanding? (MP3 download from Random Noise)40. Eliza Gilkyson et al: Peace Call (Land of Milk and Honey), Red House 174

NYTimes Musical Obit for 2008, from Odetta to Isaac Hayes and beyond

Friday, December 26, 2008

Slate Article about the "Rise Up Singing" songbook

Lie Down Singing
How a songbook saved my nighttimes.
By Emily Bazelon, Posted Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2008

Bedtime at our house has two rituals: stories and songs. (Yes, some children take nightly baths. Ours prefer dirt.) The books come first, the lights go out, and then Simon, who is 5, asks me or my husband, Paul, to sing. Three or four or five songs later, he asks us to sing some more.

We oblige. Going to sleep has never come easily to Simon. And so the lullaby medley at our house often turns into a miniconcert, in terms of quantity if not quality. This is all very sweet, I know—whenever I complain about the singing, people whose children have grown up tell me I'll miss it desperately someday. But at the moment, singing night after night gets tedious. I'm tired of my standard repertoire, and so is Simon. He has ruled out "Tender Shepherd" ("No more sheep"), "Hush Little Baby" ("I'm not a baby"), and "I Gave My Love a Cherry" ("Mommy stop singing that boring song!").

Also, almost anything in Hebrew and absolutely everything from "Free To Be … You and Me"

This is why, in our house, the songbook "Rise Up Singing" represents a nightly form of deliverance.

How many songs do most of us know by heart—beyond, that is, bits and snatches? How many of those songs wear well with kids? When folk singer Pete Seeger asked the first question of the men he was serving with in the Army in 1943, he was impressed with their responses.

Now he thinks the list would be paltry

Rise Up Singing, which Seeger helped bring into being, is an answer to the ebbing away of shared lyric and melody. The book, which has sold more than 1 million copies, according to its creators, turns 20 this year.

It is exactly as advertised on its blue, spiral-bound cover: "The Group Singing Songbook" with "Words, Chords, and Sources to 1,200 Songs."

The rest of the article is at

Sunday, December 21, 2008

12/21/08 Playlist

Sunday Night Folk Festival 12/21/08 (Hansen)

1. Laurie Lewis & Tom Rozum: Wintergrace (Winter's Grace), Signature Sounds 1251
2. John McCutcheon: Wintersong (Wintersongs), Rounder 8038
I read "Dear Rebecca, Winter Is Here" by Jean Craighead George, published by HarperTrophy
3. Tim O'Brien / Heritage: Newgrange (A Christmas Heritage), Six Degrees / Koch

4. The Alexandria Kleztet: O Khanuke, O Khanuke (A Chanukah Feast), Hungry for Music 021
5. The Klezmatics: Happy Joyous Hanuka (A Chanukah Feast, Vol. II), Hungry for Music 026
I read "Eight Wild Nights" by Brian P. Cleary, published by Kar-Ben
6. 5 Chinese Brothers: Age-Old Story (A Window Shopper's Christmas), Prime CD 035
7. Magpie: The Ballad of Chanukah (Last Month of The Year), Sliced Bread 71305
8. Tish Hinojosa: Hanukia (From Texas for A Christmas Night), Texas Music Group 4012
9. Peter, Paul & Mary: Light One Candle (A Holiday Celebration), Gold Castle LP, 1988
10. Emily Kurn: Light the Lamp (I'm Just Like You), self
I read "One Candle" by Eve Bunting, published by HarperTrophy
11. Shelley Posen: Will Their Children Light the Candles (Menorah), Well Done Music 03
12. Hugh Blumenfeld: This Mountain (At Home for The Holidays with The Folk Next Door), WWUH

13. Christine Lavin & The Mistletones: A Christmas / Kwanzaa / Solstice / Chanukah / Ramadan / Boxing Day Song (The Runaway Christmas Tree), Appleseed 1075
14. Roy Zimmerman: Christma-Hanu-Rama-Ka-Dona-Kwanzaa (Peacenick), Metaphor 918

15. Margo Hennebach & Mark Saunders: How Far Is It to Bethlehem (Comfort & Joy), self
16. Richard Shindell: Before You Go (Wonderland), Signature Sounds 1266
17. Tommy Sands: Among the Bushes of Jerusalem (To Shorten the Winter), Green Linnet 12122
18. The Chieftains / Jackson Browne: The Rebel Jesus (The Bells of Dublin), RCA BMG60824
19. Hugh Blumenfeld: Longhaired Radical Socialist Jew (Rocket Science), Prime CD 43

20. Brett Dennen: The Holidays Are Here -- And We're Still at War (single)
21. Julie Sanderson: Christmas 1864 (A Holiday Feast Volume 2), Hungry for Music 004
I read "Wondering If the Girls Will Marry Them Now," written on December 25, 1863, by Nurse Kate Cumming, a nurse who worked with the Confederate army of Tennessee's medical service, and published in "American Christmases" by Blair.
22. Leslie Ritter & Scott Petito: The Bells of Christmas (This Christmas Morning), Collective Works 0501
I read "Truce in The Trenches, 1914" written by W. R. M. Percy, London Rifle Brigade, and included in "A Christmas Celebration" published by Haarper & Row
23. Artisan: Christmas Eve 1914 (Paper Angels), Bedspring Boing 9806
I read "Christmas in Vietnam" by James G. Lubetkin, an opinion piece from The Christian Science Monitor, 12/24/87
24. Jefferson Pepper: Christmas in Fallujah (Christmas in Fallujah), American Fallout 001
25. Jeff Talmadge: A Soldier's Christmas (single), self
26. Roy Zimmerman: I Won't Be Home for Christmas (Peacenick), Metaphor 918

27. Nancy White: Tellin' the Christmas Lies (download)
28. Roy Zimmerman: A Merry American Christmas (download), self
29. Carla Ulbrich: Let It Go, Let It Go, Let It Go (download)
30. Roy Zimmerman: Give Back Everything (download)
31. Lou & Peter Berryman: Christmas Letter (Some Days), Cornbelt 13
32. Loudon Wainwright III: Christmas Morning (Bah Humbug), Greentrax 7007
33. Chuck McCabe: Holidaze (Creatures of Habit), Woodshed 7608
34. The Bobs: Fifty Kilowatt Tree (Too Many Santas), Rounder 9060
35. Kent Aldrich: The Santa Claus Assassin (single), self

36. Anais Mitchell: Song of The Magi (The Brightness), Righteous Babe 53 []
37. New St. George (Lisa Moscatiello, vocals): Time to Remember The Poor (A Holiday Feast), Hungry for Music 002 []

38. Cathy Barton & Dave Para: Make My Present Small (Crazy Quilt), self
39. Gretchen Peters: Careful How You Go (Northern Lights), Scarlet Letter 208143
40. John Lennon: Happy Xmas / War Is Over (Legend)
41. Maria Dunn: God Bless Us Every One (Let It Snow! Unique Canadian Winter Music),
42. Eliza Gilkyson et al: Peace Call (Land of Milk and Honey), Red House 174

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Davey Graham obituary

Davey Graham

Robin Denselow, The Guardian, Wednesday 17 December 2008

Davey Graham, who also recorded as Davy Graham, and has died aged 68 of lung cancer, was the undisputed guitar hero of the British folk-blues clubs in the early and mid-1960s: a remarkable and wildly inventive musician, he transformed the acoustic scene with performances that were startling and unique for their blend of traditional themes with blues, jazz and even Indian or Arabic influences. Years ahead of his time in the way he mixed styles, in doing so he opened the way for many of the great British guitarists who started out in the 60s.

Martin Carthy described him as "an extraordinary, dedicated player, the one everyone followed and watched - I couldn't believe anyone could play like that"; while for Bert Jansch (who would develop Graham's ideas in the band Pentangle), he was "courageous and controversial - he never followed the rules. He was a hard man to hold a conversation with, but he knew how to play the guitar." His influence extended from the folk clubs to the emerging British R&B and rock scene, where his followers included Jimmy Page, of Led Zeppelin, and Ray Davies, of the Kinks, who described him as "an awesome influence". He also influenced the American singer-songwriter Paul Simon, who covered Graham's instrumental piece Anji on the 1966 Simon and Garfunkel album Sounds of Silence - by when this slinky, complex tune had become a crucial part of the repertoire for any aspiring folk-blues guitarist.

An imposing, powerful-looking man with a moustache and almost military bearing that contrasted strangely with his wild lifestyle, Graham was a genial, enigmatic and complex figure who first appeared on the London folk scene at a time when it provided a home for an eclectic mixture of maverick musicians, as well as great traditional singers, writers or instrumentalists. For years he was well ahead of the pack. No one else in the early 60s took an interest in North African styles, but then no other musician wandered off to travel around Morocco, or even thought of experimenting with alternative guitar tunings. But despite his importance to the music scene, Graham earned little from playing, and for the past 32 years lived in a small house near the canal in Camden Town, London.

the rest is at

Cool Story about Cowboy Singer Will Dudley

December 17th, 2008

Dudley Earns Cap and Gown for his Brother

Luke Mehall, Western State College of Colorado News

When asked what he is graduating in, Will Dudley joked, “A cap and a gown.” It is this sort of humor, among his other traits, that the 57 year old has won the hearts of his fellow students at Western State College. Dudley will graduate this Saturday with a degree in English.

The motivation for his return to studies at such a late age was his younger brother, Jon Dublin, a U.S. Diplomat who died in Iraq in February 2006. Dudley, a Vietnam veteran himself, had always told his brother that he would one day return to school, to which his brother replied, “not in my lifetime.”

“Well I guess he was right,” Dudley said. His upcoming graduation is a tribute to his brother.“To honor my brother means the world to me,” Dudley said. “I would not have done this if it wasn’t for him.”

Dudley, a traveling musician, attended Belmont College in Nashville, Tenn., in the 80s but dropped out to tour with Tanya Tucker, a famous country music star. Other musicians that Dudley has worked with or has befriended include Willie Nelson, Townes Van Zandt, and Charlie Daniels.

After his brother died, Dudley enrolled at Adams State College in Alamosa, the closest school to Walsenburg, Colo., where he was living. His friends, Rod and Ryan Pringle, who own and operate the Waunita Hot Springs Ranch, enabled Dudley to move up to Gunnison. They offered him a free place to stay at the ranch while he completed his studies. Starting at Western in the fall of 2007, Dudley figured that he would be able to relate to his teachers, but not to the students, most of whom are half his age. But with his wit and involvement in campus and community activities, Dudley fit right in with his peers.

“Will quickly became a favorite among students,” remarked Mark Todd, an English professor and Dudley’s adviser. “There has never been a sense of separation from them.” Todd says that Dudley’s popularity is due in part to his musical and lyrical talents, as well as his participation in extracurricular programming. Dudley is a popular act at the Gunnison Arts Center, and has performed there often over the last year and a half.

Krista Ehasz, a senior at Western, remembered how Dudley was nervous at first about fitting in. But as she has gotten to know him through English classes, and extracurricular activities like Wordhorde open-mic nights and playing music together at the Folksong Coffeehouse, she now considers him a close friend. “What’s great about Will is that he recognizes the importance of passion,” she shared. “Will has taught me by example how to just live for what’s here.” Tiara Lopez, a junior at Western, shared that sentiment. “He has been a pleasure in my classes and always has something nice to say to me.”

“That has been the biggest surprise to me that I have been accepted among the wonderful young people here,” Dudley said. Dudley notes that integrating into the world of computers was one of the major challenges that he faced. His last year and a half in Gunnison was also the first time he has stayed in one place in the last 20 years.

In the midst of finals week, days away from graduation, Dudley isn’t quick to praise his efforts, or to say that his effort is complete. “I won’t believe it till it happens,” he reflected. He added that he is extremely thankful for the students and teachers at Western and for the Pringle family.

“We’ve all taken away a lot from getting to know Will,” Ehasz shared. “He could be anywhere in the world right now making music and traveling and he chose to ride it out at Western. We all could learn something from the heart and determination he brings with that.” “I for one will be sorry to see him graduate,” Todd added. “I hope he continues to think as fondly of us as we do of him. It’s rare to have an alum who has already made his mark as opposed to preparing to make that mark. We can already call him one of our famous alums – just as soon as he walks across that stage to get his diploma at Commencement.”

More about Will Dudley and his music can be found at

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Americana Top 100

The top 100 most-played albums, as charted on the Americana Airplay Chart:

1) Hayes Carll
2) James McMurtry
3) Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
4) Steve Earle
5) Tift Merritt
6) Ryan Bingham
7) John Hiatt
8) Band of Heathens
9) Levon Helm
10) Alejandro Escovedo

and the rest are at

Monday, December 15, 2008

Abigail Washburn in China

From the Sparrow Quartet newsletter:

Abigail is currently in the Chinese province of Sichuan doing an artist residency at Sichuan University. She sent us a note to pass along to you:

Sichuan is great. The food is spicy spicy spicy. I was here for 6 months in 1997. The city has changed drastically just like most of China as it has developed economically. The artists and students I’ve been working with are totally inspiring. I’ve been learning about different aspects of Chinese folk music, specifically the difference between the new folk music and the original folk music and their separate and unique virtues.

I’m also learning about Sichuan Opera. I’ve been lucky enough to befriend one of the lead kungfu and face-changing artists in Chengdu. He has introduced me to the full scope of Chengdu’s Sichuan Opera from the expert and formal ways of the official state troupe to the University training of the new artists to come and the folk opera in the teahouses. I’ve ended up teaching classes to the students and performing alongside them.... my Chinese has been getting a serious tune up.

The other unexpected and very welcome performing I’ve been given the chance to do is in the mountain towns outside of Chengdu that were devastated by the earthquakes of 5/12. My friends at Sichuan Quake Relief asked me to accompany them on trips to set up libraries in the schools. While they set up the libraries I performed for the kids, and then they performed for me.

I’m glad to report that my friend Amanda Kowalski, a rockin’ photographer, is here in Sichuan with me. We are in the process of creating a series of narrative photo and written essays about a few specific forms of artistic expression in China that have given us an intimate view of the evolution of art and tradition in the midst of enormous economic and social changes here. We’ll also have a piece about going up into the earthquake schools. We look forward to sharing it all with you. We’ll keep you posted.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

12/14/08 Playlist

1. Jim Henry: The Tree (Wonderland), Signature Sounds 1266
2. Sloan Wainwright: Big Bright Beautiful Tree (single), download
3. Joni Mitchell: River (Blue), Reprise 2038
4. Bill Kirchen: Truckin' Trees for Christmas (A Holiday Feast Volume 2), Hungry for Music 004

I read Mary Lyn Ray's "Christmas Farm," published 2008 by Harcourt
5. Doug Clegg: Deck The Hall (Noel), Clegg Yolk 9821
6. Arlon Bennett: The Christmas Tree on Salem Street (Hudson Harding Sampler: Happy Holidays Volume 2), Hudson Harding
7. Leslie Ritter & Scott Petito: Oh Christmas Tree (This Christmas Morning), Collective Works 0501
8. Chris Hillman & Herb Pedersen: Blue Christmas Lights (Tinsel Tunes), Sugar Hill 3855
9. Tom Paxton: We're Going to Get Our Christmas Tree (A Child's Christmas), Pax cassette 004

Hope this doesn't happen while you're seeking your tree!
10. Bruce Hornsby: Lost in The Snow (Halcyon Days), Columbia CK 92652

Solstice:11. Jay Ungar & Molly Mason: The Solstice Set (The Pleasures of Winter), Fiddle & Dance 104
12. Grace Griffith: Song for A Winter's Night (My Life), Blix Street G2-10085
13. Herdman / Hills / Mangsen: At the Turning of The Year (At the Turning of The Year), Hand & Heart Music 2000
14. Mary Chapin Carpenter: The Longest Night of The Year (Come Darkness, Come Light), Zoe 1123

Guest Chuck E. Costa
15. Batten the Hatches (live)
16. At the Drawing Board (live)
17. The Goalie (live)
18. Hollow Man (Where the Songs Come From), self
19. So Many Things (live)
20. Hey Hey (live)

21. Loreena McKennitt: Breton Carol (A Midwinter Night's Dream), Quinlan Road 12096
22. Leslie Ritter & Scott Petito: Give A Little Hope (This Christmas Morning), Collective Works 0501

The Dreaded Folk Calendar over selections from Jay Ungar & Molly Mason's "The Pleasures of Winter," Fiddle & Dance

23. Gretchen Peters: Northern Lights (Northern Lights), Scarlet Letter Records 208143
24. Herdman / Hills / Mangsen: Voices of Winter / Red & Green (Voices of Winter), Gadfly 235 www.gadflyrecordscom
25. Claudia Schmidt & Paul Cebar: Baby, It's Cold Outside (45 single)
26. John McCutcheon: Waiting for Snow (Wintersongs), Rounder 8038
27. Mae Robertson: Every December Sky (December Sky), Lyric Partners 4906
28. Heritage: Newgrange (A Christmas Heritage), Six Degrees / Koch
29. Maddy Prior: Long Shadows (Year), Park 20

30. Laurie Lewis & Tom Rozum: Christmas Time's A-Comin' (Winter's Grace), Signature Sounds 1251
31. Hills / Sato / Mangsen et al: Christmas Is Coming (On This Day Earth Shall Ring), Flying Fish 40605
32. Ralph Stanley: I'm Going Home, It's Christmas Time (Christmas Time with Ralph Stanley), CRFRC
33. Burns Sisters: This Christmas (Tradition), Philo 1208
34. Eliza Gilkyson et al; Peace Call (Land of Milk and Honey), Red House 174

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Boston Folk Fest canceled

Folk fest nixed
Yet another victim of tough economic times, next year's Boston Folk Festival has been canceled. Pat Monteith, executive director of the event and general manager of sponsoring radio station WUMB, says organizers decided it wouldn't be fiscally responsible to have one in the fall, especially with no corporate sponsors on board. Now in its 11th year, the festival - which has featured such headliners as Emmylou Harris, Richard Thompson, and Suzanne Vega - could be revived, but Monteith is hesitant to say when or how. "To be very honest with you, I can't even think about another festival until I get the radio station [financially] healthy."

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Joan Baez on Sierra Club Radio

One More about Odetta

An appreciation from Jim Lehrer's News Hour, Dec. 3:

NY Daily News: Odetta Left Message of Hope

Odetta left message of hope


Less than a week before she died, the city's much-loved singer Odetta urged her fans and admirers to keep the faith.

The Thanksgiving message, sent from the Lenox Hill Hospital bed where she died Tuesday of heart disease at 77, underscored her lifetime of commitment, in social activism and song, to what she called positive change.

"The world is trembling under the weight of many problems," she wrote, but she urged everyone to still give thanks for friends and community.

She was exhilarated, friends said yesterday, by the election victory of Barack Obama, whose ascension she considered the fruit of a half-century of activism in which she had played an unrelenting role.

She sang alongside the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. at the 1963 March on Washington, and she had hoped to return to sing at Obama's inauguration, according to her longtime manager, Doug Yeager.

She was known as a folk singer, though she recorded blues, rock, popular and classical music.
"I'm called a folk singer because it's short and easy, I guess," she said in 1987. "I don't mind. But I'm really a song interpreter. We have all kinds of songs going on within us."

With a voice that could range from a whisper to a roar, she became a major influence on artists from Harry Belafonte to Joan Baez and Bob Dylan. John Waters saluted her stature in "Hairspray" with a beatnik played by Pia Zadora who purred, "When I'm high, I am Odetta."

She was nominated for several Grammys and awarded the National Medal of the Arts in 1999.
Brought up in Los Angeles on popular and classical music, she also was drawn to topical folk songs and artists like Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith.

"I learned black history from music," she said, and one of her life missions was to pass along those lessons.

One of her last appearances was in October, when she sang from a wheelchair for tens of thousands in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.

She was a familiar figure in many places around New York, where she lived for much of her life at 110th St. and Fifth Ave.

On the eve of the 1991 Persian Gulf War, she gathered a group of children atthe Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine and told them they needed to tell grownups war is wrong.
Even if no one seems to listen, she said, it's important to raise your voice, and she led them in "This Little Light of Mine."

Married once years ago and divorced, she is survived by a daughter, Michelle Esrick of New York, and a son, Boots Jaffre of Fort Collins, Colo.

Yeager says a memorial service is planned for next month.

Monday, December 8, 2008

TreeHugger Interviews Eliza Gilkyson

TreeHugger Interviews Eliza Gilkyson, Folk Music's Environmental Troubadour
by Trevor Reichman on 12. 6.08

Folk Music Troubadour, Eliza Gilkyson, is currently touring in support of her new release, "Beautiful World", an album which tackles environmental issues, and not timidly. Eliza Glkyson, who has toured with folk greats such as Patty Griffin and Richard Thompson and most recently had 2 songs covered by Joan Baez, offsets all of her touring with carbon credits and also uses a portable solar powered system to power her local shows in Austin, TX. But Eliza doesn't think that is doing enough. Read further for an exclusive interview with Eliza Gilkyson and her perspective on the the possibilities of green touring and a "great correction":

1)TH: At the moment, you are offsetting all of your touring with carbon credits as well as performing in your hometown using a portable solar powered system. What is the next step for you in your future of green touring ? Name one immediate, easily realized goal in your near future, and one extreme, very challenging, far-off, but attainable fantasy of yours in a further future? Don't hold back on this one. Anything goes.

Eliza: A small goal I want to reach by my next release is to use recycled cardboard for the cover. I am proud to say I was the first at the label to push for the jettisoning of plastic jewel cases. But on a larger scale, although I perform via solar when I can at home and practice restraint on the road, I worry about the trendy purchasing of carbon credits and green consumer choices as doing little more than assuaging the consciences of musicians so we can continue to live at ridiculous levels of privilege and advantage in a first world nation that feeds off the disadvantaged third world's resources, whether a group of us minimize our footprints or not. I have had to confront that in my own life just recently.

I consulted with a local solar company to take my house here in Austin off the grid entirely, and my consultant Neal Turley of Sustainable Waves had to remind me, although I could afford a system that was not on the grid, that the righteous thing to do is grid tie in a city so that you are actually giving back into the community. I was truly humbled by that remark, and have thought long and hard about how it illuminates the way I was conditioned to think in a capitalist economic system: as long as I have MY solar panels and MY storage batteries and MY ass is covered then everyone else can either sink or swim. This whole way of thinking is deeply ingrained in our culture via our infatuation with the "American Dream" fantasy, the whole "I-got-mine-now-you-go-get-yours" motivation that has bred an insane and unsustainable level of consumption, self absorption,and corruption in our country.

I see the danger of the green movement falling into another form of the same kind of self-centered thinking. You know, as long as I can use these efficient light bulbs, green products, and fill up my tourbus with biofuel I can still go out and make a ridiculous amount of guilt-free money and live in my oversized solar powered home(or homes) and drive my hybrid Lexus SUV and hey you can do that too and all's well with the world. But no, all is not well with the world. Just look at the stats around who is having a food shortage based on the biofuel demand.
I think it's important for us musicians to ponder the possibility that touring will not be an acceptable usage of any kind of fuel if the future holds the kinds of restrictions necessary for survival. Are we willing to just be the local musicians in the village without the glamorous dream of becoming the latest national whatever? These questions are confronting and possibly extreme, but they set in motion new thoughts on how communities can survive on a smaller scale. As an interesting alternative to touring, one might go have a look at Michael Nesmith's project, Videoranch. But of course we will need fuel to run all those servers.

the rest is at

Sunday, December 7, 2008

12/7/08 Playlist

1. Robin & Linda Williams: Going, Going Gone (Buena Vista), Red House 213
2. Todd Snider: The Ballad of Cape Henry (Peace Queer), Aimless
3. Cosy Sheridan: The Canyon Rim (Eros), Wind River 4042
4. Tom Morello/The Nightwatchman: Battle Hymns (One Man Revolution), Epic 67546

5. Joan Baez (Grammy nominee): The Scarlet Tide (Day after Tomorrow), Bobolink / Razor & Tie
6. Jackson Browne: Looking East (Yes We Can: Voices of a Grassroots Movement), Hidden Beach
7. Kathy Mattea (Grammy nominee): You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive (Coal), Captain Potato

Interview with Laurie Lewis and Craig Smith, recorded 12/5/08
8. Laurie Lewis and The Right Hands: Texas Bluebonnets (Live), Spruce & Maple 2004
9. Laurie and Craig: Weevily Wheat (live)
10. Laurie and Craig: untitled song, written by Laurie and Scott Huffman (live)
11. Laurie and Craig: My Heart's Own Love (live)
12. Laurie: Wood Thrush (live)
13. Laurie and Craig: Willie Poor Boy (live)

Christmas give-aways!
14. Loreena McKennitt: Noel Nouvelet! (A Midwinter Night's Dream), Quinlan Road 12096
15. Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer: The Ditchling Carol (American Noel), Signature Sounds 2011
16. Mindy Smith: My Holiday (My Holiday), Vanguard 79838
17. Alison Brown Quartet with Joe Craven: O'Carolan's / Welcome Christmas (Evergreen), Compass 4470

18 & 19. Rick Lang and Friends: The Season of My Heart & Decorate the Tree with Love (The Season of My Heart), private

The Dreaded Folk Calendar over selections from Wagtail's "One Clear Moment," self

A small remembrance of Odetta;
20. Jack O'Diamonds (Odetta Sings Ballads and Blues), Tradition 1004
21. Bourgeois Blues (Lookin' for A Home), M.C. Records 0044
22. The Fox (To Ella), Silverwolf 012
23. Maria Muldaur with Odetta and others: We Shall Be Free (Yes We Can!), Telarc 83672
24. Midnight Special (The Best of WoodSongs Volume Three), PoetMan

It's Tom Waits's birthday:
25. Road to Peace (Orphans), Anti- 86677, radio promo

More Grammy nominees:
26. Dr. John and The Lower 911: Black Gold (City That Care Forgot), 429 Records
27. Marcia Ball: Peace, Love & BBQ (Peace, Love & BBQ), Alligator 4922
28. Pete Seeger: If It Can't Be Reduced (At 89), Appleseed 1113
29. Peggy Seeger: Dink's Song (Bring Me Home), Appleseed 1106
30. Tom Paxton: Home To Me [Is Anywhere You Are] (Comedians & Angels), Appleseed 1105
31. Eliza Gilkyson et al: Peace Call (Land of Milk and Honey), Red House 174

Friday, December 5, 2008

Love McCutcheon's "Christmas in The Trenches?"

In John's latest newsletter he talks about "a plan in the works for commemorating the events that inspired “Christmas in the Trenches” on December 24th, 2014, the one hundredth anniversary of the Truce.

"This is advanced warning that there will be an event at the site of the 1914 Christmas Eve Truce to commemorate one of the most courageous events ever to happen on a battlefield. Many musicians from all over the world are planning to attend. So save up your frequent flyer miles and keep checking the web site, as we’ll have updates as the date approaches."

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Odetta Dies at 77

From the New York Times, Dec. 3, 2008

Published: December 3, 2008

Odetta, the singer whose deep voice wove together the strongest songs of American folk music and the civil rights movement, died on Tuesday at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. She was 77.

The cause was heart disease, said her manager, Doug Yeager. He added that she had been hoping to sing at Barack Obama’s inauguration.

Odetta sang at coffeehouses and at Carnegie Hall, made highly influential recordings of blues and ballads, and became one of the most widely known folk-music artists of the 1950s and ’60s. She was a formative influence on dozens of artists, including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Janis Joplin.

Her voice was an accompaniment to the black-and-white images of the freedom marchers who walked the roads of Alabama and Mississippi and the boulevards of Washington in the quest to end racial discrimination.

Rosa Parks, the woman who started the boycott of segregated buses in Montgomery, Ala., was once asked which songs meant the most to her. She replied, “All of the songs Odetta sings.”

Odetta sang at the march on Washington, a pivotal event in the civil rights movement, in August 1963. Her song that day was “O Freedom,” dating to slavery days: “O freedom, O freedom, O freedom over me, And before I’d be a slave, I’d be buried in my grave, And go home to my Lord and be free.”

Odetta Holmes was born in Birmingham, Ala., on Dec. 31, 1930, in the depths of the Depression. The music of that time and place — particularly prison songs and work songs recorded in the fields of the Deep South — shaped her life.

“They were liberation songs,” she said in a videotaped interview with The New York Times in 2007 for its online feature “The Last Word.” “You’re walking down life’s road, society’s foot is on your throat, every which way you turn you can’t get from under that foot. And you reach a fork in the road and you can either lie down and die, or insist upon your life.”

Her father, Reuben Holmes, died when she was young, and in 1937 she and her mother, Flora Sanders, moved to Los Angeles. Three years later, Odetta discovered that she could sing.

“A teacher told my mother that I had a voice, that maybe I should study,” she recalled. “But I myself didn’t have anything to measure it by.”

She found her own voice by listening to blues, jazz and folk music from the African-American and Anglo-American traditions. She earned a music degree from Los Angeles City College. Her training in classical music and musical theater was “a nice exercise, but it had nothing to do with my life,” she said.

“The folk songs were — the anger,” she emphasized.

In a 2005 National Public Radio interview, she said: “School taught me how to count and taught me how to put a sentence together. But as far as the human spirit goes, I learned through folk music.”

In 1950, Odetta began singing professionally in a West Coast production of the musical “Finian’s Rainbow,” but she found a stronger calling in the bohemian coffeehouses of San Francisco. “We would finish our play, we’d go to the joint, and people would sit around playing guitars and singing songs and it felt like home,” she said.

She began singing in nightclubs, cutting a striking figure with her guitar and her close-cropped hair.

Her voice plunged deep and soared high, and her songs blended the personal and the political, the theatrical and the spiritual. Her first solo album, “Odetta Sings Ballads and Blues,” resonated with an audience hearing old songs made new.

Bob Dylan, referring to that recording, said in a 1978 interview, “The first thing that turned me on to folk singing was Odetta.” He said he heard something “vital and personal,” and added, “I learned all the songs on that record.” It was her first, and the songs were “Mule Skinner,” “Jack of Diamonds,” “Water Boy,” “ ’Buked and Scorned.”

Her blues and spirituals led directly to her work for the civil rights movement. They were two rivers running together, she said in her interview with The Times. The words and music captured “the fury and frustration that I had growing up.”

Her fame hit a peak in 1963, when she marched with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and performed for President John F. Kennedy. But after King was assassinated in 1968, the wind went out of the sails of the civil rights movement and the songs of protest and resistance that had been the movement’s soundtrack. Odetta’s fame flagged for years thereafter.

In 1999 President Bill Clinton awarded Odetta the National Endowment for the Arts Medal of the Arts and Humanities.

Odetta was married three times: to Don Gordon, to Gary Shead, and, in 1977, to the blues musician Iverson Minter, known professionally as Louisiana Red. The first two marriages ended in divorce; Mr. Minter moved to Germany in 1983 to pursue his performing career.

She was singing and performing well into the 21st century, and her influence stayed strong.

In April 2007, half a century after Bob Dylan first heard her, she was on stage at a Carnegie Hall tribute to Bruce Springsteen. She turned one of his songs, “57 Channels,” into a chanted poem, and Mr. Springsteen came out from the wings to call it “the greatest version” of the song he had ever heard.

Reviewing a December 2006 performance, James Reed of The Boston Globe wrote: “Odetta’s voice is still a force of nature — something commented upon endlessly as folks exited the auditorium — and her phrasing and sensibility for a song have grown more complex and shaded.”

The critic called her “a majestic figure in American music, a direct gateway to bygone generations that feel so foreign today.”

20-minute docu-video of a recent interview: