Sunday, March 29, 2009

3/29/09 Playlist

1. Ann Mayo Muir: Julian of Norwich (The Music of Ann Mayo Muir), Folk-Legacy 1006
2. Richard Thompson: Blackleg Miner (1000 Years of Popular Music), Beeswing 03
3. Bonnie Raitt: Give It Up or Let Me Go (Give It Up), Warner Bros 2643
4. The Brainstormers: It's All Gone Now (The Brainstormers), Simon Slick

5. Stephanie Bettman: I Love Ya Honey (Get Close to Me), self
6. Steve Martin: Hoedown at Alice's (The Crow), self
7. The Bluelights: Atomic Cocktail (Rub That Rhythm), self
8. Polk Miller & His Old South Quartette: Jerusalem Mournin' (Polk Miller), Tompkins Square 2028

9. Anne Hills: Lover's Knot (Angle of The Light), Flying Fish 70648
10. Jeff Black: Round and Round (Mining), download only
11. Shannon Lambert-Ryan: The Singer / The Butterfly (Across the Pond), self
12. Gurf Morlix: Music You Mighta Made (Last Exit to Happyland), self

Interview with Kathy Mattea (and guitarist Bill Cooley), recorded on March 21, 2009:
13. Blue Tattoo (live)
14. Red-Winged Blackbird (live)
15. Beautiful Fool (live)
16. The L & N Don't Stop Here Anymore (Coal), Thirty Tigers
17. Bill Cooley with Kathy Mattea: Madman Across The Water (The Return Journey), Nancy Lee Music

Kathy John's Ice Cream Parlor, a "regional landmark for 40 years near the University of Connecticut," has closed:
18. Carrie Newcomer: Betty's Diner (Betty's Diner), Philo 1245
19. Suzanne Vega: Tom's Diner (download)
20. Short Sisters: Diner (A Little Gracefulness), Black Socks Press
21. Claudia Schmidt: Somebody Else's Restaurant (Wings of Wonder), Red House 144

Dreaded Folk Calendar over selections from Elkins by Notorious, who will play at the Sounding Board 4/4

22. Terri Hendrix (Iron Horse 3/31): What Is the Color of The Soul (The Spiritual Kind), Wilory 30008
23. Jeffrey Foucault (Roaring Brook 4/4): Billy the Bum (Shoot the Moon Right Between the Eyes), Signature Sounds 2018
24 & 25. Cosy Sheridan (Northwest Park 4/4): Row & Weekend Workshop (Eros), Wind River 4042
26. Andrew McKnight (Vanilla Bean 4/4): Safe Home (Something Worth Standing For), Falling Mountain 1050
27. Notorious: Gelem, Gelem / Aoleanul De La Petresti (Elkins), Black Socks 27

A proposed ash dump in Franklin CT has stirred up debate -- the con side says that the landfill would be dangerously close to a pristine natural area [which] sits atop a local aquifer ... and adjoins the banks of the Shetucket River, which supplies drinking water to the nearby town of Sprague." The pro side says "the DEP requires an ash landfill to be above an aquifer [?], adjacent to a Class B stream or river and far from any source of public drinking water so that any unexpected leaks would be CARRIED SAFELY AWAY [my emphasis] [?].
28. Chuck Brodsky: Take It Out Back (Two Sets), Waterbug 84
29. Jean Ritchie: Black Waters (None but One), 1977 Sire LP
30. Pete Seeger: My Dirty Stream (Songs for The Earth), MUSE Association
31. Cindy Kallet: Salmon River (This Way Home), Stone's Throw STM-2
32. Chris Williamson: Waters of Spokane (Real Deal), Wolf Moon 65406
33. Tom Paxton: When It's Gone It's Gone (It Ain't Easy), Flying Fish 70574
34. Kim & Reggie Harris and Magpie: Living Planet (Spoken in Love), Long Tail 03

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

Documentary "Before the Music Dies"

Free video on Hulu -- "This documentary explores the reason why so few companies currently control the music played on the radio and for sale at retail stores...."

It's about an hour and a half -- visits a lot of aspects of the industry and the non-industry.

Language-alert for the more sensitive.......

Sunday, March 22, 2009

3/22/09 Playlist

Week two of WHUS’s mostly-annual fund-drive (Big Thanks to all of our contributors). Songs 1 – 13 are from premium-CDs.

1. Robin & Linda Williams: Southern Shores (Buena Vista), Red House 213
2. Danny Schmidt: Swing Me Down (Instead the Forest Rose to Sing), Red House 216
3. Jorma Kaukonen: Operator (River of Time), Red House 217

4. Eliza Gilkyson: Runaway Train (Beautiful World), Red House 212
5. Geoff Bartley: Send Me to the 'Lectric Chair (Blackbirds in The Pie), self
6. Wagtail: River Go By (One Clear Moment), Thunder Ridge

7. Christine Lavin: Good Thing He Can't Read My Mind (I Don't Make This Stuff Up), Yellow Tail 232
8. Harvey Reid: Cindy / Cripple Creek (Artistry of the 6-String Banjo), Woodpecker 110
9. Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson: Monkey on A Wire (Rattlin' Bones), Sugar Hill 482

10. Kristin Andreassen: Crayola Doesn't Make A Color for Your Eyes (Kiss Me Hello), self
11. The Gordons: 300 Miles from Hazard (Our Time), Inside-Out 49
12. Shawn Mullins: Se That Train (Honeydew), Vanguard 79830

13. Beppe Gambetta: Madame Guitar (Rendez-vous), Gadfly 516

Guest: Jim Mercik, playing at in Stafford Springs Sunday 3/29:
14. Hot Time in The Old Town Tonight
15. Is This Enough
16. Buckets of Rain
17. February 11, 1861

March 22 is World Water Day:
18. Karine Polwart & Tim O'Brien: Well for Zoe (Wells for Zoe / Water for Life), Compass 4493
19. Rory McLeod: Thirsting for War (Brave Faces), Talkative
20. Moxy Fruvous: River Valley (Bargainville), Warner Bros Canada 93134
21.Evalyn Parry: Bottle This! (Small Theatres), Borealis 181

The Dreaded Folk Calendar over selections from Harvey Reid's "Artistry of the 6-String Banjo," Woodpecker 110

6th Anniversary of you know what:
22. Bruce Springsteen: Last to Die (Magic), Columbia 17060
23. Steve Earle: Rich Man's War (The Revolution Starts...Now), Artemis E-squared
24. The Mammals: Wartime Blues (Bootleg Sixpack), self

20 years to the month: Australia has an massive oil spill on March 14, harking back to the Exxon Valdez spill in Prince William Sound on March 24, 1989:
25. Sally Rogers: Cordova (When Howie Met Sally), Flying Fish 70538
26. Bob Bossin: Cleaning Up The Oil (Gabriola V0R 1X0), Nick 007

Two more premium-CDs:
27. Shout Sister Shout: Slow Down (Hit That Jive), M.C. Records 0063
28. Todd Burge: Do You Know Which Way My World Goes Round? (My Lost and Found), self

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

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pete Seeger's 90th birthday

Mike & Ruthy have just sent out this note:

"Tickets just went on sale for this amazing concert (at Madison Square Garden)!

"Here's the huge cast of characters who will be performing:

"Pete Seeger, Bruce Springsteen, Dave Matthews, Eddie Vedder, John Mellencamp, Juanes, Ani DiFranco, Arlo Guthrie, Bela Fleck, Ben Bridwell, Ben Harper, Billy Bragg, Billy Nershi, Bruce Cockburn, Emmylou Harris, Joan Baez, Keller Williams, Kris Kristofferson, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Michael Franti, Patterson Hood, Preservation Hall Jazz Band with Del McCoury, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Richie Havens, Steve Earle, Taj Mahal, Tom Morello, Warren Haynes, Abigail Washburn & The Sparrow Quartet, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Dar Williams, Guy Davis, Jay Ungar & Molly Mason, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Larry Long, Mike & Ruthy, Native American Indian Cultural Alliance, NYC Labor Chorus, Scarlet Moore, Silvio Rodriguez, Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, Tom Chapin, Tom Paxton, Tommy Sands, Tony Trischka, and Toshi Reagon.

"All proceeds to benefit Hudson River Sloop Clearwater.

"Sunday May 3
Madison Square Garden"

Monday, March 16, 2009


Last night during the Sunday Night Folk Festival segment of WHUS's Radiothon fund-drive, we heard from listeners from all around Connecticut, a few in Massachusetts, one in Bermuda, and one in Mexico (on vacation from Connecticut, in truth).

Some were long-time supporters and some were calling for the first time; some requested premiums and some did not; some will receive CDs, others photographs, some gift certificates. You can find out more at where descriptions / pictures / lists of these premiums can be found.

I had worried that we might be preempted by basketball next Sunday, but now it looks as if there will be a full show. If you didn't have the chance to call in last night, please do next week!

Grateful thanks to one and all --

Sunday, March 15, 2009

3/15/09 Playlist

Tonight’s was the first of two possible fund-drive shows (depending on next week’s sports preemptions). All of the songs but the last were from CDs available to pledgers.

1. Harvey Reid: Sly Damsel Serenade (Blues & Branches), Woodpecker
2. Susan Werner: Mercy Mercy Me (Classics), self
3. Archie Fisher: Final Trawl (Windward Away), Red House 124

4. Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson: The Devil's Inside my Head (Rattlin' Bones), Sugar Hill 4048
5. Amy Gallatin & Stillwaters: Bb Polka (Phoenix), Happy Appy 7
6. Robin & Linda Williams: Maybelle's Guitar and Monroe's Mandolin (Buena Vista), Red House 213

7. Danny Schmidt: Grampa Built Bridges (Instead the Forest Rose to Sing), Red House 216
8. Pete Seeger: Tzena, Tzena, Tzena (At 89), Appleseed 1113
9. Pete Seeger & Bruce Springsteen: Ghost of Tom Joad (Sowing The Seeds), Appleseed 1102

10. Adrienne Young: All for Good (Room to Grow), Addie Belle
11. Greg Greenway: Sick and Tired (Standing on The Side of Love), self
12. Caroline Doctorow: Hard-Lovin' Loser (Another Country), Narrow Lane

13. The Duhks: Mighty Storm (Mighty Storm) Sugar Hill 4042
14. Kallet - Epstein - Cicone: Farthest Field (Heart Walk), Overall
15. Si Kahn: To Hear Doc Watson Play (Thanksgiving), Strictly Country 63

16. Eliza Gilkyson: Great Correction (Beautiful World), Red House 212
17. Jorma Kaukonen: More Than My Old Guitar (River of Time), Red House 217
18. Steppin' in It: Break of Day (Simple Tunes for Troubled Times), Fox on A Hill

19. Robin & Linda Williams: Going, Going, Gone (Buena Vista), Red House 213
20. Danny Schmidt: Serpentine Cycle of Money (Instead the Forest Rose to Sing), Red House 216
21. Amy Gallatin and Roger Williams: Wind in The Valley (Something 'Bout You), Happy Appy 6

The Dreaded Folk Calendar over selections from "On Common Ground" by Cillian Vallely & Kevin Crawford (self)

22. Eliza Gilkyson: Wildewood Spring (Beautiful World), Red House 212
23. Emma's Revolution: Peace, Salaam, Shalom (Kennebunkport: Songs of Peace), self
24. Cindy Kallet & Grey Larsen: Playing with A Full Deck (Cross the Water), Sleepy Creek 105

25. Carrie Newcomer: Don't Push Send (The Geography of Light), Philo1253
26. Tim O'Brien: How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live (Always Lift Him Up -- Tribute to Blind Alfred Reed), Proper 006

This last was chosen because the Ides of March, today, is my own father’s birth anniversary.27. Missy Raines: Ides of March -- for Dad (Inside Out), Compass 4498

Billy Bragg on Phil Ochs

Another Folk DJ, Graham Rice of WJFF in the Catskills, posted information about a BBC program where "Billy Bragg looks at the life of Phil Ochs, who was part of the 1960s folk revival, a friend and rival of Bob Dylan, and co-instigator of the Chicago riots of 1968.

"You can hear it here (it starts after 1 min 45 secs):

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Béla Fleck documentary tunes up banjo's image

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Béla Fleck, a New Yorker by birth and a banjo player by choice, has always been aware of the stereotypes. It's one reason he adapted the banjo to almost every musical genre imaginable, including classical, jazz, bluegrass, pop, country and folk. Fleck has won 10 Grammys (and been nominated in more Grammy categories than any other musician in history), so he's the ideal person to make a documentary about the history of the instrument - a history that leads to slavery and Africa, where Fleck traveled for five weeks with a film and recording crew.

"Throw Down Your Heart," which opens Friday at the Roxie Theater, is an eye-opener. Fleck plays with musicians in Uganda, Tanzania, the Gambia and Mali, often performing in public squares where children gather to witness the strange and beautiful instrument he's brought from America. In turn, Fleck is awestruck by their presence and the acoustic instruments he gets to accompany, including a 12-foot xylophone, a three-string lute called the akonting (which is a likely antecedent of the banjo) and palm-size pianos called mbiras.

"It's the coolest thing I've ever gotten to do," Fleck says in a phone interview. "It was the greatest adventure of my life."

The adventure wasn't without hitches - the biggest occurring when Fleck's record company pulled its sponsorship just weeks before Fleck and his crew were set to depart from the United States. Fleck ended up funding the trip himself, spending $100,000 for the cost of flying to and around Africa, filming, recording the performances for an album, and paying the singers and musicians he played with.

The rest is at

3/8/09 Playlist

1. Steve Martin with Vince Gill & Dolly Parton: Pretty Flowers (The Crow), self
2. Caroline Doctorow: The Quiet Joys of Brotherhood (Another Country), Narrow Lane
3. Gideon Freudmann: Old Haunt (Sonic Surf), Octagon 208
4. Kathy Mattea [at Jorgensen 3/20 & 3/21): The L & N Don't Stop Here Anymore (Coal), Thirty Tigers

5. Liz Carroll & John Doyle: John Cahill's Jig / Tommy Doyle's (Double Play), Compass 4502
6. Jack Hardy & David Massengill: Losers (Partners in Crime), Great Divide
7. Lisa Markley: Skylark (One Word), Soona Songs 013
8. Joe Crookston: Brooklyn in July (Able Baker Charlie & Dog), Milagrito 78

9. Denice Franke: Brand New Sky (Gulf Coast Blue), Certain Records 4
10. Houston Jones: Sleepy Armadillo (Calico Heart), Summerhill 004
11. Feufollet: Femme L'A Dit (Cow Island Hop), Valcour 5
12. Jonathan Byrd: The Law & The Lonesome (The Law & The Lonesome), Waterbug 85

Interview with Carrie Newcomer, recorded Friday 3/6/09
13. There Is A Tree (The Geography of Light), Philo 1253
14. Geodes (live in studio)
15. Leaves Don't Drop, They Just Let Go (live in studio)
16. Silver (live in studio)
17. Be True (Regulars & Refugees), Philo

Throughout the show I gave away tix to Mattea's concert on March 20:
18. Kathy Mattea: Red-Winged Blackbird (Coal), Thirty Tigers

How will you choose? All are playing in CT on 3/14:
19. Gordon Bok (CT Audubon Society): Wild Birds (And So Will We Yet), Folk-Legacy 116
20. Priscilla Herdman (Roaring Brook): Blue Boat Home (Into the Stars), Stardreamer 2001
21. Brian Peters (Branford Folk Society): Hind Horn (demo), self
22. Kallet / Epstein / Cicone (Sounding Board): Mammals (Only Human), Overall Music 2

The Dreaded Folk Calendar over selections from Liz Carroll & John Doyle's "Double Play," Compass 4502

A producer of one of WHUS's public affairs programs called in with the news that a women's delegation had been allowed in to Gaza -- she forwarded a report and I read it in honor of International Women's Day.

23. Kathy Mattea: You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive (Coal), Thirty Tigers

These two songs have some musical similarities -- I forgot to bring in Bill Morrissey's "Birches," which would have fit very well between them.
24. Paul Sachs (Buttonwood Tree 3/13): Mean Streets (MP3),
25. Anais Mitchell: Old Fashioned Hat (The Brightness), Righteous Babe 53

Is YOUR state losing all sorts of human services in this economic meltdown?
27. Ian Robb: They're Taking It Away (From Different Angels), Fallen Angle 01
28. Garnet Rogers: Election Night: North Dakota (At A High Window), Snow Goose 1121
29. Chip Taylor: Theme from An American Hero (New Songs of Freedom), Train wreck 0029

30. Eliza Gilkyson et al (I forgot to cue up my usual closing song): Highway 9 (Land of Milk and Honey), Red House 174

Thursday, March 5, 2009

John Cephas obit, Richmond Times-Dispatch

Legendary Piedmont blues guitarist John Cephas dies at 78

By Ellen Robertson, Richmond Times-Dispatch, March 5, 2009

John "Bowling Green" Cephas, the legendary Piedmont blues guitarist and baritone vocalist who was recently honored as a 2009 Library of Virginia African American Trailblazer, died Wednesday morning at home in Woodford in Caroline County.

The much-honored and widely traveled 78-year-old Washington native, who recently retired because of illness, had been unable to attend the library awards ceremony last week. He was breathing with the aid of oxygen in recorded remarks to the audience that said how touched he was by the honor.

Born into a deeply religious family, he took his nickname from the Virginia town of Bowling Green, where he was reared hearing gospel music. He grew up listening to his grandfather's stories of slave ancestors on the Eastern Shore and his mother's singing. He learned about the blues from a guitar-picking aunt. "Blues music is truth," Mr. Cephas once said.

He learned the alternating thumb-and-finger picking style that is the trademark of East Coast or Piedmont blues from his cousin, David Taleofero, a well-known Caroline County guitar player. Mr. Cephas began to imitate music he heard on records -- ragtime-era music and early Piedmont talents such as Blind Boy Fuller, Blind Blake, the Rev. Gary Davis, Blind Lemon Jefferson and Tampa Red influenced his style.

The complete article is at

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

John Cephas dies

From a member of the Seattle Folklore Society:

"I was asked to help spread the word, after having gotten it on the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop list. I hate to inform you that John Cephas passed away earlier today. I don't have a lot of information, butI'm sure more will be coming in the near future."

I've searched for more information, but haven't found anything yet -- I'll send on whatever I find. Meantime, here's John teaching a little Skip James guitar:

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

NYC Tribute to Odetta, 2/24/09

Listeners might remember my reading a note from Christine Lavin about the concert, urging listeners to go; *I* wanted to go!

Remembering Odetta, Who Sang of Freedom

By MELENA RYZIK, New York Times, February 26, 2009

The poet Maya Angelou sat perched on a tall stool in Riverside Church in Manhattan on Tuesday night, both mimicking and remembering the folk singer Odetta, her longtime friend, who died on Dec. 2 at 77.

“We were both tall black ladies with attitude, and most people were really scared of us,” Ms. Angelou told a crowd that filled the pews and balconies as Pete Seeger warmed up offstage. “To be in the ’50s, black and turned away from almost everything and to say, ‘I have come here to stay’ and to be a sister of somebody who had courage is no small matter.”

The occasion was a celebration of an artist who gave rhythm and voice to the civil rights era — who “sang us into freedom,” as Ms. Angelou put it. The event had both a neighborly and a historical feel. Many in the crowd were New Yorkers who had grown up to Odetta’s music, listening to her and her guitar in Greenwich Village coffeeshops, in concert halls or in Central Park. Born Odetta Holmes in Birmingham, Ala., she had made Manhattan her home.
Others came to honor her wider social and musical legacy, represented onstage by a who’s who of folk, blues and gospel musicians and other performers. Besides Mr. Seeger, there were Harry Belafonte, Geoffrey Holder, the singer and guitarist Steve Earle and the vocal group Sweet Honey in the Rock.

“Odetta would dig this,” Mr. Earle said, taking in the generations filling the 1,900 seats in the church’s cavernous Gothic nave. He performed “This Land Is Your Land” in an all-out jam with Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary, Tom Chapin, Josh White Jr. and Emory Joseph. It was one of several numbers that the audience joined in.

Mr. Belafonte gave perhaps the most stirring speech. “The paper would not yield,” he said of his effort to write down his remarks. “The ink blurred, because the space left by Odetta could not be easily verbalized.”

The rest is at,%20Who%20Sang%20of%20Freedom&st=cse

and there's an available video on that page, with clips from Seeger, Earle, Belefonte, Angelou.

Monday, March 2, 2009

2/1/09 Playlist

1. Chris Stuart & Backcountry: Crooked Man (Crooked Man), Backcountry 842
2. Burning Bridget Cleary: Cat's Meow (Everything Is Alright), self
3. Rachael Davis: Sweetwater Sea (Antebellum Queens), Fox on A Hill 04

4. Marley's Ghost: Sugar Trade (Four Spacious Guys), self
5. Samantha Crain & The Midnight Shivers: Calm Down (Songs in The Night), Ramseur 2727
6. The Victor Mourning: Zachariah (Fire Fire Demos), self
7. Naomi Sommers: Mama's House (Gentle As The Sun), American Melody 5124

8. Eric Brace & Peter Cooper: Omar's Blues #2 (You Don't Have to Like Them Both), Red Beet 009
9. Ana Egge: Carey's Waltz (Road to My Love), Grace / Parkinsong 45439
10. The Avett Brothers: Murder in The City (The Gleam II), Ramseur 2724
11. Pete Huttlinger: I've Got Rhythm (Fingerstyle Guitar sampler # 54)
12. Dar Williams: Holly Tree (Promised Land), Razor & Tie 29962

Guest Stan Sullivan, in to promote his concert at Roaring Brook, with Jim Mercik, on Mar 7:
13. Mockingbird (live in studio)
14. Summertime (live)
15. Church Steeples (live)
16. Port Cafe (Do You Like the Rain), Sunnyland 2 (at concerts only)
17. Off Chatham Bars Break (live)

18. Kitty Donohoe: Winter Dark (Northern Border), Roheen 7
19. Trent Wagler & Jay Lapp: Whistle Blows (Adrienna Valentine), self
20. Carrie Newcomer: Lazarus (The Geography of Light), Philo 1253
21. Paul Sachs (Buttonwood Tree 3/13): Mean Streets (MP3 download), self

I read little of "Military ends ban on coverage of war dead" by Julian E. Barnes, Tribune Newspapers
22. Jez Lowe & The Bad Pennies: Dover Delaware (Sight Rhymes), promo
23. Brad Yoder: Formerly / Guardian Angel (duo), promo
24. Steve Quelet: Foxhole (House of Wax), self
25. Darrell Scott / Danny Thompson / Kenny Malone: With A Memory Like Mine (Live in NC), Full Light 0403

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

26. Anais Mitchell: Santa Fe Dream (The Brightness), Righteous Babe 053
27. James Talley: Santa Fe Blues (Heartsong), Cimarron 2008
28. Eliza Gilkyson: Lights of Santa Fe (Your Town Tonight), Red House 205
29 & 30. Anais Mitchell: 1984 & Two Kids (Hymns for The Exiled), Waterbug 58

31. Priscilla Herdman (Roaring Brook 3/14): Ideas Are Like Stars (Into the Stars), Stardreamer 1
32. Cindy Kallet / Ellen Epstein / Michael Cicone: Life Comes In & Swampie's Fancy / Househunting (Heart Walk), Overall OM 3
33. Carrie Newcomer: Don't Push Send (The Geography of Light), Philo
34. Eliza Gilkyson et al: Peace Call (Land of Milk and Honey), Red House 174