Sunday, August 30, 2009

8-30-09 Playlist

1. Ricky Skaggs: Pickin' in Caroline (Solo -- Songs My Dad Loved), Skaggs Family
2. Atwater-Donnelly: Going to The West (The Weaver's Bonny), Rabbit Island
3. Chuck Suchy: Faces of Main Street (Unraveling Heart), Little Bluestem 4. Runa: Bedlam Boys (Jealousy), self

5 - 8 from "Fishing Music II," Snake River
5. Chris Coole, Arnie Naiman et al: Lost River
6. Mollie O'Brien et al: Church of The Wandering Stream
7. Jeff Newsom: Fishing in The Dark
8. Rob Ickes, Billy Novick et al: Opening Day

9. Dala: Levi Blues (Everyone Is Someone), Campus Music
10. Dana and Susan Robinson: Delta Queen (Big Mystery), Threshold
11. Beyond the Pale: Extra Spicy (Postcards), Borealis
12. Kim Beggs: Birds and No Bees (Wanderer's Paean -- updated version), Out of A Paperbag
13. Herdman / Hills / Mangsen: The Language of The Bees (concert at the Institute of Musical Traditions), private

Mr. Cheney says the investigations into torture are pure partisanship.
14. David Ippolito: Resolution [The Torture Song] (download), self
15. Billy Bragg: O Freedom (Mr. Love & Justice), Anti-
16. Jack Hardy: Soundtrack (Wry Grass), Great Divide

Who owns the water supply? I read some of Sarah Gilbert's commentary about Fiji bottled water at
17. Evalyn Parry: Bottle This! (Small Theatres), Borealis
18. Rory McLeod: Thirsting for War (Brave Faces), Talkative
19. Karine Polwart & Tim O'Brien: Well for Zoe (Wells for Zoe -- Water for Life), Compass benefit release

"Girl" guitar players:
20. Janis Ian: Play Like A Girl (God and The FBI), Windham Hill
21. Nina Gerber: Peace Medley (Live -- Good Music with Good People), Goatscape
22. Patty Larkin: Not Bad for A Broad (Step into The Light), Philo LP

Ticket giveaway for Rhythm & Roots:
23. Eilen Jewell: One of Those Days (Sea of Tears), Signature Sounds 24. The Duhks: Mighty Storm (Fast Paced World), Sugar Hill
25. Cedric Watson: Cochon de Lait (Cedric Watson), Valcour

The Dreaded Folk Calendar over selections from Steve Martin's "The Crow," Rounder

I read Greg Palast's article about the firing of hurricane expert Ivor van Heerden by Lousiana State University
26. Chris Thomas King: What Would Jesus Do? (Blue Highways Volume One), Blue Highways
27. Mary Chapin Carpenter: Houston (The Calling), Zoe Rounder
28. Truckstop Honeymoon: The Cover of The N.Y.T. (Great Big Family), Squirrel
29. Jackson Browne: Where Were You (Time The Conqueror), Inside 30. Catie Curtis: People Look Around (Long Night Moon), Compass
31. John McCutcheon: Hope Dies Last (This Fire), Appalsongs
32. John Flynn: The Passunder [New Orleans] (America's Waiting), self
33. Eliza Gilkyson et al: Peace Call (Land of Milk and Honey), Red House

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Luckenbach sets Guinness record for most guitars

By Michael Corcoran Sunday, August 23, 2009, 04:28 PM

In 2007, 1,802 Germans played "Smoke On the Water" in unison to enter the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest recorded guitar ensemble.

That record was topped Sunday afternoon at Luckenbach [TX], when 1,859 pickers played "This Land Is Your Land," led by Jimmy LaFave. The "Pickin' For the Record" event was organized by the Voices of a Grateful Nation, a support group for American soldiers and veterans, whose WelcomeHome Project was the beneficiary. Pickers paid $10 each, but they received a t-shirt commemorating their participation.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Woody Guthrie in The Wall St. Journal. Really.

It's His Land Once Again

by Luke Torn

"Those are the leftovers of my husband's business," Irene Harris ­explained to her neighbor Luria Sutera in 1999, describing the heavy cardboard storage barrels, cordoned off by wood and wire, stacked in her Brooklyn tenement storage space. "He was in the record business. When I die, I am going to leave you my collection of records in the basement, and there is some Woody Guthrie down there that no one has ever heard."

Guthrie, a towering singer and activist whose "Dustbowl Ballads" and ubiquitous "This Land Is Your Land" form the bedrock of modern American songwriting, would have turned 97 this summer. Huntington's disease all but silenced him in the late 1950s, eventually claiming his life in 1967, at age 55.

The barrels, holding some 2,000 nickel-plated copper discs, had stood unperturbed for decades, abandoned by ­Herbert Harris, owner of the long-defunct Stinson Record Co. In 1944 Harris, with partner Moe Asch, bankrolled the holy grail of American folk ­music—a series of Woody Guthrie sessions resulting in hundreds of recorded masters, a cultural watershed that ­reverberates to this day.

The rest at

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The New Yorker: "The Return of Leonard Cohen"

State of Grace: Leonard Cohen's Return

Sasha Frere-Jones, New Yorker, August 24, 2009

....Cohen began his musical career suspended between song and speech. In 1967, “Songs of Leonard Cohen” introduced listeners to Cohen’s strong nasal tenor, which suited the casual rouĂ© he conjured on songs like “Suzanne” and “So Long, Marianne.” The production is spare: mostly acoustic instruments and, at Cohen’s request, no drums. Though he is working in Bob Dylan’s shadow, his manner is more relaxed and his visions are slightly less gnomic: “I lit a thin green candle, to make you jealous of me. But the room just filled up with mosquitoes—they heard that my body was free,” he sings, in “One of Us Cannot Be Wrong.”

An unadorned style has served Cohen’s albums best, the voice clean and clearly audible. In 1977, for the album “Death of a Ladies’ Man,” Cohen’s uneasy collaboration with the producer Phil Spector—who excluded him from the final mixing sessions—resulted in a dreadful mix of pop, country, and some weird variant of disco. (Cohen later called it “grotesque.”) By the time of “I’m Your Man,” which came out in 1988, Cohen was composing on keyboard rather than on his nylon-string acoustic guitar. Synthesizers add a bright and lapidary quality that doesn’t always fit the lyrics. But the songs—about desire and aging—are stunning, and Cohen’s voice has shed its honking quality and grown darker and looser, like a tire ripped open.

The rest is at

Sunday, August 23, 2009

8/23/09 Playlist

1. String Sisters: Shetland Fiddle Diva / medley (Live), Compass
2. Michael Troy: Highway (Mill Town Boy), self
3. Alisa Fineman & Kimball Hurd: Yih' Yu L'Ratzon (Faith in Our Love), self
4. Peter Mulvey: Kids in The Square (Letters from A Flying Machine), Signature Sounds

5. Bill Bachmann: Vacation (Big World Out There), self
6. Trina Hamlin: Jacaranda (One Night Stand -- Seattle WA), self
7. Ellis Paul: Rose Tattoo (The Day After Everything Changed), Black Wolf
8. The Pines: Shiny Shoes (Tremolo), Red House

9. Malinky: Dark Horse on the Wind (Flower & Iron), Mad River
10. Stephanie Corby: Love's Not Through with Me Yet (More to Show You), self
11. Bill Frisell: Wildwood Flower (The Best of Bill Frisell Vol I: Folk Songs), Nonesuch
12. Michael Fracasso: Brazos River Blues (Live at The Blue Door), India Records

13. Magpie: Barons of King Coal (In ThisWorld: Looking Back, Moving Forward), Sliced Bread
14. Anthony da Costa: Wall around Baghdad (Typical American Tragedy), self
15. Lindsay Mac: Faith (Stop Thinking), self
16. River City Slim & The Zydeco Hogs: It's Hot in Here (It's Hot in Here), Hog Heaven
17. Rod MacDonald: American Jerusalem (After the War), Blue Flute
18. The Wiggins Sisters: Killing America's Soul (Minnesota), self

Rod Picott & Amanda Shires live in studio:
19. Mean Little Girl (Ruby) -- live
20. Angels and Acrobats - live
21. You're Gettin' to Me - live
22. Amanda Shires: Upon Hearing Violins (West Cross Timbers), self
23. Unwanted Things - live
24. You Can't Talk to Me Like That - live
25. Shake the Walls - live

Dreaded Folk calendar over Bill Frisell’s “The Best of Bill Frisell Vol. I: Folk Songs,” Nonesuch

26. Claudia Schmidt: Beaver Island Jubilee / For the Birds / Replenish (New Goodbyes / Old Helloes), Flying Fish
27. Eliza Gilkyson et al: Peace Call (Land of Milk and Honey), Red House

Sunday, August 16, 2009

8/16/09 Playlist

1.The Wailin' Jennys: Driving (Live at The Mauch Chunk Opera House), Red House
2. Arlo Guthrie: If Ever I Should See The Mountain (Tales of '69), Rising Son
3. The Sweetback Sisters: Red Shoes Blues (Chicken Ain't Chicken), Signature Sounds
4. Chris Stuart & Backcountry: The Streets of Charlottetown (Crooked Man), self

5. Lynn Miles: Night Drive (Black Flowers Volume 1), self
6. Tom Rush with Nanci Griffith: Casey Jones (What I Know), Appleseed
7. Nanci Griffith: Cotton's All We Got (The Loving Kind), Rounder
8. Guy Mendilow Band: La Serena (Skyland), Earthen Groove

It's Deborah Holland's birthday:
9. Deborah: The End of The World (The Book of Survival), Gadfly
10. The Refugees: On My Way (Unbound), Wabuho
11. Deborah: Faded Red Car (The Book of Survival)
12. The Refugees: The Violin Song (Unbound)

13. Joe Pug: Hymn #35 (Nation of Heat EP), self
14. Vienna Teng: Grandmother 'Song (Inland Territory), Zoe Rounder
15. Tony Trischka: Salt River (Territory), Smithsonian Folkways
16. Truckstop Souvenir: For the Coal (Under a Big Blue Sky), self 17. Kathy Mattea: Coal Tattoo (Coal), Thirty Tigers
18. Truckstop Honeymoon: The Cover of the N.Y.T. (Great Big Family), Squirrel

Ticket giveaway for Rhythm & Roots:
19. The Duhks: Magalenha (Fast Paced World), Sugar Hill
20. Big Sandy & Los Straitjackets: Silent Partner (Man of Somebody's Dreams), Yep Roc
21. Eilen Jewell: Shakin' All Over (Sea of Tears), Signature Sounds 22. Cedric Watson: La Vielle Chanson de Mardi Gras (Cedric Watson), Valcour

Domestic violence in the news:
23. Maura O'Connell: I Would Be Stronger Than That (Blue Is the Colour of Hope), Warner Bros 24. Lisa Moscatiello: His Hands (Innocent When You Dream), Happy Cactus
25. Tom Paxton/Anne Hills/Bob Gibson: She Sits on The Table (Best of Friends), Appleseed
26. Connie Kaldor: One Hit (Gentle of Heart), Oak Street
27. Gretchen Peters: Independence Day (downloaded single), self

The Dreaded Folk Calendar over selections from Notorious's "Elkins," Black Socks Press

A beloved tree was felled this past week:
28. Anne Dodson: Big Green Tree (Against the Moon), Beech Hill

Healthcare is going... where?
29. Ian Robb: They're Taking It Away (From Different Angels), Fallen Angle
30. Garnet Rogers: Election Night, North Dakota (At A High Window), Snow Goose

Eliza's playing in Ridgefield on Tuesday and in Brockton on Saturday:
31 & 32. Eliza Gilkyson: Wildewood Spring & Gret Correction (Beautiful World), Red House

33. The Wailin' Jennys: Deeper Well (Live at The Mauch Chunk Opera House), Red House
34. David Olney: Revolution (The Wheel), Loudhouse

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

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Honoring Woody Guthrie Isn't As Easy As It Sounds

Honoring Woody isn’t as easy as it sounds

Portland’s attempts to give Guthrie his due have been thwarted in the past

By Michael Munk, The Portland Tribune, Aug 13, 2009

Congratulations and Godspeed to Nick Sauvie and the Lents Neighborhood Association for proposing to name the Interstate 205 foot and bike path that leads through their neighborhood to the Columbia River for one of its most famous former residents (Rollin’ in Woody’s Shadow, July 30).

Woodrow Wilson Guthrie and his family lived in a rear apartment at 6111 S.E. 92nd Ave. for little more than a month in 1941, but as Steve Law’s article makes clear, that was long enough to produce an explosion of music that, almost 70 years later, continues to evoke our river and region throughout the world.

I am delighted to join Woody’s fans to urge our politicians to respond and honor Lents and the path with his name. But given Portland’s history of reluctance to name its built environment for anyone other than pioneer robber barons, natural-resource speculators and other old white men, we should pay attention to how previous efforts to place Woody’s name on local facilities have fared.

The rest is at

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Good essay about Pete Seeger, including reviews of new publications

Richard Flacks on Pete Seeger

posted August 7, 2009

Pete Seeger turned 90 on May 3, providing the occasion for a huge Madison Square Garden celebratory concert, featuring a wide array of popular musicians singing his songs and honoring his influence. In the two years prior to this event, Seeger had gotten more mainstream attention than he’d received in his previous 70 years of performing. Bruce Springsteen recorded several CDs called “The Seeger Sessions” and simultaneously went on an international tour featuring material drawn from Seeger’s folksong repertory. There was a documentary film bio, released on public TV and theatrically, called “Pete Seeger: The Power of Song.” There’s an ongoing campaign to get him nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

A long adulatory essay on Seeger appeared in The New Yorker and an extended version with the same main title—“The Protest Singer”—is now out as one of three recently published biographies. In addition to the book by Alec Wilkinson, there is a biographical narrative by historian Allan M. Winkler, “To Everything There Is a Season,” and a major updating of David King Dunaway’s “official” biography, “How Can I Keep From Singing,” originally published in 1981.

The attention Pete Seeger is now getting is certainly deserved, given his influence on American music and the nature of his life story. Yet, one feature of that story is that he is one of the least well-known famous persons in America. I use protest music a lot in my teaching about social movements; over the years, I’ve found that fewer than 5 percent of my students at UC Santa Barbara can identify Seeger (and this is probably a higher proportion than one would find in a sample of the wider public). Of course, the attention he’s gotten in recent years has undoubtedly enabled many more to identify him, but he remains paradoxically shadowy, given his importance.

Yet this paradox goes to the heart of what his life has been about.

The rest is at

Sunday, August 9, 2009

8/9/09 Playlist

1 - 3. Phil Rosenthal: Sail Away Ladies, Chord Song, Golden Slippers (A Treasury of Bluegrass and Country Songs), American Melody
4. Rory Block: Terraplane Blues (The Lady and Mr. Johnson), Rykodisc
5. TR Ritchie: Heaven (Wild Horses), Apex
6. Catie Curtis with Mary Gauthier: Hello Stranger (Hello, Stranger), Compass

7. Michael Smith: Tom Dundee (Love Letter on A Fish), Tales from the Tavern
8 & 9. TR Ritchie: A Delicate Balance & I'm Gonna Take It With Me (Wild Horses), Apex

Mike Seeger died on Friday, just before his 76th birthday.
From "True Vine," Smithsonian Folkways 40136
10 - 13. Shouting in Jerusalem, When Sorrows Encompass Me Round, Calico, Early in The Spring

From the new Songs from Sing Out!, V. 53 #1
14. Diana Jones: Better Times Will Come
15. Justin Townes Earle: They Killed John Henry
16. Julie Fowlis: An t-Aparan Goirid's an t-Aparan Ur
17. John Kruth: The Raven-Headed Hunter

It's Cathy Fink's birthday -- these songs are from the new CD made with Marcy Marxer and Christylez Bacon "Banjo to Beatbox," Community Music
18 - 21. Syncopated Washboard Rhythm Song, Soup Soup, Froggy Went A Courtin,' Barnyard Dance

More from Mike Seeger, this time with Paul Brown on "Way Down in North Carolina," Rounder 0983
19 - 22. Make Me A Pallet, Goodbye Little Bonnie, What'll I Do with The Baby O, Way Down in North Carolina

Anniversary of bombing Nagasaki:
23. Jim Page: Hiroshima-Nagasaki Russian Roulette (Visions in My View), Flying Fish LP
24. Utah Phillips: Enola Gay (El Capitan), Philo LP

Anniversary of Nixon leaving office:
24. Tom Paxton: Talking Watergate (New Songs from The Briarpatch), Vanguard LP
25. Charlie King: I Don't Feel Sorry for You, Mr. Nixon (Old Dreams and New Nightmares), CW Records LP

26. Lucy Wainwright Roche: Snare Drum (8 More), self
27. Red Hen: Old Greasy Coat (New Old Time), self

The Dreaded Folk Calendar over selections from Beyond the Pale's "Postcards," Borealis

More from Mike Seeger, this time with many friends, from "The Second Annual Farewell Reunion," Mercury LP
28. with The Strange Creek Singers: I Am A Traveling Creature
29. with The Strange Creek Singers: You'll Find Her Name Written There
30. with Maria Muldaur: Take Me Back to The Sweet Sunny South
31. with Elizabeth Cotten: New Year's Eve Song

32. Darrell Scott: The Devil (Modern Hymns), Appleseed
33. Matraca Berg / Gretchen Peters / Suzy Bogguss: Farther Along (The Sewanee Sessions), self
34. Ben Bullington: White Sulphur Springs (White Sulphur Springs), self
35. Rod Picott & Amanda Shires: Arrows on Your Compass (Sew Your Heart with Wires), self
36. Bruce Robison: The New One (The New World), Premium
37. Eliza Gilkyson et al: Peace Call (Land of Milk and Honey), Red House

Mary McCaslin's interview with Mike Seeger

Mary writes:

In honor of Mike Seeger's memory, here's a youtube link to my radio interview with him during his KZSC visit in 2001....

It is also on

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Mike Seeger has died

Musician Mike Seeger has died at age 75. He was a leading figure in the 20th century resurgence of American traditional music and a noted field collector of rural southern music. He recorded hundreds of musicians in their homes and local performing venues.

Seeger died Friday night at his home in Lexington, Va., of cancer.

Seeger grew up in a renowned musical family, a brother of social activists and musicians Pete and Peggy Seeger.

Paul Brown has more at NPR's site at

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Boston Globe review of Newport

New and old celebrate 50 years of folk at Newport
By James Reed, Globe Staff August 3, 2009

NEWPORT, R.I. - No matter how diverse the programming, there’s always a naysayer who grumbles about the mix of old and new at Newport’s fabled folk festival. This was not the year to complain. To celebrate the event’s golden anniversary, this year dubbed Folk Festival 50, the event was one of the most triumphant and inclusive in recent memory.

And to think it almost didn’t happen. When the festival’s future was in question earlier this year, original executive producer George Wein took back the reins and scrambled to fill two days with an impressive lineup that appealed, in producer Jay Sweet’s words, to “the musical omnivore.’’

The musicians, in particular, acknowledged how the music had come full circle from heritage artists to the ones who will build on their legacy. The Avett Brothers’ Scott Avett mentioned Ramblin’ Jack Elliott’s huge influence on his band. Backstage yesterday, Judy Collins embraced Neko Case upon meeting her for the first time. And nearly everyone praised Pete Seeger, the festival’s headliner on both days and iconic elder statesman of folk who’s kicking hard at 90.

The rest is at

Sunday, August 2, 2009

8/2/09 Playlist

1. Bud and Travis: Cloudy Summer Afternoon (Spotlight on Bud and Travis), Liberty LP
2. Jay Linden: August Night (Satchel), self
3. Cheryl Wheeler: Summer Fly (Pointing at The Sun), DlAS
4. Richard Shindell: A Summer Wind, A Cotton Dress (Courier), Signature Sounds
5. Sara Watkins: Long Hot Summer Days (Sara Watkins), Nonesuch
6. Greg Brown: Summer Evening (Over and Under), Trailer
7. Christine Lavin: A Firefly's Life (single download), self

We lost Sandy Paton last Sunday...
8. Across The Blue Mountain (Sandy and Caroline Paton), Folk-Legacy 1966
9. Rowdy Soul (New Harmony), Folk-Legacy 1987
10. Chilly Winds (Sandy and Caroline Paton), Folk-Legacy
11. May the Road Rise with You (New Harmony), Folk-Legacy

12. Sarah Ogan Gunning: I Have Letters from My Father (Girl of Constant Sorrow), Folk-Legacy 1965
13. Frank Proffitt: Cluck Old Hen (Frank Proffitt), Folk-Legacy 1962
14. Howard W. Mitchell: Six Modal Tunings for The Traditional Dulcimer (The Mountain Dulcimer: How to Make It and Play It -- After A Fashion), Folk-Legacy 1966
15. Sara Grey: Fiddlers Green (Sara Grey with Ed Trickett), Folk-Legacy 1970

16. Ed Trickett: River of The Big Canoe (People Like You), Folk-Legacy 1982
17. Ann Mayo Muir: When the Lady Mary Sails (So Goes My Heart), Folk-Legacy 1985
18. Joe Hickerson: Doney Gal (Folk Songs and Ballads Sung By Joe Hickerson...), Folk-Legacy 1970
19. Cilla Fisher / Artie Tresize: False Lover Won Back (For Foul Day And Fair), Folk-Legacy 1978

20. The Brilliant Inventions: Dream about Your Girlfriend (Standing Room), CD is out of print but song is available at iTunes
21. Buffy Sainte-Marie: Working for The Government (Running for The Drum), Appleseed 1117
22. Sam Baker: Palestine II (Cotton), Music Road
23. Lucy Wainwright Roche with Martha Plimpton: Hungry Heart (8 More), self

24. The Low Anthem: Cage The Songbird (Oh My God, Charlie Darwin), Nonesuch
25. Lucy Wainwright Roche: Saddest Sound (8 Songs), self
26. The Brilliant Inventions: Isn't It Worth It (Have You Changed), self
27. Paul Sachs: Bridges Burning (Refuge), self

The Dreaded Folk Calendar over selections from Sharon Isbin's "Journey to The New World," Sony Classical

28. Donna Ulisse: Child of The Great Depression (Walk This Mountain Down), Hadley Music Group
29. Crosby Tyler: Warmth of My Tears (10 Songs of America Today), Bohemia
30. Pierce Pettis: Pastures of Plenty (That Kind of Love), Compass
31. May Erlewine: The Turning (Love Labor), Fox on A Hill

32. James Talley: The Girls from Kelowna (Heartsong), Cimarron download
33. Gretchen Peters with Tom Russell: Wolves (One to The Heart, One to The Head), Scarlet Letter Records
34. Jim Photoglo: Kudzu (Is It Me?), Grifftone
35. Amy Speace: The Weight of The World (The Killer in Me), Wildflower
36. Alastair Moock: Woody's Lament (Fortune Street), CoraZong
37. Eliza Gilkyson et al: Peace Call (Land of Milk and Honey), Red House