Friday, September 25, 2009

Americana Music Awards in the Wall St. Journal

Honest, Unfettered Americana
Jim Fusilli, 9/23/09

Though the Americana Music Association celebrated its 10th anniversary here last week, few proponents of Americana music know how to describe it.

"I have no idea," said Rosanne Cash when I asked.

"I still don't know to this day," replied Buddy Miller, who was nominated for four AMA awards, won three and ran the house band at last week's awards ceremony at the Ryman Auditorium.

"If you look up the definition of the word 'Americana,' there isn't any," said Asleep at the Wheel's Ray Benson from the Ryman stage.

Earlier in the day, WSM disc jockey Eddie Stubbs reminded an audience at the convention center here that it was Hank Williams's birthday and, in a voice as soothing as an old sweater, added: "If he emerged today, country music would ignore him and Americana would embrace him."

More at

Two articles about Leonard Cohen

An in-concert collapse in Madrid:

Performing in Israel despite boycott:

Buddy Miller, John Fogerty receive Americana awards

September 18, 2009NASHVILLE, TN (AP)

Buddy Miller won four awards and veteran John Fogerty received a special honor Thursday night at the eighth annual Americana Music Association Honors and Awards Show.

Miller, a singer-songwriter, won artist of the year; album of the year for "Written in Chalk" with wife Julie Miller; duo/group of the year with his wife; and song of the year for "Chalk" performed with Patty Griffin.

Fogerty, formerly of Creedence Clearwater Revival, was honored with a lifetime achievement award for songwriting.

During a four-decade career, he has written such hits as "Proud Mary," "Have You Ever Seen the Rain," "Fortunate Son," "Who'll Stop the Rain," "Bad Moon Rising" and others.

The rest is at

Monday, September 21, 2009

Keep an ear out for these youngsters

Arkansas Folk-DJ Mike Flynn reports:

"I just got back from the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield Kansas...which is not news of interest...but something didhappen there that was fun.

"A young man from North Carolina entered the old time fiddlecontest and won. He entered the mandolin contest and won.He also entered the flat-pick guitar contest and won that as well. That's never happened before at Winfield.

"His name is Bryan Dowell from NC. He's 18 years old andhe's a polite gentleman...who plays great guitar.

"The other fun thing was...the 2nd place flat-pick winner wasBrandon Davis from VA...and 3rd place was won by EricHarden from NC...and these three young men play in a bandtogether.

"The crowd loved listening to the three young men play together on stage one."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mary Travers Has Died

Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary dead at 72
By Jay Lindsay, Associated Press Writer September 16, 2009

BOSTON --Mary Travers, who as one-third of the hugely popular 1960s folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary helped popularize such tunes as "Puff (The Magic Dragon)" and "If I Had a Hammer," died in a Connecticut hospital Wednesday after battling leukemia for several years. She was 72.
The band's publicist, Heather Lylis, said Travers died at Danbury Hospital.

....Mary Allin Travers was born on Nov. 9, 1936 in Louisville, Ky., the daughter of journalists who moved the family to Manhattan's bohemian Greenwich Village. She quickly became enamored with folk performers like the Weavers, and was soon performing with Pete Seeger, a founding member of the Weavers who lived in the same building as the Travers family.

With a group called the Song Swappers, Travers backed Seeger on one album and two shows at Carnegie Hall. She also appeared (as one of a group of folk singers) in a short-lived 1958 Broadway show called "The Next President," starring comedian Mort Sahl.

The rest is at

Sam Hinton obit and appreciation

Folksinger, songwriter, marine biologist, author, calligrapher and cartoonist Sam Hinton died in California on Thursday Sept 10 at 92.

L.A.Times obituary at,0,6650349.story

NPR's appreciation at

Sunday, September 13, 2009

9/13/09 Playlist

1. Matraca Berg / Gretchen Peters / Suzy Bogguss: Hammer and Nail (Sewanee Sessions), EP self
2. Berggren / Kirk / Shaw: Hezzie Daley's (North River - North Woods), Sleeping Giant
3. The Boat Band: Bright Morning Star (Take Me over The Tide), Harbourtown
4. Levon Helm: Growin' Trade (Electric Dirt), Vanguard

5. Angel Band: I'll Sing This Song for You (With Roots & Wings), Appleseed
6. Greg Brown: Sampson (Dream City), Red House
7. May Erlewine: Talkin' (Love Labor), Earthwork
8. Donna Hebert: La Grondeuse / La Grande Gigue Simple (In Full Bloom), self

In the area soon:
9. Tony Bird: Zambezi-Zimbabwe (Sorry Africa), Philo
10. Battlefield Band: The Emigrant (The Road of Tears), Temple
11. Balfa Toujours: Freight Train Blues (La Pointe), Rounder

Birthday boy and girl:
12 & 13. Faith Petric: Amelia Earhardt’s Last Flight & The Joy in Living (Faith’s Favorites), Center Records
14 & 15. Joel Mabus: You Voted Red & How Can I Keep from Singing (No Worries Now), Fossil

16. Hugh Blumenfeld: Hole in The Sky (Mr. Jekyll & Dr. Hyde), self 17. Kat Eggleston: One (Speak), Paperboat
18. David Kleiner: Jack Hardy's Brother (The News That's Fit to Sing), self
19. Kitty Donohoe: There Are No Words (Northern Border), Roheen
20. Ken Waldman: September 11, 2001 (single), self

21. Robin Greenstein: Hole in The Ground (single), Windy
22. Tom Paxton: The Bravest (single), self
23. Deborah Liv Johnson: This Final Ride (The Good and Bad of It), Mojave Sun
24. Mary Chapin Carpenter: Grand Central Station (Between Here and Gone), Columbia
25. Bruce Springsteen: You're Missing (The Rising), Columbia

26. John McCutcheon: Our Flag Was Still There (single download)
27. Mark Erelli: The Only Way (The Only One), Signature Sounds EP
28. Jack Kid: So Many Angels 911 (Blackjacks), self

The Dreaded Folk Calendar over selections from "Sowing" by Wild Oats (self)

Tribune article -- Study:Toxic dioxin in S. Vietnam still pollutes
29. Kate Wolf: Agent Orange (Give Yourself to Love), Kaleidoscope LP

30. Chris Smither: Surprise, Surprise (Time Stands Still), Signature Sounds
31. The Resophonics: Truth to Tell (Last Long Winter), self
32. Balfa Toujours: Les Tracas de Todd Balfa (La Pointe), Rounder
33 & 34. Woody Guthrie: Harriet Tubman's Ballas parts 1 & 2 (My Dusty Road), Rounder
35. Bell & Evans: Rocks and Water (Let's Do Something....), Native and Fine
36. Tom Chapin: We Will Adjust (Let the Bad Times Roll), Sundance
37. Eliza Gilkyson et al: Peace Call (Land of Milk and Honey), Red House

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Last Festival update for the season...

unless something new comes along!

Sept 19: Hartland Hollow Bluegrass, East Hartland CT

(860) 844-8526

Sept 19 & 20: Joe Davies Folk Festival, Middleborough MA

Oct 16 - 18: Eisteddfod New York

Washington Post article about "writing" a song with Christine Lavin

The Lyrical Miracle

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Things I've always really, really wanted to do before I die:

1. Muscle an inside fastball into the gap in right-center for a stand-up triple, driving in the tying and winning runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning in the seventh game of the World Series. For the Yankees.

2. Write a song.

I have never entirely given up on either goal, but I have to admit that with every passing year, each has become more unlikely.

You'd think the song might be within my grasp, but I have discovered there is an enormous difference between writing the sorts of things I write and writing a song, especially the part involving having deep human feelings that rhyme.

The closest I have come to being a songwriter is knowing one. Christine Lavin, the folk singer, is a good friend of mine. Chris has no problem whatsoever having deep human feelings and turning them into songs,...

The rest is at

Friday, September 11, 2009

Tribute for Sandy Paton

A Memorial and Musical Tribute to/for Sandy Paton will be held on Saturday, 10 October 2009, at Music Mountain, Falls Village, CT.

The memorial for Sandy begins at 1 pm & will include a memorial, potluck meal, song circle, & possibly a dance. Directions to Music Mountain can be found below. All are welcome.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

9/6/09 Playlist

1. Ken Waldman: Fire and Water (55 Tunes 5 Poems), self
2. Missy Raines & The New Hip: Angeline (Inside Out), Compass
3. Cheryl Wheeler: Pointing at The Sun (Pointing at The Sun), self
4. The Pines: Spike Driver Blues (Tremolo), Red House

5. Neko Case: Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth (Middle Cyclone), Anti-
6. Arlo Guthrie with The Dillards: Tom Joad (Thirty-two Cents Postage Due), Rising Son
7. Celeste Krenz: Early (My Mother and Me), High Horse
8. David Kleiner: Rooting for A Loser (The News That's Fit to Sing), self

9. Susan McKeown & Lorin Sklamberg: My Little Belly (Saints & Tzadiks), World Village
10. Kieran Kane: Way Down Below (Somewhere Beyond the Roses), Compass
11. Jonathan Edwards: Red Light, Green Light (Rollin' Along -- Live in Holland), Strictly Country
12. Hot Club of Cowtown: The Magic Violin (Wishful Thinking), Thirty Tigers

Playing in the area this next week:
13. CornBread: Education Blues (Clearing the Tracks), self
14. Tom Rush with Nanci Griffity: Casey Jones (What I Know), Appleseed
15. The Bluelights: Down and Out (Rub That Rhythm), self
16. Ellis Paul: The Cotton's Burning (The Day after Everything Changed), Black Wolf
17. Hot Club of Cowtown: Reunion (Wishful Thinking), Thirty Tigers

In honor of the nonsense about schools / school boards not exposing school kids to the possibly dangerous message from President Obama on Tuesday:
18. Tom Paxton: What Did You Learn in School Today? (Ramblin' Boy), Elektra LP

19. Tom Chapin: Boys in The Choir (Let the Bad Times Roll), Sundance
20. Kat Eggleston: Careless (Speak), Paperboat
21 & 22. Joel Mabus: Poison in The Glass & Extra Poison (No Worries Now...), Fossil
23. Cara Dillon: P Stands for Paddy [Lament for Johnny] (Hill of Thieves), Proper American

24. John Thibodeau: Gone to Charleston (Passin' Through), Ruination
25. Diana Jones: Something Crossed Over (Better Times Will Come), Proper American
26. Nathan Rogers: Land of The Living Skies (The Gauntlet), Borealis

The Dreaded Folk Calendar over selections from Ken Waldman's "55 Tunes 5 Poems," self-released

27. Girlyman: Storms Were Mine (Everything's Easy), self
28. Tom Russell: The Most Dangerous Woman in America (Blood and Candle Smoke), Shout Factory
29. Susan McKeown & Lorin Sklamberg: Heart's Blood (Saints & Tzadiks), World Village
30. Kieran Kane: Marriage of Convenience (Somewhere beyond The Roses), Compass

It's their birthday:
31 & 32. Buddy Miller: With God on Our Side & This Old World (Universal United House of Prayer), New West
33 & 34. Peter Mulvey: Shoulderbirds, Bears, Mailman (Letters from A Flying Machine), Signature Sounds
35. Eliza Gilkyson et al: Peace Call (Land of Milk and Honey), Red House

Friday, September 4, 2009

Topic records – 70 years of giving a voice to the people

Topic is the oldest independent label in Britain, if not the world. Not bad for a Marxist party offshoot that was started in a basement

Alexis Petridis,, Sunday 23 August 2009

Tony Engle is not a man much given to hyperbole, which is unusual in a record label boss. In fact, after 36 years in the job, he's still not entirely sure that he should be running a record label at all: he worries that the whole business of recording the kind of music he does runs contrary to its very essence. "The thing about folk music is that it existed prior to microphones," he says. "The singers I really loved, when they were performing in their heyday, records had hardly been invented. The music existed to serve the community. In a way, recording almost undermines certain aspects of the music. It's a strange contradiction that exists within it." He sighs. "But if you love the music and you love records, like me, you're forced to get into this circular contradiction all the time."

Even he is forced to concede that his label, Topic, is unlike any other. It's not just its advanced age, although that's certainly a factor. Topic is currently celebrating its 70th birthday. No one seems entirely sure whether this makes it the oldest independent record label in the world, but it's certainly the oldest indie label in Britain – a fact it is now celebrating with Three Score and Ten, a beautifully packaged book containing seven CDs, biographies of its most famous artists and as many photographs of men in caps playing accordions as a human being will ever need.

Nor is it Topic's bizarre stable of artists, although, again, you would be hard-pushed to find a label with a roster remotely like it. As you might expect, given Topic's venerable age, virtually every major figure in the British folk revival has recorded for them, from Ewan MacColl to Eliza Carthy, by way of Anne Briggs, June Tabor, the Watersons, Martin Simpson and Davy Graham, as well as innumerable traditional singers captured in priceless, aged "field recordings".

More at

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Peter Yarrow on The Role of Song and Health Care Reform

The Role of Song in Advancing Health Care Reform

Peter Yarrow, Songwriter, founder of Operation Respect, September 2, 2009

A physician-activist, Dr. Rick Lippin, knowing my deeply held belief that songs that touch peoples' hearts can bring them together to advance causes such as social justice and societal equity, posed a question to me about which songs might appropriately be applied to advance the health care reform movement in America. Dr. Lippin, a leader of national, significant, dialogue correctly cited "We Shall Overcome " as the signature song of the Civil Rights Movement. Peter, Paul & Mary and many others sang this song on behalf of that historic effort during the 1960s, a movement that culminated in landmark legislation and a sea change in what Americans came to realize might be accomplished through grassroots activism which, in those days, was inevitably accompanied by song.

The rest is at
(the page has embedded videos as well)