Keep scrolling down the page for our blog/program guide.
Pics, bios, reviews, album art and links to where you can purchase the music featured on the show!
Show/blog #159- “Honey, Hot New Stuff, On The Coast”
Local Honey- The Bloody Nerve- “Red” (E.P.)
A Taste Of Honey- Lizz Wright- “Dreaming Wide Awake”
I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)- The Four Tops- “The Ultimate Collection”
Single Drop Of Honey- Abigail Washburn- “Song Of The Traveling Daughter”
Honey, Honey- The Milk Carton Kids- “The Ash & Clay”
Money Honey- Delbert McClinton- “Room To Breathe”
Tupelo Honey- Van Morrison- “Still On Top: The Greatest Hits” (Box Set)
Hot New Stuff:
Did You See My Baby- Guy Davis- “Juba Dance”
I’m A Shy Guy- Ed Reed- “I’m A Shy Guy”
Blue Freightliner- Watermelon Slim and the Workers- “Bull Goose Rooster”
Going Real Slow- The Fran McGillivray Band- “Some Luck”
Restless- Ventana Son- “Ventana Son”
Blame It On The Dog- Tim Grimm- “The Turning Point”
On The Coast:
Gulf Coast Blues- Joe Ely- “Twistin’ In The Wind”
South Coast- Tom Russell- “Song Of The West: The Cowboy Collection”
Coastin’- Lonnie Mack- “From Nashville To Memphis”
South Coast Of Texas- Guy Clark- “Keepers”
West Coast Blues- Mimi Fox and Greta Matassa- “Two For The Road”
Virginia Coastline- Rebecca Frazier- “When We Fall”
** Keep scrolling down the page for our informative blog/program guide. Follow along as you listen! **
Local Honey- The Bloody Nerve
Working together on unrelated projects in the past, Nashville villeins Stacey Blood and Laurie Ann Layne have formed Nashville’s crucial rock n’ roll duo, The Bloody Nerve, in 2013. The two voices that merge in reckless harmony also stand bold in their own solo discourses. The result is a song-driven rock n’ roll duo that predicates its style on rhythm and motion.
” Well that’s really easy. We make rock n’ roll. The heavy in the ass kind. The bluesy kind. Not this white bread campfire stuff you hear now with all the beards and shit” says Blood about how they set themselves apart.
In true Texas legacy, Blood started his rock n’ roll journey in the D/FW metroplex. It was here he began truly fleshing out his sound as a solo artist and making ends meet as a drive time DJ for many commercial radio stations around the state. In 2004 Blood left radio completely, arriving in Nashville at the beckoning of long time friend and producer, David Norris.
A mutual friend of Norris, Laurie Ann Layne cut her teeth in the R&B world in New York working with various producers, but never quite unleashing her capabilities. In 2006 she hit the map after recording vocals on India Arie’s Grammy nominated “Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationships”.
Working and living at their own Overbar Studios on the outskirts on Nashville, the duo has produced and released their first EP “Red” with its follow up “Blue” due out in December.
A Taste Of Honey- Lizz Wright
Vocalist Lizz Wright delivers a sultry R&B performance that’s divinely layered in gospel and jazz, and keenly similar to the work of Oleta Adams and Jill Scott. Wright was born in 1980 in the Georgia town of Hahira, and her musical tastes blossomed early on. Her father served as the pianist and musical director at the local church, and he encouraged his daughter to absorb the soulful dispositions of classic hymns. Eventually, blues and jazz were added to Wright’s musical plate, and by high school she was earning awards in countless choir competitions. Wright was coming into her warm, smooth singing voice, so her decision to attend Georgia State in Atlanta to study voice at a professional level wasn’t surprising. Atlanta became her home and her voice became her solace. In 2000, Wright joined the vocal quartet In the Spirit. The group was quickly hailed as the best jazz group in the city, motivating Wright to hone her craft all the more. Two years later, Verve inked Wright a deal. Her impressive singing style was captured on her debut, Salt, the following spring. Dreaming Wide Awake followed in June 2005.
-MacKenzie Wilson, AllMusic.com
The smoky, sizzlingly soulful rural Georgian created an immediate and well-deserved critical firestorm with her 2003 debut Salt; the L.A. Times wasn’t overstating it when they said, “She walked onstage at the Hollywood Bowl a virtual unknown…Fifteen minutes later, she walked off a star.” Like her more (so far, but maybe not for long) renowned labelmate Diana Krall, Lizz Wright is a brilliant interpreter who can cover rock classics (Neil Young’s “Old Man,” the Youngbloods’ “Get Together”) as if they were fresh new generational statements, and even give an emotional urgency to fluffy classics like “A Taste of Honey” (done all swampy here). She even works wonders with her transcendent twist on Ella Jenkins’ “Wake Up Little Sparrow,” turning the tune into a meditation on the bluesy realities of love. But she is also an inspired songwriter in her own “wright,” creating the resonating and heartrending, Norah Jones-like “Hit the Ground,” with Jones’ writer Jesse Harris, and other instantly seductive tracks like a soaring “Trouble” (the first song she ever wrote on guitar) and hauntingly dark title tune. These latter two, easily on par with the original material, shouldn’t be so deep in the mix, and Wright should definitely include more originals as time goes on. Clearly aware that he has a future legend with a one in a million voice on his hands — and that anything getting in the way of that intimate emotional connection would be criminal — producer Craig Street provides only the sparsest and down-home of productions.
-Jonathan Widran, AllMusic.com
I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)- The Four Tops
The Four Tops’ story is one of longevity and togetherness: these Motown legends teamed up in high school and spent over four decades without a single personnel change. In between, they became one of the top-tier acts on a label with no shortage of talent, ranking with the Temptations and the Supremes as Motown’s most consistent hitmakers. Where many other R&B vocal groups spotlighted a tenor-range lead singer, The Four Tops were fronted by deep-voiced Levi Stubbs, who never cut a solo record outside of the group. Stubbs had all the grit of a pleading, wailing, gospel-trained soul belter, but at the same time, the Tops’ creamy harmonies were smooth enough for Motown’s radio-friendly pop-soul productions. From 1964-1967, The Four Tops recorded some of the Holland-Dozier-Holland team’s greatest compositions, including “Reach Out, I’ll Be There,” “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch),” “Standing in the Shadows of Love,” “Bernadette,” and “Baby I Need Your Loving.” The group’s fortunes took a downturn when their chief source of material left the label, but they enjoyed a renaissance in the early ’70s, which saw them switching to the ABC-Dunhill imprint. Regardless of commercial fortunes, they kept on performing and touring, scoring the occasional comeback hit.
The Four Tops began life in 1953 (some accounts say 1954), when all of the members were attending Detroit-area high schools. Levi Stubbs and Abdul “Duke” Fakir went to Pershing, and met Northern students Renaldo “Obie” Benson and Lawrence Payton at a friend’s birthday party, where the quartet members first sang together. Sensing an immediate chemistry, they began rehearsing together and dubbed themselves the Four Aims. Payton’s cousin Roquel Davis, a budding songwriter who sometimes sang with the group during its early days, helped them get an audition with Chess Records in 1956. Although Chess was more interested in Davis, who went on to become Berry Gordy’s songwriting partner, they also signed the Four Aims, who became The Four Tops to avoid confusion with the Ames Brothers.
-Steve Huey, AllMusic.com
Single Drop Of Honey- Abigail Washburn
If American old-time music is about taking earlier, simpler ways of life and music-making as one’s model, Abigail Washburn has proven herself to be a bracing revelation to that tradition. She—a singing, songwriting, Illinois-born, Nashville-based clawhammer banjo player—is every bit as interested in the present and the future as she is in the past, and every bit as attuned to the global as she is to the local. She pairs venerable folk elements with far-flung sounds, and the results feel both strangely familiar and unlike anything anybody’s ever heard before. To put it another way, she changes what seems possible.
The rustic, wide-ranging sounds of singer/songwriter Abigail Washburn appear so genuine and natural, they must come from a person who grew up surrounded by folk and bluegrass. The way Washburn developed her style is much more complicated, however, as it involves China, lost banjos, and the rock group Collective Soul. Although Washburn grew up singing, she had no desire to become a professional musician, and part-time gigs as a backup vocalist in reggae, gospel, and R&B bands were nothing more than fun activities. But a trip to China in 1996 changed all that. Picking up the native language faster than she imagined and falling in love with Chinese culture, the young Washburn began to change her priorities. Reconsidering the culture of her own homeland, she bought a banjo and decided to explore the rich heritage of folk and bluegrass music. Mastery of the instrument didn’t happen right away, and fans of Washburn’s banjo style might be shocked to learn she went years without even touching the instrument. Later, she was living in Vermont and working as an activist when her good friends the Cleary Brothers lost their banjo player after scheduling a tour of Alaska. Blowing the dust off her banjo, Washburn began a crash course in playing the instrument, eventually joined the Cleary Brothers, and was soon off on her first tour.
Performing in front of an audience fit like a glove, and soon Washburn was assuming lead vocals as well. With the tour completed, Nashville was the budding musician’s next stop. While living there, she continued her banjo studies and began to write songs. In 2004, she met Jing Li Jurca, who would help her write her first song in Chinese, as well as K.C. Groves, a founding member of the old-timey string band Uncle Earl. Washburn joined the second incarnation of Uncle Earl and appeared on the band’s 2005 album, She Waits for Night. Keeping her solo options open, Washburn then entered her song “Rockabye Dixie” into the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at MerleFest.
-David Jeffries, AllMusic.com
Honey, Honey- The Milk Carton Kids
the Milk Carton Kids are a contemporary folk duo from Los Angeles, California. Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan formed the group in early 2011, shelving their solo careers in favor of a collaborative project that focused on harmonized vocals, entwined acoustic guitars, and rootsy songwriting. From the very beginning, the Milk Carton Kids worked fast, releasing a live album (Retrospect) in March 2011 and returning three months later with their full-length studio debut, Prologue. Both recordings were released for free via the band’s website. The guys toured heavily, too, pulling double duty as Joe Purdy’s opening act and backing band during a spring 2011 tour before launching a headlining tour of their own after Prologue’s release.
Despite earning comparisons to Simon & Garfunkel, the Civil Wars, and the Everly Brothers, the Milk Carton Kids’ minimalist, down-home material had more in common with Gillian Welch and David Rawlings’ duets. As a result, Pattengale and Ryan smartly marketed themselves to the Americana crowd.
-Andrew Leahey, AllMusic.com
“gorgeous contemporary folk”
“A sweetly dazzling variation on close-harmony vocals”
- New York Times
“Absolute mastery of their craft”
- Los Angeles Times
“It’s in the intellectual sophistication of their songs that their home environment can be observed, making The Milk Carton Kids an option for purists unsatisfied with some of the pop tendencies seeping in to the genre. ”
“The Ash & Clay is a further example of the duo’s ability to create songs that are both intimate and powerful, bittersweet and inspiring.”
- Performer Magazine
“The sweetness and beauty of two voices singing in harmony, the delicate interplay of two acoustic guitars, and the beauty and strength of great songwriting.”
- Mix Magazine
Money Honey- Delbert McClinton
The venerable Delbert McClinton is a legend among Texas roots music aficionados, not only for his amazing longevity, but for his ability to combine country, blues, soul, and rock & roll as if there were no distinctions between any of them in the best time-honored Texas tradition. A formidable harmonica player long before he recorded as a singer, McClinton’s career began in the late ’50s, yet it took him nearly two de`cades to evolve into a bona fide solo artist. A critics’ darling and favorite of his peers, McClinton never really became a household name, but his resurgence in the ’90s helped him earn more widespread respect from both the public at large and the Grammy committee.
Delbert McClinton was born in Lubbock, Texas, on November 4, 1940, and grew up in Fort Worth. Discovering the blues in his teenage years, McClinton quickly became an accomplished harmonica player and found plenty of work on the local club scene, where musicians often made their living by playing completely different styles of music on different nights of the week. His most prominent early gig was with the Straitjackets, the house band at a blues/R&B club; it gave McClinton the opportunity to play harp behind blues legends like Howlin’ Wolf, Jimmy Reed, Sonny Boy Williamson II, and Bobby “Blue” Bland. In 1960, McClinton’s cover of Williamson’s “Wake Up Baby” made him the first white artist to have a record played on the local blues station KNOK. McClinton’s harmonica was prominently featured on Fort Worth native Bruce Channel’s 1962 number one smash “Hey! Baby”; brought along for Channel’s tour of England, McClinton wound up giving harp lessons to a young John Lennon.
-Steve Huey, AllMusic.com
Tupelo Honey- Van Morrison
Equal parts blue-eyed soul shouter and wild-eyed poet-sorcerer, Van Morrison is among popular music’s true innovators, a restless seeker whose incantatory vocals and alchemical fusion of R&B, jazz, blues, and Celtic folk produced perhaps the most spiritually transcendent body of work in the rock & roll canon. Subject only to the whims of his own muse, his recordings cover extraordinary stylistic ground yet retain a consistency and purity virtually unmatched among his contemporaries, connected by the mythic power of his singular musical vision and his incendiary vocal delivery: spiraling repetitions of wails and whispers that bypass the confines of language to articulate emotional truths far beyond the scope of literal meaning.
George Ivan Morrison was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on August 31, 1945; his mother was a singer, while his father ardently collected classic American jazz and blues recordings. At 15, he quit school to join the local R&B band the Monarchs, touring military bases throughout Europe before returning home to form his own group, Them. Boasting a fiery, gritty sound heavily influenced by Morrison heroes like Howlin’ Wolf, Brownie McGhee, Sonny Boy Williamson, and Little Walter, Them quickly earned a devout local following and in late 1964 recorded their debut single, “Don’t Start Crying Now.” The follow-up, an electrifying reading of Big Joe Williams’ “Baby Please Don’t Go,” cracked the U.K. Top Ten in early 1965. Though not a major hit upon its original release, Them’s Morrison-penned “Gloria” endures among the true classics of the rock pantheon, covered by everyone from the Doors to Patti Smith.
-Jason Ankeny, AllMusic.com
Music is spiritual. The music business is not.
In order to win you must be prepared to lose sometime. And leave one or two cards showing.
You can’t stay the same. If you’re a musician and a singer, you have to change, that’s the way it works.
I learnt from Armstrong on the early recordings that you never sang a song the same way twice.
Every performance is different. That’s the beauty of it.
There is no black-and-white situation. It’s all part of life. Highs, lows, middles.
Hearing the blues changed my life.
I never bought the commercial thing, at any stage of the game.
Even today, skiffle is a defining part of my music. If I get the opportunity to just have a jam, skiffle is what I love to play.
Large audiences did not suit my low-key approach.
My ambition when I started out was to play two or three gigs a week. And that’s what I’m doing.
When I started you were more in touch with the people you were playing to. There wasn’t the distance or the separation that there is now.
Did You See My Baby- Guy Davis
Whether Guy Davis is appearing on “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” or nationally syndicated radio programs such as Garrison Keillor’s, “A Prairie Home Campanion”, “Mountain Stage” or David Dye’s,“World Café”., in front of 15,000 people on the Main Stage of a major festival, or teaching an intimate gathering of students at a Music Camp, Guy feels the instinctive desire to give each listener his ‘all’.
His ‘all’ is the Blues.
The routes, and roots, of his blues are as diverse as the music form itself. It can be soulful, moaning out a people’s cry, or playful and bouncy as a hay-ride.
Guy can tell you stories of his great-grandparents and his grandparents, they’re days as track linemen, and of their interactions with the infamous KKK. He can also tell you that as a child raised in middle-class New York suburbs, the only cotton he’s picked is his underwear up off the floor.
He’s a musician, composer, actor, director, and writer. But most importantly, Guy Davis is a bluesman. The blues permeates every corner of Davis’ creativity.
Updating the rural blues tradition for the modern era, Guy Davis was among the most prominent ambassadors of African-American art and culture of his generation, additionally winning great acclaim for his work in the theater. The son of the noted actors, directors, and activists Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, he was born in New York City on May 12, 1952; though raised in the city, Davis was frequently regaled with stories of Southern country life as a child, and over time became so enamored of the music of Blind Willie McTell, Skip James, Mississippi John Hurt, and others that he taught himself guitar. As a 13-year-old experiencing his first Buddy Guy concert, Davis’ own fate as a bluesman was sealed, especially after he learned his distinctive fingerpicking style from a nine-fingered guitarist he met on a train traveling from Boston to New York some years later.
In 1978, Davis recorded his debut LP Dreams About Life, produced for the Folkways label with the assistance of the legendary Moses Asch; around the same time he also began pursuing a career as an actor, landing a recurring role on the daytime soap One Life to Live and also appearing in the 1984 hip-hop film Beat Street. Long seeking to combine his shared love of music and acting, in 1991 Davis finally found a project that fulfilled all of his ambitions — Mulebone, the Broadway production of a Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes collaboration which included a score by Taj Mahal. Two years later, Davis earned rave reviews for his work in the title role of the off-Broadway production Robert Johnson: Trick the Devil, with his portrayal later winning the Blues Foundation’s W.C. Handy “Keeping the Blues Alive” Award.
-Jason Ankeny, AllMusic.com
Photo courtesy of Richard Dowdy, ©2010
I’m A Shy Guy- Ed Reed
Growing up in Watts, California in the 1930s and 40´s provided a rare musical learning environment. I was in high school talent shows with “Little Esther” Phillips and Bobby Nunn of the Coasters. I learned to sing chord changes from the man who would become jazz master Charles Mingus while he was minding his sister´s kids across the street from my house.
Alienated by teachers who wanted me to go to shoe shop when I wanted to study debate, I left high school before graduation and joined the Army where I became addicted to heroin.
I served four stints in San Quentin and Folsom prisons on drug-related charges. I think, partly due to my love of jazz, I was able to survive those ordeals. In two of my incarcerations, I was a featured singer in the warden´s show performing with an inmate big band with Art Pepper soloing on all of my tunes. When I wasn´t doing time, I did many “open mikes” with jazz greats like Wardell Gray, Art Farmer, Hampton Hawes, Dexter Gordon, and others.
Ed Reed didn’t make his recording debut until just before his 78th birthday in 2007 with the widely acclaimed “Ed Reed Sings Love Stories,” followed in 2008 by his second CD, “The Song Is You.” Both recordings are exquisitely conceived and tenderly executed collections of sophisticated tunes from the Great American Songbook. All his CD’s were released on his indie label, Blue Shorts Records.
The third CD, “Born to Be Blue” (2011), in the words of one reviewer, “possesses all the distilled emotion and narrative coherence of a jazz masterpiece.”
His fourth CD, a tribute to the 1940s music of the King Cole Trio and their music (2013) was released to high critical acclaim, includling a 4-star DownBeat review and selection as a DownBeat Editor’s Pick.
Reed was born on February 2, 1929, in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1936, the family relocated to Los Angeles where his father worked as a waiter on the Southern Pacific Railroad and was active in the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. At age 11, Reed learned how to sing to chord changes from his neighbor’s younger brother, then-teenage bassist Charles Mingus. The bebop bug bit Reed around 1944, when he first heard Charlie Parker on record. He began to sing on talent shows hosted by pianist Hampton Hawes and others at the Club Alabam and Last Word on Central Avenue and the Trophy Dash in Hollywood, and on amateur nights at the Lincoln Theater. At 17, he dropped out of school, ran away from home, and joined the army. While stationed at Oakland Army Base, he sold marijuana to supplement his meager military income and started to use heroin. He left the service after 30 months with a general discharge. Back in Los Angeles, Reed and his first professional engagements as a vocalist with a combo led by now-legendary trumpeter Dupree Bolton, but his addiction to drugs quickly undermined his singing career.
Ed Reed spent more than a decade of his life behind bars for crimes related to heroin addiction, yet those years weren’t entirely wasted, as he had the opportunity to rub shoulders—and even perform—with such jazz greats as Art Pepper, Dexter Gordon, Frank Morgan, and Frank Butler. Reed’s is a story of the triumph of the human spirit over great adversity.
Reed has been clean and sober for the past 27 years and is a health educator working with addicts, alcoholics, and their families.
Reed started singing again publicly in the early 1990s at Bay Area restaurants. In 2005, he attended JazzCamp West where New York-based multi-instrumentalist Peck Allmond first heard him and convinced him to record. This encounter resulted in “Ed Reed Sings Love Stories,” produced by Bud Spangler, followed a year later with “The Song Is You.” Allmond, who plays numerous instruments on both CDs, wrote the arrangements for both albums and also produced the second CD.
His latest CD, “I’m a Shy Guy” is a tribute to the King Cole Trio and their music. As a shy, self conscious adolescent, Reed found it easier to “talk” to girls on the phone by singing King Cole Trio ballads he heard on the radio. When the Trio came to his high school and met with members of the school choir after the performance, Reed was too shy to say hello or shake the hand of his hero, Nat Cole, when Cole stopped to talk to him.
In just a few short years, Ed Reed’s music has been critically acclaimed, reviewed in numerous print and online jazz publications (including Downbeat, Jazziz, and JazzTimes to name a few), Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Times, and Boston Globe.
-Publicist, Terry Hinte, sonicbids.com
Blue Freightliner- Watermelon Slim and the Workers
Bill “Watermelon Slim” Homans has built a remarkable reputation with his raw, impassioned intensity. HARP Magazine wrote “From sizzling slide guitar…to nitty-gritty harp blowing…to a gruff, resonating Okie twang, Slim delivers acutely personal workingman blues with both hands on the wheel of life, a bottle of hooch in his pocket, and the Bible on the passenger seat.” Paste Magazine writes “He’s one hell of a bottleneck guitarist, and he’s got that cry in his voice that only the greatest singers in the genre have had before him.”
The industry agrees on all fronts. Watermelon Slim & The Workers have garnered 17 Blues Music Award nominations in four years including a record-tying six in both 2007 & 2008. Only the likes of B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Robert Cray have landed six in a year and Slim is the only blues artist in history with twelve in two consecutive years. In Spring 2009 he was the cover story of Blues Revue magazine. Now, Watermelon Slim is making more waves with Escape From the Chicken Coop, his first-person account of the days he spent driving a truck. It is just one of many instances of a life spent changing gears.
Watermelon Slim (his real name is Bill Homans) was born in Boston but raised in North Carolina, where, he says, he was first exposed to the blues at the age of five. He sang in choirs and glee clubs as a child, but he began seriously turning to music after a tour of duty in Vietnam that ended in 1970. He independently released the furiously antiwar album Merry Airbrakes in 1973. Although he has spent most of his adult life as a blue-collar laborer (mostly as a truck driver), Homans still found a whole lot of time for academia, earning degrees in history and journalism from the University of Oregon and a master’s degree in history from Oklahoma State University. He founded a blues band, Fried Okra Jones, in the late ’90s and has fronted them with his raw, impassioned blues singing, harp playing, and impressive National Steel guitar style (which he plays left-handed). His songs feature subtle, intelligent twists (he is a member of MENSA, after all), while remaining undeniably in the blues tradition.
-Steve Leggett, AllMusic.com
Going Real Slow- The Fran McGillivray Band
We started playing folk, roots and blues venues in the late 1970s and we appeared at the Cambridge Folk Festival in 1977 following the release of our album “Into the Light”.
In the mid 1990s we formed the urban blues band So Long Angel, releasing two CDs, “Would it Matter” and “Falling”, and touring extensively. In recent times Mike and I have been playing mostly as a duo, enjoying the intimacy of this style and producing two CDs “Restless” and “The Road that you Believe In”, which have been very well received and were great fun to record.
Last year, we toured the UK as members of the Spikedrivers Blues Roots Revue and had such a ball that we decided to expand our sound a little, so we’ve got together with Roger Nunn, the drummer from So Long Angel to form the Fran McGillivray Band. We’re loving playing as a trio, with Roger switching between full kit and djembe . We think we produce a highly distinctive sound, with lots of scope for dynamics, interplay and rhythmic improvisation. In addition to original songs, our live set features our take on songs by Little Walter, Robert Johnson and Willie Dixon as well as numbers by some of the great women of the blues – Bessie smith, Big Momma Thornton, Etta James and Memphis Minnie.
We’re really pleased with the new Fran McGillivray Band CD “Some Luck”, released in June 2013, which is made up mainly of original songs written by Mike and myself, some featuring special guest Alan Glen blowing some great harmonica. The songs have a broad range of tones, textures and themes, but they’re all rooted in the music we love – the Blues.
Restless- Ventana Son
This is the debut album from central coast California native Adam Zerbe, aka “Ventana Son”. The songs here are a collection of freestyle born lyrics and grooves founded on an acoustic guitar and presented to you in an electrified sea sway pulse. Enjoy!
Blame It On The Dog- Tim Grimm
Tim Grimm has toured and recorded with his friend, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, appeared with Harrison Ford in the film Clear and Present Danger, and has shared the stage with writer and poet Wendell Berry. His recording, The Back Fields was named Best Americana Album in the 2006 Just Plain Folks Music Awards in Los Angeles (the largest and most diverse music awards in the world). Named 2000’s “BEST DISCOVERY in Roots/Americana Music” by The Chicago Sun-Times, and “2004 MALE ARTIST of The Year” by the Freeform American Roots DJs, his songs and performances have established him as a unique voice in Americana music. Each of his past 5 recordings have reached the top of the Folk or American-roots charts. Grimm walks the fine line between folk and country, while maintaining a strong footing in tradition. We hear the rural rumblings that have shaped his life, but we are also invited in to a bigger picture, as evident in so much of his work. Critics searching for comparisons most often cite Johnny Cash, Woody Guthrie and (Nebraska era) Bruce Springsteen. Tim is an award-winning songwriter, and actor on stage and screen . After several years working in Los Angeles (where he co-starred for 2 seasons on the NBC drama Reasonable Doubts and appeared in several films), Tim returned home to Indiana. He grew up in the woods and small town settings of southern Indiana, son of schoolteachers and grandson of farmers, and his return home was a conscious choice to live a life of significance rather than one of “success’. He now lives with his wife and sons on an 80 acre farm close to where he grew up. Tim’s songs are full of the rural rumblings that have shaped his life—rich with descriptive details, and sung with warmth and intimacy—recognizing the inextinguishable national romance with the idea of the family farm and the vanishing landscape of rural America.
Gulf Coast Blues- Joe Ely
Country-rock singer/songwriter/guitarist Joe Ely was born Earle R. Ely on February 9, 1947, in Amarillo, Texas. His family had worked for the Rock Island Line railroad dating back to the start of the century. When he was 12, the family moved to Lubbock, Texas, where his father ran a used clothing store. Inspired by seeing Jerry Lee Lewis perform when he was a child, Ely aspired to a musical career, and he briefly took violin and steel guitar lessons before turning to the guitar. His father died when he was 14, and his mother was institutionalized for a year due to the trauma, so he and his brother were forced to stay with relatives in other cities. When the family came back together in Lubbock, he took a job washing dishes to bring in some money.
He also dropped out of school and began playing music professionally in local clubs, forming a band called the Twilights that became successful enough for him to quit being a dishwasher. Soon after, however, he became sufficiently restless to begin traveling, at first to other cities in Texas, then California, and later New York, with even a trip to Europe working for a theatrical company. This peripatetic period in his life lasted a full seven years, from 1963 to 1970. In the summer of 1971, back in Lubbock, he teamed up with a couple of singer/songwriter friends with whom he was living, Butch Hancock and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, along with some other musicians, to form the Flatlanders, a country-folk group. They attracted interest from the small Nashville record label Plantation Records and in March 1972 went to Nashville and cut an album that Plantation barely released, credited to Jimmie Dale & the Flatlanders. (The album is reputed to have been issued only as an eight-track tape.)
-William Ruhlmann, AllMusic.com
Joe Ely, like fellow Texans Billy Joe Shaver, Guy Clark, and Townes Van Zandt, is pure originality. An artist whom other artist seek to emulate, he never disappoints. With this release, Ely continues his wild ride into the heart and soul of a man and the landscape he inhabits. Effective as a songwriter and performer, Joe Ely became more potent with each passing year. His diversity buoys him up as he works his way through both the dark and the light. The title cut, “Up on the Ridge,” and “You’re Workin’ for the Man” display his ability to cast a deep shadow upon life’s more rugged passages. “Sister Soak the Beans” and “If I Could Teach My Chihuahua to Sing” are light and humorous, reflective of Ely’s geography, Texas, and create a balance that too few artists ever find. With “Gulf Coast Blues” and a wonderful honky tonk concerto, “I Will Lose My Life,” Ely proves to be a master painter who creates his songs from a vast palette of colors, textures, and experiences.
-Jana Pendragon, AllMusic.com
South Coast- Tom Russell
Americana singer/songwriter Tom Russell was born in Los Angeles in 1950. Raised on the cowboy music of the American West, he grew up to be a talented songwriter, and began issuing albums under his own name in the early ’70s. However, Russell’s material was also recorded by such luminaries as Johnny Cash, Guy Clark, Dave Alvin, Doug Sahm, and k.d. lang, to name only a few. While much of Russell’s work mined the country tradition, he was also known to flavor his work with Tex-Mex, folk, and the cowboy music of his youth.
-Johnny Loftus, AllMusic.com
Along with The Long Way Around, another acoustic package also released in 1997, Song of the West was Tom Russell’s attempt to sum up the previous ten years of his career on two newly recorded CDs. This package, which he calls “our definitive cowboy collection,” focuses on his best-loved covers and originals about life in the Southwest. Among the 15 tracks: a live version of “The Sky Above, the Mud Below,” a deftly told tale of horse thieves in the old West; a great reading of “Navajo Rug,” which Russell wrote with Ian Tyson; “Alkalai,” which he first recorded in 1976 with then-partner Patricia Hardin; and “Gallo del Dielo,” a musically and lyrically marvelous original about a Mexican who tries to raise money to buy back land that had been stolen from his father. The Long Way Around probably offers the best introduction to Russell, but if you like that, by all means run out and get this album as well.
-Jeff Burger, AllMusic.com
Coastin’- Lonnie Mack
When Lonnie Mack sings the blues, country strains are sure to infiltrate. Conversely, if he digs into a humping rockabilly groove, strong signs of a deep-down blues influence are bound to invade; par for the course for any musician who cites both Bobby Bland and George Jones as pervasive influences.
Fact is, Mack’s lightning-fast, vibrato-enriched, whammy bar-hammered guitar style has influenced many a picker, too, including Stevie Ray Vaughan, who idolized Mack’s early singles for Fraternity and later co-produced and played on Mack’s 1985 comeback LP for Alligator, Strike like Lightning.
Growing up in rural Indiana not far from Cincinnati, Lonnie McIntosh was exposed to a heady combination of R&B and hillbilly. In 1958, he bought the seventh Gibson Flying V guitar ever manufactured and played the roadhouse circuit around Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky. Mack has steadfastly cited another local legend, guitarist Robert Ward, as the man whose watery-sounding Magnatone amplifier inspired his own use of the same brand.
Session work ensued during the early ’60s behind Hank Ballard, Freddy King, and James Brown for Cincy’s principal label, Syd Nathan’s King Records. At the tail-end of a 1963 date for another local label, Fraternity Records, Mack stepped out front to cut a searing instrumental treatment of Chuck Berry’s “Memphis.” Fraternity put the number out, and it leaped all the way up to the Top Five on Billboard’s pop charts!
Its hit follow-up, the frantic “Wham!,” was even more amazing from a guitar-playing perspective with Mack’s lickety-split whammy-bar-fired playing driven like a locomotive by a hard-charging horn section.
-Bill Dahl, AllMusic.com
South Coast Of Texas- Guy Clark
Guy Clark doesn’t just write songs, he crafts them with the kind of hands-on care and respect that a master carpenter (a favorite image of his) would have when faced with a stack of rare hardwood. Clark works slowly and with strict attention to detail — his output has been sparse since he first signed to RCA in the early ’70s — but he has produced an impressive collection of timeless gems, leaving very little waste behind. His albums have never met much commercial success, but the emotional level of his work consistently transcends sales figures and musical genres. He remains the kind of songwriter whom young artists study and seasoned writers (and listeners) admire.
Clark was born in the West Texas town of Monahans, where he was raised mostly by his grandmother (his mother worked and his father was in the Army), who ran the town hotel. One of her residents was an oil well driller who would later end up the subject of one of Clark’s most moving and stunningly beautiful songs, “Desperados Waiting for a Train.” Many of Clark’s songs, in fact, have centered around his days growing up in West Texas, including “Texas 1947″ (from his debut album) and the 1992 song “Boats to Build,” which harked back to a summer job he once had as a teenager on the Gulf Coast.
The first songs Clark learned were mostly in Spanish. Later, when he moved to Houston and began working the folk music circuit, he met fellow songwriter Townes Van Zandt (the two often toured together until Van Zandt’s death in 1997) and blues singers Lightnin’ Hopkins and Mance Lipscomb. It was here that Clark began playing and writing his sturdy brand of folk- and blues-influenced country music.
n the late ’60s, Clark moved to California, living first in San Francisco (where he met and married his wife Susanna, a painter and songwriter) and then in Los Angeles, where he worked in the Dopyera brothers’ Dobro factory. Tiring quickly of Southern California (sentiments he expressed in another of his classics, “L.A. Freeway”), he and Susanna packed up and headed for Nashville in 1971, where he picked up work as a writer with publishing companies and, eventually, a recording contract with RCA.
-Kurt Wolff, AllMusic.com
Keepers is the first live album Guy Clark has ever released. Recorded in 1996 in front of a small audience in an intimate venue (Daniel’s Corner in Nash Vegas), it showcases Clark with a full band playing his best-loved songs. While that might seem like an easy way out for some, it’s not for Clark, who pushes these songs — despite his easy, laid-back demeanor — to the breaking point in terms of meaning and emotional truth. With a band consisting of Verlon Thompson and Darrell Scott on guitars (Scott also plays virtually everything with strings except fiddle), Suzy Ragsdale (not only singing backup, but playing accordion), Kenny Malone, and bassist Travis Clark, Guy uses his material as a way of communicating something quite mercurial yet universally felt with his audience.
-Thom Jurek, AllMusic.com
Photo by: Nashvilleportraits.com
West Coast Blues- Mimi Fox and Greta Matassa
This live set is shared by guitarist Mimi Fox and singer Greta Matassa, a combination that works together quite well. Matassa mostly performs a variety of standards (other than Fox’s “You’re No Angel”), and both swings and uplifts the material. A fine jazz singer, her improvising pays respect to the songs but contains its surprising moments. Fox, who heads the five-piece “backup group” (which also includes pianist Randy Halberstadt) and is featured on the instrumental “Denney’s Tune,” sounds quite comfortable with Matassa, accompanying her sympathetically and adding some fiery solos that push the singer. This musical partnership brings out the best in both performers.
-Scott Yanow, AllMusic.com
She plays with tremendous fire.
She can do pretty much anything she
wants on the guitar.
- Joe Pass
Internationally renowned guitarist/composer/recording artist Mimi Fox has been named a winner in 6 consecutive Downbeat Magazine international critic’s polls and has been recognized by writers and colleagues alike as one of the most eloquent jazz guitarists on today’s scene. In one of many feature stories, Guitar Player Magazine hailed Mimi as “a prodigious talent who has not only mastered the traditional forms but has managed to reinvigorate them.”
Mimi has performed/recorded with some of jazz’s most commanding players, including fellow guitarists Charlie Byrd, Stanley Jordan, Charlie Hunter, and Mundell Lowe, Grammy-nominated saxophonists Branford Marsalis, David Sanchez and Houston Person and the late Don Lanphere, vocalists Abbey Lincoln, Diana Krall, Kevin Mahogany and Janis Siegel (Manhattan Transfer), B3 organ masters Joey DeFrancesco, Barbara Denerlein and Dr. Lonnie Smith, and powerhouse drummer Terri Lyne Carrington. She has also performed outside of the jazz world with legends Stevie Wonder and John Sebastian and with Patty Larkin’s Vanguard Records-produced La Guitara project.
Mimi “Fast Fingers” Fox is one of the very few established female jazz guitarists (along with Emily Remler and Mary Osborne), her passion and technical excellence gracing the albums and performances of Darol Anger, Rhiannon, and Terry Garthwaite.
Primarily self-taught, Fox focused early on folk styles until she heard John Coltrane’s seminal Giant Steps at age 14. Fox’s early influences — Aretha Franklin, Dixieland, and traditional jazz — emerge in her evocative interpretations of jazz with swing stylings, blues, Latin, and her forte, bebop.
-Laura Post, AllMusic.com
Mimi Fox- Photo by: David Belove
“Matassa’s performance was a marvel of virtuosity.”
—Los Angeles Times
“Boppish, Snappy and conversational”- Downbeat Magazine
“One of the best jazz vocalists we have to boast about these days ”
“Worldly, gentle, bold, dynamic, Favorites From a Long Walk is a gift for the heart. Greta Matassa is one of America’s finest singers, and stands firmly among the best in today’s jazz.”
“Greta Matassa moves from triumph to triumph”
—Christopher Loudon, Jazz Times, Vox CD Reviews
Seattle native Greta Matassa is one of the countries most talented and popular jazz singers. With hints of Ella, Sarah, Billie and Carmen, Greta is increasingly recognized as a unique voice in jazz.
In 2009, Greta Matassa was voted “Northwest Vocalist of the Year” by Earshot Jazz. This marks the sixth time she has received this award in 15 years.
Greta Matassa- Photo by: Tasha Owen
Virginia Coastline- Rebecca Frazier
For bluegrass artist Rebecca Frazier, the guitar has always been a means of transporting her, whether to a different state of mind, to a campfire bluegrass circle, or onto the stage of one of the hundred-plus festivals at which she has performed. But she didn’t have to walk far from her front door to record When We Fall, her new bluegrass and Americana album slated for a spring 2013 release. “I’ve been writing this record for seven years, as I’ve been traveling from state to state playing bluegrass, and eventually settling in Nashville,” says Frazier. “Wouldn’t you know I’d team up with Brent Truitt in East Nashville and start recording a few blocks away.” Rebecca has played guitar since she received a Yamaha dreadnought for Christmas at age 12. She had no idea that this gift would lead her to be the first-ever woman on the cover of Flatpicking Guitar Magazine (September 2006) or to become the recipient of International Bluegrass Music Association’s ‘Recorded Event of the Year’ Award (2009). “I was spending my summers in the Shenandoah Mountains at a girls’ camp,” says the Virginia native. “I was song leader when I was thirteen, so I was required to write songs and teach melodies to fellow campers. We’d sing threepart harmonies as we washed our hair in the ice-cold Cowpasture River.” Rebecca’s path in music has led her to carry forward those magical moments of her Virginia childhood. In college, Rebecca immersed herself in the local bluegrass scene and was soon balancing late night bar gigs with early morning exams. She won the Hopwood Award for her thesis at the University of Michigan about guitarist, Emily Remler, earned her degree in Music and Literature, and then studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston. “The professors there said, ‘You’ll learn more by getting out there and doing it.’” During her eight-year stay in Colorado, Rebecca co-founded Hit & Run Bluegrass, an awardwinning, Boulder-based outfit, which made history by becoming the first band to win both prestigious band competitions at Rockygrass (2002) and Telluride Bluegrass Festival (2003). Soon Hit & Run was bringing their “authentic yet modern” bluegrass to concert stages in almost every state in the U.S. as well as in Canada, including the esteemed Grey Fox, Telluride, High Sierra, and Rockygrass Festivals.