Keep scrolling down the page for our blog/program guide.
Pics, bios, reviews, album art and more! Learn lots about all the folks on the show!
Goin’ Down Swingin’- Jackson Taylor and the Sinners- “Bad Ju Ju”
Porch Swing In Tupelo- Elton John- “Peachtree Road”
Swing It On Home- Big Mama Thornton- “Ball ‘N Chain”
Swing From A Note- Carrie Elkin and Danny Schmidt- “For Keeps”
Sugar Baby Swing- Beverly “Guitar” Watkins- “The Feelings Of Beverly “Guitar” Watkins”
England Swings- Roger Miller- “The Best Of Roger Miller”
Sultans Of Swing- Dire Straits- “Dire Straits”
Hot New Music:
Stumblin’- The Kentucky Headhunters with Johnnie Johnson- “Meet Me In Bluesland”
Morning Sun- Melody Gardot- “Currency Of Man”
Step It Up- The Johnson Stompers- “Bush Telegraph”
Need For Wanting- Courtney Patton- “So This Is Life”
Chicken Hawk- CeDell Davis- “Last Man Standing”
Django and Jimmie- Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard- “Django and Jimmie”
Stingray- Jim Lauderdale and the Dream Players- “Honey Songs”
The Sting- Vanessa Peters- “The Burn The Truth the Lies”
Stingeree- Merle Haggard- “HAG- The Studio Recordings 1969-1976″
Bee Sting- Romi Mayes- “Devil On Both Shoulders”
Who Put The Sting On The Honeybee?- Carla Olson and Mick Taylor- “Too Hot For Snakes”
Sting InThis Ole Bee- Hank Thompson- “American Music: The Hightone Records Story” (Box set)
** Keep scrolling down the page for our informative blog/program guide. Follow along as you listen! **
Goin’ Down Swingin’- Jackson Taylor and the Sinners
Jackson Taylor is a story teller, plain and simple.
Jackson Taylor tells stories about what he knows — life. Jackson’s lyrics paint tales of lives filled with passion and joy as much as of a life tainted by sorrow and disappointment – his life. Jackson sings of heaven and hell, beauty and grit – Jackson sings of real life.
Born one of eleven siblings to parents of migrant workers, his life began in Moody, Texas, a small town just north of Austin. It was a nomadic existence stripped of the comforts and security that most take for granted. Jackson’s roots instead became deep seeded in his love for music, a passion passed on to Jackson at an early age by his father who would steal away whenever possible to see and hear country greats like Waylon, Willie, and Billy Joe Shaver perform, often with Jackson in tow.
Jackson’s adolescence was spent bouncing from one migrant labor town to another, finally settling in a small farming town in Washington State. After graduating high school, he moved back to Texas for a while but soon left to try and make his mark in Nashville. There, Jackson found work as a songwriter, but life for Jackson was still a steep uphill climb, and after a couple of tough and frustrating years, Jackson had to face the hard truth that Nashville was not the “home” for which he had spent his whole life searching.
From New York City to Los Angeles, Jackson has finally found his rightful home, ironically right back where his life began — in Texas.
Combining his real life experiences with old school country elements, and throwing in the flavors of punk and southern rock to create a style all his own, Jackson Taylor continues to break the rules of traditional country music with his straightforward lyrics, “take it or leave it” approach, intense live performances, and the drive and determination of a freight train. The end result can not be pigeon holed into any style and can only be rightfully defined as what it is: “Jackson Taylor Music”.
Porch Swing In Tupelo- Elton John
I’ve always wanted to smash a guitar over someone’s head. You just can’t do that with a piano.
The great thing about rock and roll is that someone like me can be a star.
I could never go onstage in denims.
I heard Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, and that was it. I didn’t ever want to be anything else. I just started banging away and semi-studied classical music at the Royal Academy of Music but sort of half-heartedly.
My mum always used to buy a record every Friday.
An agent is a person who is sore because an actor gets 90% of what they make.
I was just genuinely shy. I’d always been a shy kid.
I think performers are all show-offs anyway, especially musicians. Unless you show off, you’re not going to get noticed.
Everything I thought I’d hate about having children – the crying, the screaming – nothing fazes me. I love it all, and it’s relaxed me.
Swing It On Home- Big Mama Thornton
Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton only notched one national hit in her lifetime, but it was a true monster. “Hound Dog” held down the top slot on Billboard’s R&B charts for seven long weeks in 1953. Alas, Elvis Presley’s rocking 1956 cover was even bigger, effectively obscuring Thornton’s chief claim to immortality.
That’s a damned shame, because Thornton’s menacing growl was indeed something special. The hefty belter first opened her pipes in church but soon embraced the blues. She toured with Sammy Green’s Hot Harlem Revue during the 1940s. Thornton was ensconced on the Houston circuit when Peacock Records boss Don Robey signed her in 1951. She debuted on Peacock with “Partnership Blues” that year, backed by trumpeter Joe Scott’s band.
-Bill Dahl, AllMusic.com
Swing From A Note- Carrie Elkin and Danny Schmidt
It’s a special treat when Danny Schmidt and Carrie Elkin, who normally tour separately and solo, get to share the stage together. If the chemistry seems especially sparkful, they come by it honestly, as they are a rare breed: a romantic partnership in real life, not just musical life. And the two together on stage makes for a classic case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.
Danny Schmidt is best known for his riveting poetic lyrics, which have drawn favorable comparisons to Leonard Cohen and Townes Van Zandt for their depth and complexity. And gypsy spirit Carrie Elkin is best known for her incredibly soulful and dynamic vocals, which have drawn favorable comparisons to Patty Griffin at her most powerful, and Nanci Griffith at her most intimate.
Together, the respective strengths they each bring, individually, merge into a much greater whole . . . a performance of great energy and spirit . . . and one that audiences seem to be able to connect with on a multitude of levels, at once: Emotionally, Spiritually, and Intellectually.
Photo by: John Grubbs
Sugar Baby Swing- Beverly “Guitar” Watkins
Georgia-based guitarist, singer, and songwriter Beverly “Guitar” Watkins is one part soul singer, one part rockin’ roadhouse mama, and one part gifted songwriter. She’s also been chronically under-recorded for a woman with her résumé: she spent the early ’60s playing rhythm guitar with Piano Red & the Interns. She recorded with Piano Red from 1959 until the mid-’60s, and can be heard on his popular singles “Doctor Feelgood” and “Right String But the Wrong Yo Yo.” Watkins learned guitar and got her earliest musical sensibilities from several of her aunts, who had a quartet named the Hayes Family. She also had a banjo playing grandfather, Luke Hayes. On holidays and at family get-togethers, these musicians would assemble and the blues and gospel were passed on in a true folk process to the young Watkins.
Her earliest influences included Rosetta Tharpe, Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, and Memphis Minnie, and she was exposed to the music because of her grandmother, who would play their recordings on the family Gramophone. She began playing guitar as an eight-year-old, learning by listening to the records her mother would play for her. Later, she was exposed to the records of touring bands, including Louis Jordan’s and Count Basie’s.
-Richard Skelly, AllMusic.com
England Swings- Roger Miller
Roger Miller is best known for his humorous novelty songs, which overshadow his considerable songwriting talents as well as his hardcore honky tonk roots. After writing hits for a number of artists in the ’50s, Miller racked up a number of hits during the ’60s which became not only country classics, but popular classics as well.
Miller was born in Fort Worth, TX, but raised in the small town of Erick, OK, by his aunt and uncle, following the death of his father and his mother’s debilitating sickness. Initially, he was attracted to music by hearing country over the radio as well as by his brother-in-law, Sheb Wooley. By the time he was ten, he earned enough money picking cotton to buy himself a guitar. At the age of 11, Wooley gave him a fiddle and encouraged him to pursue a performing career. Miller completed the eighth grade and left school to become a ranch hand and rodeo rider. Throughout his adolescence, he played music in addition to working the ranch. Soon, he was able to play not only guitar and fiddle, but also piano, banjo, and drums.
He enlisted in the Army during the Korean war and was stationed in South Carolina, where he met the brother of Jethro Burns who arranged an audition at RCA Nashville for him. Early in 1957, Miller left the army and auditioned for Chet Atkins at RCA.
-Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AllMusic.com
Sultans Of Swing- Dire Straits
Dire Straits emerged during the post-punk era of the late ’70s, and while their sound was minimalistic and stripped down, they owed little to punk. If anything, the band was a direct outgrowth of the roots revivalism of pub rock, but where pub rock celebrated good times, Dire Straits were melancholy. Led by guitarist/vocalist Mark Knopfler, the group built their sound upon the laid-back blues-rock of J.J. Cale, but they also had jazz and country inflections, occasionally dipping into the epic song structures of progressive rock. The band’s music was offset by Knopfler’s lyrics, which approximated the winding, stream-of-conscious narratives of Bob Dylan.
-Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AllMusic.com
Stumblin’- The Kentucky Headhunters with Johnnie Johnson
Alligator Records has set a June 2 street date for Meet Me In Bluesland, a previously unreleased album by Grammy-winning Southern blues-rockers The Kentucky Headhunters with pianist Johnnie Johnson, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee. The performances found Johnson — the man Rolling Stone called “the greatest sideman in rock and roll” for his groundbreaking piano work with Chuck Berry — playing some of the deepest and most rocking blues piano of his legendary career. With The Kentucky Headhunters at their down-home best, the record is a country-fried, blues-infused party from start to finish.
A Short Story and Biography in the Words of The Kentucky HeadHunters…..
Once upon a time, in a deep and dark forest, in the Bluegrass state of Kentucky, not far from the village of Edmonton, stood a psychedelic shack where the only rock and roll band in Metcalfe County rehearsed.
The year was 1968, and the band was called Itchy Brother. The shack was really a farmhouse now known as the infamous Practice House. And the deep and dark forest was a place on Richard and Fred Young’s family farm.
Together, with cousins Anthony Kenney and Greg Martin, armed with a pickup-truck load of amps, drums, and guitars, and a stack of American and English rock records, they set out to conquer the world by creating their own brand of rock and roll.
As the years went by, they made good on their promise to each other, and the record companies came. First, from Cincinnati, then Atlanta and Macon, Georgia, California, New York, and England, but something always stopped them from leaving the rock club circuit and becoming a national recording act. Presidential elections, plane crashes, the death of a record executive and disco, but most of all, their ages. The train hauling the heyday of Southern rock had come and gone. Itchy Brother got caught in the changing of the guard. They never got to ride the train, but they never gave up.
Johnnie Johnson was born on July 8, 1924 in Fairmont, West Virginia. He began playing piano at age five and never stopped. While serving in the Marines, he joined The Barracudas, a Marines servicemen’s band. He moved to Detroit and then Chicago, eventually playing with Muddy Waters and Little Walter. He landed in St. Louis in 1952 where he formed The Sir John Trio, playing jazz, blues and pop standards. Chuck Berry, an ambitious local guitarist and songwriter, was added to the group the same year and eventually took over leadership of the band. After Berry scored a contract with Chess Records, the hits came fast and furious. Many, including Maybellene, Nadine, Carol and School Days, were fueled by Johnson’s two-fisted piano. He was the high-octane gasoline in Chuck Berry’s rock ‘n’ roll engine. When Chuck wasn’t touring, Johnson played with Albert King, and recorded a number of singles with him for the Bobbin label. Tired of the road, Johnson left Chuck’s band in 1973 and returned to St. Louis to become a bus driver. With the 1987 release of the Chuck Berry documentary, Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll, Johnson found himself back in the spotlight, reintroduced to the world by his friend-to-be Keith Richards. After three solo recordings, Johnson joined his musical cohorts The Kentucky Headhunters for 1993’s That’ll Work. In 1996 and 1997 he toured with Ratdog, the band fronted by The Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir. Johnson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001 and continued to perform and record until his death in 2005. His 2003 sessions with The Kentucky Headhunters, released now for the very first time as Meet Me In Bluesland, are some of the most spirited and organic recordings of his remarkable and still influential career.
Morning Sun- Melody Gardot
The story of vocalist Melody Gardot is as remarkable as any who perseveres against abject adversity. Born in New Jersey in 1985, she took up piano and played as a youngster on the nightclub scene of Philadelphia, influenced by jazz, folk, rock, and pop music. At age 19 she was a fashion student at the Community College of Philadelphia. But, on a fateful day, while riding her bicycle, the driver of a Jeep made an illegal turn, hurtling into Gardot and leaving her in the street for dead. As she lay hospitalized for months with multiple head injuries and pelvic fractures, her love for music was the best therapy she could receive. While in her hospital bed, she wrote and recorded songs that would become the EP Some Lessons. Upon her eventual release from intensive care, Gardot found the strength and determination to further her career as an artist. Blessed with a beautiful voice and grand insight as a songwriter, her cognitive powers slowly but surely became pronounced, leading to the independent recording and release of her debut CD, Worrisome Heart, which was reissued in 2007 by the Verve label. Her music could be described as a cross between Laura Nyro, Joni Mitchell, Eva Cassidy, and Shania Twain, but goes deeper than mere pop convention. Gardot is hypersensitive to light and noise, thus she wears dark glasses, and uses a cane to walk. On-stage she requires a special seating unit, and wears a Transcutaneous Electro-Nerve Stimulator, a TENS device, to assist in alleviating her neuralgic muscle pain. As amazing as her story is, what is more evident is that she possesses a blue style and persona that reflect not only her afflictions, but conversely the hope and joy of making personalized music that marks her as an individual and original.
-Michael G. Nastos, AllMusic.com
On 2012’s The Absence, Melody Gardot made her first shift away from the jazz-tinged ballads that drew such heavy comparisons to Norah Jones and Madeleine Peyroux. Lushly orchestrated, it was chock-full of songs inspired by Brazilian, Latin, and French forms. On Currency of Man, Gardot takes on a rootsier sound, embracing West Coast soul, funk, gospel, and pop from the early ’70s as the backdrop for these songs. It is not only different musically, but lyrically. This is a less “personal” record; its songs were deeply influenced by the people she encountered in L.A., many of them street denizens. She tells their stories and reflects on themes of social justice. It’s wide angle.
-Thom Jurek, AllMusic.com
Step It Up- The Johnson Stompers
“THE RUMOURS ARE TRUE…
The Johnson Stompers, legendary foot-stomping, good-time blues band, are set to make a return to the stage! It was out of jam sessions in Townsville in the early 1990’s that founding members Nigel Oliver (guitars, vocals), Michael Tully (guitar, bass and vocals), Uthal Plantener (percussion and washboard) and Matthew Moline (blues harp, mandolin, vocals) decided to form the band from their mutual enjoyment of playing “stomping” songs by Delta-blues legends, like Robert Johnson. The Johnson Stompers were born. Their high-energy and rhythm-driven blues repetoire made them a popular “good-time” band and a highlight on the Australian music scene.
-Bronwyn Todd, Blogspot, June 1, 2015.
Need For Wanting- Courtney Patton
“I suppose realism is what I look for in new music. I want to believe a new song. That happens when I hear Courtney’s music. Her voice is rich and unique and that’s something that’s been a dormant quality in the “woman’s world” of country music for a long, long time!” – Adam Hood
“Over the years I’ve watched CP grow into a singer/songwriter to be reckoned with. Top shelf.” – Mike McClure
“Courtney Patton is one of the most talented singers around. You can literally hang on to her words, almost … she knows how to hold that note until it blooms, sing one word and make it feel like ten. She’s got her own gravity and she uses it beautifully.” – Mike Ethan Messick
“When I hear Courtney I hear something absolutely unique that makes me think of the legendary voices of music … she makes you both forget and remember how many descriptive words you know.” – Drew Kennedy
“It’s Courtney’s turn, and I’m so proud that everyone’s getting to see what’s so special about her. She makes people feel what she’s feeling, and that’s a talent, not a skill.” – Jamie Lin Wilson
Courtney Patton has spent the last few years building her lifelong passion into a real career. Touring steadily, writing constantly, and singing her heart out onstage and on record, she’s become a welcome discovery for listeners who’ve found their way to her sweet and soulful take on classic country music. Her first full-length record, Triggering A Flood, was released in May 2013 to regional acclaim and her 2015 follow-up So This Is Life is poised to make an even larger splash as her audience has expanded to corners all around the world. Her expansive voice, laced with deep Texas twang but bearing the influence of favorite songwriters from the ‘70s folk-rock scene all the way through the present day, gives new life to old themes of finding love and freedom where you can and trying to hold yourself together when it slips away.
Known throughout Texas, Courtney Patton has a voice that is easily identifiable and easily embraced. That voice–warm, strong and enveloping–is the instrument utilized to its fullest in her latest release, So This Is Life. Due June 9th, the album, an exquisite and complete listen is comprised of twelve original story songs that under the production of Drew Kennedy, are beautiful and simple, scaled back and gracious. Fiddle and pedal steel play prominently throughout, but never overshadow Patton’s full vocals, allowing them to convey every ounce of honest emotion, whether heartache or happiness, in every vignette, to the listener.
Patton has the ability to channel grief, hurting and desolation so honestly, so perfectly, that the stories consistently elicit strong emotions.
Chicken Hawk- CeDell Davis
Cedell Davis was born Ellis Davis on June 9, 1927, in Helena, then a booming river town on the Arkansas bank of the Mississippi. He grew up there and in the upper Mississippi Delta around eight miles south of Tunica, on the E.M. Hood plantation, where his brother lived. Together with one of his childhood friends, Isaiah Ross (future Sun recording artist Dr. Ross the Harmonica Boss), Cedell began playing blues, first harmonica, then some guitar.
Then tragedy struck — during his ninth and tenth years he grappled with severe polio. He returned to Helena, to his mother, who was locally renowned as a healer, though she worked as a cook, and there he began the painful process of relearning, in fact rethinking the guitar, which he could no longer play in the conventional manner. “It took me about three years,” he recalls. “I was right- handed, but I couldn’t use my right hand, so I had to turn the guitar around; I play left-handed now. But I still needed something to slide with, and my mother had these knives, a set of silverware, and I kinda swiped one of ’em.”
This was the beginning of a guitar style that is utterly unique, in or out of blues.
-Robert Palmer, fatpossum.com
Django and Jimmie- Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard
Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard first teamed up on record for Pancho & Lefty in 1983, a record released some 20 years after both singers began their careers. Back then, they were both hovering around 50, already considered old guys, but Django and Jimmie arrives 32 years after that record, when there’s no question that the pair are old-timers.
Appropriately enough, mortality is on their minds throughout Django and Jimmie, a record whose very title is taken from Willie and Merle’s childhood idols. It’s a song that seems like a confession, as does the casual admission that they didn’t think they’d “Live This Long,” but neither Nelson nor Haggard wrote this, nor the title track or the album’s first single, the near-novelty “It’s All Going to Pot.” These are made-to-order originals by some of the best in the business — Buddy Cannon, Jamey Johnson, and Ward Davis wrote “It’s All Going to Pot,” Jimmy Melton and Jeff Prince the title track — and it shows how producer Cannon has a sharp ear for material, along with a way with a relaxed groove. That comfortable, familial atmosphere is one of the best things about Django and Jimmie and extends far beyond the marquee names; the studio pros, friends, family, and fellow travelers who support Willie and Merle help give this a warm, worn-in feel that’s appealing on its own terms. As comforting as the vibe is, it’s the singers and their songs that linger.
-Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Stingray- Jim Lauderdale and the Dream Players
“Few current…acts sing with the command and authority Lauderdale brings to his performances, and fewer still have a set of songs at their disposal as good…”
– All Music Guide
Jim Lauderdale is a multiple Grammy® and Americana Music Association Award-winning musician and one of the most respected artists working the Americana, Bluegrass and Country music communities today.
Jim Lauderdale has always stayed true to his North Carolina roots but is influenced from the experience of his travels. He first immersed himself in the early country music scenes of both New York City and Los Angeles before breaking through in Nashville as a songwriter. He has helped pave the way of the current Americana Movement recording records and writing songs that cross genres from country, pop, roots, rock, folk and bluegrass.
Lauderdale, a master songwriter, has had his work recorded by artists such as Patty Loveless, George Jones, Shelby Lynne, Solomon Burke, The Dixie Chicks, Blake Shelton, and George Strait, who has had numerous hits with Jim’s songs. Lauderdale’s music has been featured regularly on the ABC hit show Nashville, and he appeared in the successful film Country Strong.
Jim is often called upon as a player and has toured with the likes of Lucinda Williams, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Rhonda Vincent, Hot Tuna & Charlie Musselwhite and Elvis Costello. He also co-hosts a weekly radio show on SiriusXM with Buddy Miller called “The Buddy & Jim Show,” which NPR’s Fresh Air described as “…highly entertaining…” Lauderdale is also the host of the popular Music City Roots each week in Nashville and Scenic City Roots monthly in Chattanooga, TN.
At a time when what passes for wisdom in the music business suggests you should make an album and then milk it for all its worth for at least a couple years, Jim Lauderdale prefers to do things the old-fashioned way — he writes songs and makes records with care but without dawdling, and 2008’s Honey Songs is his fourth album in 18 months. The sessions for Honey Songs find Lauderdale backed by what he calls “the Dream Players,” and this is a band with more than a few legends on board — guitarist James Burton and drummer Ron Tutt from Elvis Presley’s T.C.B. Band, Garry Tallent from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band on bass, and legendary session men Glen D. Hardin (piano) and Al Perkins (pedal steel). (The crew of backing vocalists is stellar as well, including Emmylou Harris, Buddy Miller, Patty Loveless, and Kelly Hogan.) Despite the high-priced help, Lauderdale has no trouble showing he’s the star of the show on Honey Songs;
-Mark Deming, AllMusic.com
The Sting- Vanessa Peters
In the last ten years, Vanessa has played over 1000 shows in 11 countries, receiving accolades from abroad and in her hometown of Dallas, where she was recently nominated as “Best Folk Artist” by The Dallas Observer. She continues to tour the US and in Europe, where she has a strong fan base thanks to the albums she made with her former Italian band, Ice Cream on Mondays, and the hundreds of shows she has played in Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, and Denmark. In early 2015 she released her 10th album, the Americana-tinged “With The Sentimentals,” and is back in the studio working on another album of new material.
It is hard to believe that Vanessa Peters is on album number seven, and after the much-acclaimed Christmas album released last year, many have been waiting on tenterhooks to see what Peters has got up her sleeve next. Well, rest-assured, it is yet another gem of an album, probably her best yet.
-Carly Goodman, July 18, 2012, forfolkssake.com
Photo by: Carissa Byers
Stingeree- Merle Haggard
The only thing that I miss lately in all music is somebody that will put out a melody that you can whistle. It doesn’t seem like there’s anything happening like that.
At my age, I don’t buy but a half a loaf of bread, you know?
When I grew up there wasn’t air-conditioning or anything of that nature, and this old car had a wall thickness of about ten inches. So we had a little warmer house in the winter and a little cooler in the summer.
It sounds like something from a Woody Guthrie song, but it’s true; I was raised in a freight car.
My second wife Bonnie Owens and I worked together after we divorced for a period of maybe 20 years. And I managed to stay friends with another wife. And then there’s one that I don’t mess with. Everybody’s got one of those.
Photo credit: Pamela Springsteen/The Kennedy Center/CBS
Bee Sting- Romi Mayes
“Look out world – Romi Mayes is coming!”
– No Depression
“Music from the heart and soul, Romi Mayes makes it look easy.”
– Bob Harris, BBC
“Winnipeg isn’t the first city you think of when you think of the blues, but the sixth album from Romi Mayes could make you add it to a list of urban areas with enough grit to call up a woman with her power.”
– Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“If Mayes isn’t already included in the realm of badass rock n’ roll songstresses, she should be after this album. This is really how rock should be.”
– Grayowl Point
“This is the sort of sound you’d want to hear pouring out of roadhouses as you drive up expecting to get drunk and maybe fall in love.” – Americana UK Magazine
“Romi Mayes is somethin else. She writes great songs and she’s got a great voice, but you should see her try to outrun a train.
I think I had more fun on tour with Romi Mayes than I’ve ever had in my life.”
– Gurf Morlix, producer, musician
“Romi Mayes may as well be from Texas”
– No Depression
If you haven’t heard Romi Mayes’ music yet, it’s time you do.
Hailing from the prairies of Canada, Mayes is one of the hardest working independent musicians touring the globe today.
Devil On Both Shoulders’, her 6th full-length release, is another testament to why Romi Mayes’ past albums have garnered three Western Canadian Music Awards for Songwriter of the Year, two Western Canadian Music Awards for Album of The Year, a Juno nomination for Album of the Year, and various Canadian Music Award nominations.
Mayes is known for her powerful lyrical ability that gives life to the words she sings. Her insightful sweet and edgy vocals paint pictures of heart on her sleeve sincerity and a road well travelled. The talented players that surround her are another confirmation of how her honest abilities draw the best of the best toward her authentic brand of roots music.
Photo by: Paul Blair MacLean
Who Put The Sting On The Honeybee?- Carla Olson and Mick Taylor
Along with Kathy Valentine (a future member of the Go-Go’s), Carla Olson formed the Textones in the early ’80s for a few singles on IRS. (Most of these tracks appear on Through the Canyon [Rhino] and Back in Time [Demon U.K.].) The band’s major-label debut, Midnight Mission (A&M), included help from Don Henley, Ry Cooder, Barry Goldberg, and Gene Clark. Cedar Creek, the band’s second album, appeared in 1987 on Enigma Records. Olson then worked on many projects, including ones by John Fogerty, Henley, and Eric Johnson and a duet album with Clark. In 1988, she recorded a self-titled solo album (for Amigo Musik) in Sweden, backed by Wilmer X. After another duet project, this time with former Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor, Olson’s second solo LP (Within an Ace) was released in 1993 on Watermelon Records; Reap the Whirlwind followed the next year. That album signaled a period of relative quiet from the guitarist, as she disappeared into private life while her best-of collection hit the shelves. It wasn’t until 2001 that she returned, boasting The Ring of Truth, an album featuring Taylor and a handful of roots rock tunes that showcased her weathered vocals and comfortable sound. Olson has also found success on the other side of the studio glass, producing records for Barry Goldberg, Doña Oxford, Jake Andrews, Joe Louis Walker, Davis Gaines, Mare Winningham, and Phil Upchurch.
-John Bush, AllMusic.com
There’s no denying the great string of classic albums the Rolling Stones issued during the late ‘60s and early ‘70s — 1969’s Let It Bleed, 1970’s Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out, 1971’s Sticky Fingers, and 1972’s Exile on Main St. But while Jagger and Richards received the lion’s share of credit for these aforementioned albums, it was the guitar work, and uncredited songwriting contributions, of Mick Taylor that helped make these albums so special. Born Michael Kevin Taylor on January 17, 1949, in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, England (but raised in the London suburb of Hatfield), Taylor first picked up the guitar at the age of nine — inspired by his guitar-playing uncle. The early to mid-‘60s saw Taylor play with such obscure local acts as the Juniors and the Gods, during which time he thoroughly studied such blues guitarists as Freddie King and Albert King. Legend has it that Taylor was in the audience of a John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers show in his hometown during June of 1966, a concert which then-Bluesbreakers guitarist Eric Clapton failed to show up at. Taylor offered to sub for the missing guitarist, and left quite an impression on Mayall. But before the two could talk about possibly continuing to work together, the shy Taylor had already left the club (without leaving behind any contact info) — leading to the band hiring Peter Green instead. But when Green left a year later, Mayall was able to finally track down Taylor via a music paper ad, and was immediately offered the gig. Taylor subsequently appeared on such late-‘60s Mayall albums as Diary of a Band, Crusade, Bare Wires, and Blues from Laurel Canyon.
-Greg Prato, AllMusic.com
Sting In This Ole Bee- Hank Thompson
Hank Thompson was perhaps the most popular Western swing musician of the ’50s and ’60s, keeping the style alive with a top-notch band, tremendous showmanship, and a versatility that allowed him to expand his repertoire into romantic ballads and hardcore honky tonk numbers. Born September 3, 1925, in Waco, TX, Henry William Thompson was the son of immigrants from Bohemia and grew up idolizing Western swing and country musicians like Bob Wills, Jimmie Rodgers, and Gene Autry. He began learning harmonica and guitar as a child, and appeared in local talent shows as a teenager, which eventually led to his own local radio program (billed as Hank the Hired Hand). After graduating from high school in 1943, Thompson joined the Navy as a radio technician and often wrote songs to entertain his fellow soldiers. Following his discharge, Thompson studied electrical engineering at Princeton through the G.I. Bill, but eventually decided to pursue music as a career. He returned to Waco and to the radio business, and set about putting together a band he dubbed the Brazos Valley Boys. They quickly became a popular live act around the area and recorded their first single, “Whoa Sailor” (a song Thompson had written in the Navy) for the Globe label in 1946. A few more singles followed for Bluebonnet, by which time Tex Ritter had become a Thompson admirer. Ritter helped Thompson land a record deal with Capitol in 1947, an association that would last for the next 18 years.
Thompson scored his first major hit for Capitol in 1949 with the smash “Humpty Dumpty Heart,” the biggest of his six charting singles that year. In 1951, he hooked up with producer Ken Nelson, who would helm many of his most successful records. Those records included “The Wild Side of Life,” a monster hit from 1952 (over three months at number one) that became Thompson’s signature song. Its cynical attitude inspired an answer record by Kitty Wells called “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels,” which made her the first female artist in country music history with a million-selling record. Thompson continued to score hit after hit during the ’50s, including 21 songs that reached the Top 20 on the country charts and five Top Tens in the year 1954 alone.
-Steve Huey, AllMusic.com
Few if any other record labels have been as steadfastly dedicated to the propagation of American roots music as HighTone, the Oakland, CA based company launched in 1983 by Bruce Bromberg and Larry Sloven. Emerging during a period when MTV was just taking hold, and when radio and clubs concentrated on flashy, synthetic, post-punk and dance music, HighTone’s founders shrugged, ignored the trends, and went about signing up one great Americana artist after another. The label couldn’t have gotten off to a better start: Robert Cray’s Bad Influence was a colossal achievement that almost single-handedly served notice that the blues was back in town (not that it had ever left), only under new management. Following its success, HighTone subsequently diversified, unleashing not only superb albums of modern blues but also no-nonsense folk, rock, country, and numerous subgenres thereof — all of it, essentially, non-trendy, organic music created by both established and young upstarts. This four-CD/one-DVD collection is HighTone’s well-deserved pat on its own back.
-Jeff Tamarkin, AllMusic.com