Sammy Brue Shares “True Believer”

Sammy Brue Shares “True Believer”


Press Release

“True Believer” is the third track to be released from the already critically lauded young artist’s sophomore album, ‘Crash Test Kid’.

19-year old Utah musician Sammy Brue has shared his latest single, “True Believer.”

“It seems like a great time for this song to come out,” says Brue. “It’s really easy to live in doubt , in fear, in sadness – even more with what we’re all experiencing together now. This song is about using the power we all have inside of us. Some people find it easier to get to than others. It’s ok to be a dreamer, to be inspired. This song is all of that wrapped into one big melodic burrito!”

“True Believer” is the third track to be released from the already critically lauded young artist’s sophomore album, Crash Test Kid. (June 12 via New West Records). Having just completed  tours opening for Michael Kiwanuka and Marcus King before the COVID-19 crisis, Sammy was forced to cancel his trip to SXSW, and has spent the past several weeks at home in Utah, where he’s been performing live on his Instagram Stories and recently took part in Consequence Of Sound’s livestream tribute to one of his musical heroes, John Prine.

Since writing his first song (a fingerpicked, autobiographical tune titled “The Woody Guthrie Song”) at the age of 11, Brue has released three homespun EPs, his New West full-length debut, I Am Nice and a 2018 EP, Down with Desperation . In the process, the Ogden, Utah native has been hailed as an “Americana prodigy” by Rolling Stone, a “wunderkind” by American Songwriter and one of the “teenagers shaping pop” by The New Yorker. Alongside this, Brue has performed at the Newport Folk Festival and played shows with the likes of Lucinda Williams, Lukas Nelson and Hayes Carll; and toured alongside Justin Townes Earle, who has become a mentor of sorts.

Brue recorded his debut full-length, I Am Nice , in Muscle Shoals with Ben Tanner of Alabama Shakes and John Paul White of The Civil Wars producing. But for his new album he took a different approach, collaborating with Irish producer, singer-songwriter Iain Archer , who has worked with the likes of Jake Bugg and Snow Patrol.

Sammy Brue Pre-Order Crash Test Kid

*Feature image by Pamela Littky

World Premiere: “Stone Cold Crazy” – New Single From the Starlite Campbell Band

World Premiere: “Stone Cold Crazy” – New Single From the Starlite Campbell Band


Press Release

The Starlite Campbell Band is steeped in British blues – think early Led Zeppelin, The Faces and Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac.

European & British Blues awards nominees the Starlite Campbell Band continue their musical adventure with the release of their new single “Stone Cold Crazy” on Friday 1st May, 2020.

Photograph by Phil Kneen © 2020

Husband and wife team Suzy Starlite and Simon Campbell have temporarily relocated themselves and their semi-mobile recording studio to Lower Saxony, Germany in order to write and record their highly anticipated new album The Language of Curiosity, set for release on 2nd October, 2020 via Supertone Records.

The band is steeped in British blues – think early Led Zeppelin, The Faces and Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac. With original songs that push the boundaries of blues and rock, they have a sound and vibe reminiscent of the mid 60’s to early 70’s; there is no one quite like them on the circuit right now.

With their debut album Blueberry Pie nominated for best album in the European blues awards, their second album The Language of Curiosity continues to push the boundaries of British blues and British rock. The record also features longtime collaborators Jonny Henderson and Christian Madden who are sharing keyboard duties and drummer Steve Gibson.

Suzy enthused, “‘Stone Cold Crazy’ jumped out and just had to be the first single we released from the album. It’s bursting with energy and echoes the sound and vibe of the early 70’s where British blues was morphing into more song based Rock ’n’ Roll.”

The band are also offering a special offer for all preorders of The Language of Curiosity. To thank you for supporting their work as full time musicians, you will automatically receive a digital copy of the new single “Stone Cold Crazy”  when it is released on 1st May featuring artwork by world renowned photographer Phil Kneen.

This applies to all singles released from the album prior to the official album launch on 2nd October, 2020.

Listen to ‘Stone Cold Crazy’ exclusively on the Starlite Campbell Band website from the 1st – 8th May, 2020 and preorder The Language of Curiosity.

Starlite Campbell Band

*Feature image © Peter Putters 2019 used by permission

SiriusXM Launching Rolling Stones, Bowie, Prince, Led Zeppelin Exclusive Content Channels

SiriusXM Launching Rolling Stones, Bowie, Prince, Led Zeppelin Exclusive Content Channels


Press Release

SiriusXM has collaborated with acclaimed and iconic artists and their representatives to create personally curated audio experiences for listeners everywhere. The collection of exclusive music channels launching on Friday, May 1 — and in conjunction with SiriusXM’s extended Stream Free period through May — are dedicated to megastars David Bowie, Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, George Strait, Guns N’ Roses, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Prince, and The Rolling Stones.

To make sure as many people as possible can hear these special audio experiences, SiriusXM is extending its unprecedented Stream Free offer through May 31. Stream Free gives free and easy access to SiriusXM’s full lineup of Premier Streaming content to any listener in North America on the SiriusXM app.

“It’s like catching lightning in a bottle for SiriusXM to be able to offer authorized channels from these iconic artists, not only to our subscribers, but at a time when our app is free to everyone,” said Scott Greenstein, President and Chief Content Officer of SiriusXM. “These channels, combined with our already incredible set of artist-dedicated channels, makes SiriusXM the ultimate audio destination to bring fans closer to the artists they love, and at a time when people can use some great music.”

For information on these new music channels dedicated to iconic artists head over to Sirius New Channels.

The David Bowie Channel will feature music spanning Bowie’s career, from his earliest recordings to his final album, Blackstar. Listeners will hear rare tracks and demo versions of some of Bowie’s greatest songs as well as interpretations of his work from artists including Beck, Annie Lennox, Nirvana, Tears For Fears, Barbra Streisand, The Wallflowers, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Duran Duran, the late Scott Weiland, and more. The David Bowie Channel will be available on the SiriusXM app in the Rock category.

Hotel California, SiriusXM’s Eagles channel, will feature music from the band’s extensive career, stories behind the making of their biggest hits as well as their solo records and influences. Listeners will hear a timely curated collection of songs during these uncertain times ‘The Eagles Pandemic Playlist,’ as well as encores of the Eagles’ exclusive SiriusXM concert from the Grand Ole Opry from October 2017. Additionally, famous rock journalist and SiriusXM host David Fricke shares narratives on Eagles lineage and more. The Hotel California channel will be available on the SiriusXM app in the Rock category.

The Fleetwood Mac Channel will showcase music from the band’s extensive GRAMMY Award-winning, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame career, including their indelible hits, solo material, live songs, rare demo tracks and musical influences. The channel will also include exclusive stories and insights from the band, plus special shows hosted by Mick Fleetwood and Christine McVie.  A special hour-long behind-the-scenes look at the band’s landmark album, Rumours, called “Rumours Revealed” will include commentary from Fleetwood and McVie, as well as Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. The Fleetwood Mac Channel will be available on the SiriusXM app in the Rock category.

Ace in the Hole Radio, dedicated to the music of George Strait, will encompass personal insights and stories from the country music legend, about his life and music. The channel will also air Strait’s biggest songs including 60 No. 1 hits from throughout his career. Ace in the Hole Radio will be available on the SiriusXM app in the Country category.

Guns N’ Roses Radio will feature music from their entire iconic career, including their monumental 1987 Appetite for Destruction album, live tracks and rarities. The limited-run music channel will also include music by artists who have influenced Guns N’ Roses as well as those that have toured with the band. Additionally, listeners will hear Guns N’ Roses’ exclusive SiriusXM concert from the Apollo Theater from July 2017. Guns N’ Roses Radio will be available on the SiriusXM app in the Rock category.

Led Zeppelin Radio will feature every song from the iconic band’s music catalog, which includes some of the most groundbreaking albums in rock history. The channel will provide fans exclusive access to the sounds and insights from Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones, as well as the songs that made Led Zeppelin rock legends. In addition to their epic songs, listeners will hear early rough mixes, alternate versions, remasters and momentous performances captured live. Led Zeppelin Radio will be available on the SiriusXM app in the Rock category.

Mandatory Metallica will feature the band’s biggest songs, rarities and concert recordings from throughout the band’s iconic career as well as commentary from each band member.  The channel will embark on a 30-date “virtual Metallica tour,” which will air a daily concert from the band on tour around the globe, including the band’s exclusive SiriusXM concert from 2013 at the Apollo Theater in New York City and their 2016 concert at New York City’s Webster Hall.  An exclusive at-home DJ session, “Welcome Home,” from Lars Ulrich will also be featured. The band will take over SiriusXM’s Liquid Metal channel each Monday in May, for “Metallica Mondays.” Mandatory Metallica will be available on the SiriusXM app in the Rock category.

The Prince Channel will feature music from the GRAMMY®, Golden Globe and Academy Award® winner’s iconic catalog, from early recordings to his biggest hits, and will notably include an extraordinary audio performance: a never-before-heard demo of a conceptual radio show created by Prince for a Sirius Satellite Radio channel from 2005.  Created by Prince around the release of his celebrated 3121 album, the show, running more than two hours, features songs from his unparalleled catalog, personal favorite selections by other artists, mixes, interviews, and a peek into his legendary vault of unreleased studio and live recordings. Prince collaborated with DJ Rashida, who hosts the show, with Prince joining throughout.  Comedian Katt Williams, who was a favorite of Prince’s, also pops in as “Ezekiel,” providing comedic relief through the full 2+ hours. The channel will also include a takeover from Sheila E., special playlists from Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and SiriusXM’s recent Let’s Go Crazy: The Grammy Salute To Prince Town Hall, featuring Jimmy Jam, Sheila E. and H.E.R.  Music by artists that Prince was closely connected to, inspired by, and collaborated with will also be featured. The Prince Channel will be available on the SiriusXM app in the Hip-Hop/R&B category.

Rolling Stones Radio, which debuted on SiriusXM in 2008, has been updated and expanded, giving new and lifelong Stones fans a comprehensive journey through the band’s almost six- decade career, while also including their new song ‘Living In A Ghost Town’ which was completed during quarantine.  Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood share thoughts and memories about writing and recording their biggest songs, performing live, friendships, and the band’s legacy. Rolling Stones Radio will be available all month on the SiriusXM app in the Rock category.

These new limited-run dedicated artist channels are examples of SiriusXM music channels created with iconic and leading artists including The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Pearl Jam, Eminem, LL COOL J, Phish, Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, Diplo, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and more.

Anyone who is not already a SiriusXM subscriber can download the SiriusXM app or go to SiriusXM.com/streamfree, and start listening free of charge, with no credit card or commitment required. The SiriusXM app is available on mobile phones, tablets and computers, as well as on a wide variety of connected devices in the home including smart TVs, devices with Amazon Alexa or the Google Assistant, Apple TV, PlayStation, Roku, Sonos speakers and more. The SiriusXM app also offers additional features such as SiriusXM video, Personalized Stations Powered by Pandora that listeners can curate themselves, and an On Demand library with more than 10,000 hours of archived shows, exclusive music performances, interviews and audio documentaries.

Timely Billy Gibbons Video Unearthed – Missin’ Yo’ Kissin’

Timely Billy Gibbons Video Unearthed – Missin’ Yo’ Kissin’


Press Release

November 11, 2018 found the ZZ Top front man at the Aztec Theater in San Antonio, TX for a tour date in support of his solo album The Big Bad Blues.

Missin Yo’ Kissin’,” a performance video shot towards the end of Billy F Gibbons’ 2018 tour has surfaced and been posted. Its relevance to the current circumstance of quarantine/shelter-in-place is implicit. The song, the creation of the video and the discovery of that video last week were all truly serendipitous.

November 11, 2018 found the ZZ Top front man at the Aztec Theater in San Antonio, TX for a tour date in support of his then-recently released solo album The Big Bad Blues. The road band consisted of Gibbons (guitar), Matt Sorum (drums) and Austin Hanks (guitar), along with the participation of Billy’s long-time guitar tech, Elwood Francis (harmonica).

At that afternoon’s soundcheck, Sorum was introduced to Harry Reese by the venue’s sound man. Reese, as it happens, is a Shiner, TX-based photographer/videographer whose resume includes assignments with Five Finger Death Punch, Shinedown and Stone Temple Pilots. He was equipped that day to do a one man-four camera shoot of the show. His services were engaged on the spot to chronicle the performance of “Missin’ Yo’ Kissin’,” one of the group’s stand out numbers. Harry situated two stationary GoPro cameras on Sorum’s drum stand and documented the proceedings as he scurried around the stage with two hand-held cameras. Once the tour concluded, the video was forgotten though The Big Bad Blues was not. It went on to win Best Blues Rock Album at the 2019 Blues Music Awards.

Gibbons was unable to attend the BMA ceremonies in Memphis last year due to a ZZ Top performance conflict but Gilligan Stillwater, Billy’s wife, most appropriately accepted the award on his behalf. The song was actually written by “Miz Gilly” who came up with it while waiting in the lobby of Foam Box Studios in Houston where the album was recorded. Through the control room window, Billy noticed her scribbling in a note book. That scribbling turned out to be the lyrics for “Missin’ Yo’ Kissin’” which was added to The Big Bad Blues tune stack immediately thereafter. After the song was recorded Billy, asked the rhetorical question, “She was writing that about me, wasn’t she?!?”

Just last week, Sorum remembered the video. He unearthed the hard-drive and shared it with Billy whose social media team posted it immediately. Says Gibbons, “It’s fortuitous that Matt remembered the video and fished it out of his stick bag last week. Now, more than ever, this is an exemplar of our go-to phrase, ‘Blues You Can Use’.”

Billy F Gibbons

*Feature image captured from YouTube

New UK Virtual Gig Guide From New Outlaw PR

New UK Virtual Gig Guide From New Outlaw PR


Press Release

UK Virtual Gig Guide for the weekend of April 25 -26 and beyond.

Album release management, PR, and graphics & merchandise developer New Outlaw is offering a weekly Virtual Gig Guide for performances in the UK. They encourage all artists to let them know of online events so that they may be included in this weekly guide.

This week’s offerings include:

Saturday, 25 April: Robin Bibi via Saturday Night Legends – 21:00 (UK Time)

Saturday, 25 April: Jamie Williams and the Roots Collective launch their new single “Life on The Road” to aid the NHS – 4:30 PM (UK time)

Sunday, 26 April: Isolation Music Festival 5 – 13:00-18:00 (UK Time) – featuring Sheri Kershaw, Richard Townend, Trevor Gentry, Bob Collum, Nigel Barker, Rob Falsini, Steve Morrison, Izzie Thatcher, Tony De Meur, When Rivers Meet, Starlite Campbell, Tim Edley, Callum Morgan, Dom Pipkin, and Andrew Black.

Sunday, 26 April: Redfish Lockdown –  20:00 (UK Time)

Sunday, 26 April: Dan Burnett 18:30 (UK time) (with more planned for all Sundays for the foreseeable future)

Friday, 1 May: Rebecca Downes -19:30 (UK Time)

But wait, there’s more!

Live events from the Brickmakers, Norwich

Fri – Brickmakers – FIREWIRE – ‘LIVE NOT LIVE’ Video stream on Facebook & YouTube  – 2 Sets – First Set at 9pm & Second Set at 10pm

Sat – Brickmakers – SKAFACE UK – ‘LIVE NOT LIVE’ Video Stream on Facebook & YouTube –  2 Sets – First Set at 9pm & Second Set at 10pm

Sat – B2 Venue – ALPHA OMEGA ‘LIVE NOT LIVE’ Video stream at 9pm followed by BENEATH THE EMBERS – ‘LIVE NOT LIVE’ Video stream at 10pm on Facebook & YouTube

Sun – Brickmakers – SMALL TALK – ‘LIVE NOT LIVE’ Video stream –  2 Sets – First Set at 3pm & Second Set at 4pm

And….

Mothership Studios has been streaming a daily show since the start of the lockdown. They interview guests everyday from the world of music 6.30AM SLT, 8.30AM Nashville, 9.30AM New York, 2.30PM London and a nightcap in Japan! plus simulcast into the virtual world of Second Life.  All original, all independent music and chat.Join them for a late lunch, music and chat 2.30PM BST everyday in the Mothership Studios Chat Room.

New Outlaw

Dirty Streets Drop Their New Album ‘Rough and Tumble’ July 31ST

Dirty Streets Drop Their New Album ‘Rough and Tumble’ July 31ST


Press Release

The Memphis based power trio Dirty Sheets’ first single from ‘Rough and Tumble’ is a revved-up cover of Joe South’s “Walk a Mile in My Shoes.”

Scan the press on soul-groove outfit Dirty Streets and you’ll see numerous references to rock, soul, and dirty-blooze touchstones like the Faces, Humble Pie, Otis Redding, CCR and more. Spin Dirty Streets’ records and you’ll hear all of those echoes, plus others—some jazz timing, some acoustic balladry. But by and large, what you’ll hear is a raw, rowdy blend of Motown, Stax and rock—the pure American blood-beat moving through the heart of Memphis groove.

Austin-born Justin Toland (guitar/vocals) found his own musical food early through his father, a classic-rock aficionado who turned Justin on to the Stones, Creedence, soul music and the Stax sound. At 17 Toland moved to Memphis and met Thomas Storz (bass), a native of the city, through mutual friends; the pair found common musical ground and began playing groove-grounded rock with a series of temporary drummers. Andrew Denham (drums), a Shreveport-born drummer and British hard-rock fan, joined up with Storz and Toland in 2007.

The trio began demoing using a basic setup: a single cassette recorder, no tracks, no real separation, just mics on the bass/drums and guitar and vocals live in the room. Without the option to isolate, tweak or sweeten after the fact, Dirty Streets became accustomed to running through a take 40 or 50 times as they worked to get it right, all the way through. By the time they began gigging live, that level of discipline had honed Dirty Streets into an instinctual, responsive outfit. Bootleg recordings of their shows in and around Memphis helped to generate buzz, and established Dirty Streets’ rep as a band whose timing was as sharp as their sound was ragged.

Albums followed—Portrait of a Man (2009), Movements (2011), Blades of Grass (2013), White Horse (2015), Distractions (2018), and their forthcoming live effort Rough and Tumble, an LP drawn from an in-house performance for the DittyTV Americana music television network. All of these albums are steeped in the raw rock-soul groove that serves as the band’s taproot, the musical core from which all of its explorations still proceed. And within that core, too, is the element that gives their music, the music they love and play, its unique character.

Rough and Tumble includes eight positively explosive takes from three of the Memphis trio’s previous studio albums, and also features two meaty, revved-up covers by the great Joe South, including this one!

Dirty Streets

*Feature image by Bob Bayne courtesy of Pavement PR

New York Guitar Festival 2020 Celebrates Reverend Gary Davis

New York Guitar Festival 2020 Celebrates Reverend Gary Davis


Press Release

Reverend Gary Davis: In Search of the Harlem Street Singer will premier one video performance each day (May 4-15) at 4pm EDT via the New York Guitar Festival YouTube Channel.

The New York Guitar Festival (NYGF) brings its distinguished musical curation online amid the COVID-19 pandemic with Reverend Gary Davis: In Search of the Harlem Street Singer. Presented live on YouTube beginning May 4, 2020, the twelve-song series commissions a diverse group of stellar artists––including Bill Frisell, Rosanne Cash & John Leventhal, Fantastic Negrito, Amythyst Kiah and others––to explore the music of blind blues musician Rev. Gary Davis.

Reverend Gary Davis: In Search of the Harlem Street Singer will premier one video performance each day (May 4-15) at 4pm EDT via the New York Guitar Festival YouTube Channel. Full programming schedule listed below.

In partnership with the New York Guitar Festival, WNYC’s “New Sounds” will debut audio recordings of the full collection on May 4. Tune in at 11pm EDT on May 4th – on the radio dial at 93.9FM or at their website.

Rev. Gary Davis performed on the streets of Harlem from the late 1940s until his death in 1972. WNYC’s John Schaefer explains, “Rev. Gary Davis is one of those curious figures in music history who should be famous, but who’s also a lot better known than you might think.”  Overcoming poverty, racial discrimination and blindness, Davis made numerous influential recordings and festival appearances, and also taught students including David Bromberg, Stefan Grossman, Dave Van Ronk, and Bob Weir. His songs have been covered by The Rolling Stones, The Grateful Dead, Peter Paul & Mary, and Bob Dylan.

New York Guitar Festival’s Artistic Director David Spelman adds of the project, “Listening to, and sharing, music has been a lifeline for so many people during this period of social isolation. We hope this project will spread the joy, and shine a light on the remarkable music and resilient life of Reverend Gary Davis.”

Access to Reverend Gary Davis: In Search of the Harlem Street Singer  is free. The New York Guitar Festival and performing artists are asking viewers to make donations to MusiCares. The Recording Academy’s MusicCares COVID-19 Relief Fund, helps the music community affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.

PROGRAM SCHEDULE Daily at 4PM EDT

Rosanne Cash & John Leventhal – Monday, May 4th

Amythyst Kiah – Tuesday, May 5th

Fantastic Negrito  -Wednesday, May 6th

Bill Frisell – Thursday, May 7th

Dom Flemons – Friday, May 8th

Sonia de los Santos – Saturday, May 9th

Jorma Kaukonen – Sunday, May 10th

Kaia Kater – Monday, May 11th

Brandon Ross – Tuesday, May 12th

Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams -Wednesday, May 13th

TDB – Thursday, May 14th

 Larkin Poe – Friday, May 15th

When seeing Rev. Gary Davis audiences generally had no idea that some of the biggest acts in music were borrowing from a blind Carolina blues guitarist who left a life of poverty and rough treatment to move to New York City in the late 40s. 

Davis himself recorded as Blind Gary Davis and Rev. Gary Davis – he was ordained as a minister in the 1930s – and the two names seem to reflect the two halves of his personality. Religious imagery fills his songs, and his version of the blues is heavily colored by the sounds of early gospel music. But his guitar picking had a strong ragtime feel, and Mr. Davis was known to be, shall we say, a very secular guy when Mrs. Davis wasn’t around. We know this because for most of the 60s and until his death in 1972, his Harlem apartment became a pilgrimage site for dozens of young guitarists eager to learn from someone who had lived the blues and played them from birth. David Bromberg, Stefan Grossman, Dave Van Ronk, and Bob Weir are just some of the many students who left his apartment with new skills and often colorful, and occasionally off-color, stories.

Davis spent much of his early years in New York playing on the streets of Harlem. In 1960, he recorded an album for the prestigious (and Prestige Records-owned) Bluesville label; it was called Harlem Street Singer. But the 60s revival of interest in the blues and folk music was a rising tide that lifted many boats, his among them. Students came; he was invited to appear at the Newport Folk Festival; and a series of other LPs followed. These included reissues of his earliest recordings, and it’s fascinating to follow his raspy voice and sometimes showy guitar playing over the course of many years. Like any good street musician, Gary Davis could change a song to fit the situation.  Part of the fun of being a fan of his is comparing (and arguing over) the various versions he made of songs like “Samson and Delilah” (which he also recorded under the name “If I Had My Way”) or “Twelve Gates to the City.”  And part of the fun of being a guitarist trying play his music is figuring out how he did what he did.  (In one version of “Samson and Delilah,” he uses his right hand to rap on the body of the guitar as a percussion effect while the left hand hammers on the strings to keep them sounding – an early example of the so-called “tapping” technique.) 

All of the musicians taking part in this year’s New York Guitar Festival are now fans of Rev. Gary Davis.  Some have been lifelong fans; others we’ve had the pleasure of introducing him to.  They’ve all found their way into one of the good reverend’s songs – reinventing them just as he did, throughout a long and productive career. 

Bill Frisell – Bill Frisell is the founder of Guitarists Without Borders. Actually that’s a lie, but it shouldn’t be. Frisell is a singular figure in music, drawing on jazz, rock, classical, folk, electronic, West African, and film music. He is both a composer and an inventive arranger, and has also had works written for him by leading classical composers. He has played with… oh hell, everyone.

Rosanne Cash & John Leventhal – Rosanne Cash is a multiple Grammy-winning, chart-topping singer and songwriter with roots in Nashville, whose Music Hall of Fame includes both her and her dad, Johnny Cash. Her husband, John Leventhal, is also a multiple Grammy-winning artist as a songwriter, guitarist, producer, and engineer.

Sonia de los Santos – Sonia de los Santos is a Mexican-born, New York-based singer and guitarist who played in the Grammy-winning band Dan Zanes and Friends. She has made two albums of family music and been nominated for a Latin Grammy.

Jorma Kaukonen – Jorma Kaukonen helped shape the sound of 60s rock with the band Jefferson Airplane. Since then, he has made sure that American roots music remains a part of that sound with his solo work and his band Hot Tuna. But he has a particular soft spot for Rev. Gary Davis: “his art set me on fire as a young man,” he writes, “in ways that it would take me decades to fully appreciate.”

Amythyst Kiah – Amythyst Kiah is a powerhouse singer, banjo player, and guitarist who draws freely from folk, blues, old-time, and alternative rock. She is one of the four women in the banjo-based, socially-conscious supergroup Our Native Daughters.

Kaia Kater – Kaia Kater is a Canadian musician whose family roots are in the Caribbean but whose musical roots are in Appalachia. As a singer, songwriter, banjo player and guitarist, she has made three LPs that range from covers of traditional tunes to contemporary chamber-folk songs about social issues.

Brandon Ross – Brandon Ross is a singer, songwriter, and guitarist. His own bands include the avant-power trio Harriet Tubman and the improvising duo For Living Lovers. He has played with Cassandra Wilson, Henry Threadgill, and dozens of others, and blames us, the New York Guitar Festival, for his love of Rev. Gary Davis after he was asked to take part in a 2004 tribute concert we’d done. “My search resulted in touching into a vein of gold,” he writes, “bright as anything else resonating the musical cosmos we inhabit.”

Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams – The husband and wife American roots music team of Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams made their first album together in 2015, after seven years of playing in Levon Helm’s band. They’ve also played together with Jorma Kaukonen, Phil Lesh, and many others.  Larry was also a member of Bob Dylan’s “Never Ending Tour” band for many years. He recently recovered from the COVID-19 virus.

Larkin Poe – Larkin Poe is a duo comprised of the guitar-slinging sisters Rebecca & Megan Lovell, who play everything from amped-up electric blues-rock to covers of Delta and gutbucket blues. They are currently hosting a Saturday series of online concerts. Fun fact: Larkin Poe is the name of one of their ancestors. Another was Edgar Allen Poe.

Fantastic Negrito – Fantastic Negrito is the name used by Grammy-winning singer, songwriter and guitarist Xavier Dphrepaulezz. More than a stage name, it is a mark of recovery and reinvention for an artist whose long and wild background includes music industry misfortune, a near-fatal car crash, and a renewed commitment to a street-based, community-minded approach to music.

Dom Flemons – Dom Flemons refers to himself as an “American songster,” and for good reason. The Grammy-winning banjo, guitar, bones, fife, and harmonica player – and former member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops – has a winning on-stage personality and a repertoire of over a century of American vernacular songs: old-time, ragtime, early jazz, minstrel songs, string band music and more.

New York Guitar Festival

Hurricane Ruth’s ‘Good Life’ Lands July 10th

Hurricane Ruth’s ‘Good Life’ Lands July 10th


Press Release

American Showplace Music proudly announces the release of Hurricane Ruth (LaMaster)’s ‘Good Life’ on JULY 10, 2020.

Hurricane Ruth‘s 5th studio album and her debut on the American Showplace label, Good Life was produced by Ben Elliott and recorded at Showplace Studios in Dover, NJ.

Good Life‘s 10 tracks include 8 songs written or co-written by Hurricane Ruth plus Grammy-winner Gary Nicholson’s “Torn In Two” and “I’ve Got Your Back” written by Karen Leipziger/Freda McCrary/Irene Kelley. Joining LaMaster in the studio on Good Life are Scott Holt (guitar), Bruce Katz (Hammond B-3, keyboards), Calvin Johnson (bass) and Tony Braunagel (drums).

“Like Wildfire” (co-written with K. Wright, J. Hutsell) “takes me back to some of the honky tonk music I heard at my mom and dad’s tavern, The Glendale Tavern, in my hometown of Beardstown, IL. Whether it was music on the jukebox or at Sunday jam sessions, you would always hear an eclectic mix of blues, swing, country, outlaw, and rock ‘n roll. It inspired me to combine all these genres into this song.” The poignant ballad “Good Life”(written with Scott Holt) came about from “a conversation with my mom about a year before she passed away. We were sitting at her kitchen table drinking iced tea. I asked her many deep and pointed questions about her life and what she would have done differently.”  The hard rockin’ “Black Sheep” “pays homage to the tough little badass inside of me who, at an early age, was not afraid to be her authentic self.”

Ruth’s previous release, 2017’s Ain’t Ready For The Grave was produced by Grammy-winning producer Tom Hambridge. Additional recordings include the 2015 EP Winds Of Change, 2014’s Born On The River, and The Power of the Blues…Feels Like a Hurricane (2012).

The Glendale Tavern, in Beardstown, Illinois, was Ruth’s father Milt LaMaster’s business. Sunday at the Glendale meant jam sessions. Musicians came from all over the region to perform. Many genres were represented; blues, jazz, country, rock ‘n’ roll and big band. All of these styles are represented in the music Ruth writes and performs today. Ruth remembers, at the tender age of three, sitting on her Dad’s lap, while he played drums in these jams. She would keep time on the ride cymbal while he played. These Sunday sessions are some of Ruth’s earliest and fondest memories.

Hurricane Ruth began her prospective music career as a dancer, which she credits in helping her develop “a good internal rhythm.” She first began singing while in high school, channeling the music she heard in her home — singers such as Bessie Smith, Ray Charles, Dinah Washington and Ella Fitzgerald, whose music she heard performed by her father, a drummer in several bands. But by the time she had formed her own group, the first incarnation of Hurricane Ruth, she had begun developing a harder rocking blues style than her traditional idols.

Hurricane Ruth’s own brand of the blues has been heard around the country by thousands of audience members. She’s had numerous opportunities to perform alongside many legendary figures of the blues — from B.B. King and John Lee Hooker, to Sam & Dave, Willie Dixon and Taj Mahal. “To be able to sit and talk with Willie Dixon after one of my shows, that’s something I won’t ever forget,” LaMaster said. “I gained a great amount of knowledge just from listening to him. And John Lee Hooker, he was one of the most memorable. Being in his presence was like being around blues royalty.”

Hurricane Ruth

*Feature image courtesy of KL Productions

Introducing Childe – Debut Single “Bad Ideas” Out Now

Introducing Childe – Debut Single “Bad Ideas” Out Now


Press Release

“‘Bad Ideas’ is about being an attention seeker. Attention through affection. But then not wanting it once you’ve got it.”

Today marks the debut single from brand new British artist, Childe. “‘Bad Ideas’ is about being an attention seeker. Attention through affection. But then not wanting it once you’ve got it,” says Childe. The music video was directed by Polish visual artist Lukasz Pytlik.

Raised in a bucolic rural town in England, Childe had anything but a fairy tale upbringing. His father was a wildcard and entered and exited his life with some regularity. “When I was 14 I went on holiday with my dad,” he said. “He was supposed to be sober and we agreed that he could drink and I could smoke cigarettes. We cycled along a canal and slept in a tent outside different pubs. On the first night, we went to the pub and then he got me stoned for the first time and I lost my shit. At 2am I woke up and threw up all over the tent and him and he had to clean it up. The exact same happened the next night.” The “Bad ideas” cover art is a photo from that trip.

He began writing music as a teenager, deeply inspired by great storytellers like Tracy Chapman and Bright Eyes. He picked up piano and guitar and eventually was enrolled in the legendary performing arts high school – the BRIT school in London. Notable BRIT school alumni include Adele, FKA Twigs, Amy Winehouse, Rex Orange County and King Krule among others. It was there that he was able to escape from the instability of his childhood and find community and collaboration with other artists. He went on to open dates for King Princess and hone the sound you hear in Childe.

Childe Instagram Childe Twitter

Low Cut Connie Announces New Album ‘Private Lives’

Low Cut Connie Announces New Album ‘Private Lives’


Press Release

“Where do people go to be with ‘their people,’ and how do they find them? How well do we see ourselves and our own isolation?”

Today, Low Cut Connie announces his new album Private Lives with the official music video for the title track. The self-produced double album which took the Philadelphia-based rock and roll act three years to assemble will be released later this year via Contender Records/MidCitizen Records.

“I am fascinated by how people live, what they do to get by day-to-day, and what they choose to show the world,” states Adam Weiner, who works under the name Low Cut Connie. “The outward-facing world, that is our culture.. but what I’m interested in is what we call subculture…private lives.”

Alternating between raucous, full-tilt, rock and roll ecstasy and gritty, stripped-down vulnerability, Private Lives is Low Cut Connie’s most potent and wide-ranging work to date, a complicated, sprawling epic. It’s at once beautiful and sloppy, brilliant and sordid, pissed off and joyous. While Weiner might not call it a concept album, there is an underlying architecture at play here. The record vacillates between riotous, anarchic anthems and raw, painfully honest solo performances, underscoring shifts between the public and private self.

Released against the backdrop of a global quarantine, Private Lives reminds us that our isolations and connections relate to so much more than the external, physical world. “Where do people go to be with ‘their people,’ and how do they find them? How well do we see ourselves and our own isolation?” Weiner asks. “I’m obsessed with understanding people’s interior lives. In order to explore that idea, I had to create a flow that went in and out of these characters’ private spheres. There had to be a push and pull between their external and internal worlds. I knew if I was going to pull that off, I was going to have make a big album.”

Recently, Low Cut Connie released a protest song and video for “Look What They Did,” his first release of new music since 2018’s acclaimed Dirty Pictures (Part 2). On the song, which will be included on Private Lives, Adam Weiner explores the effect Donald Trump had on Atlantic City almost 40 years after Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City,” which appeared on 1982’s Nebraska.

Low Cut Connie’s “Live From South Philly” livestreams, which Weiner has been doing every Thursday and Saturday at 6pm ET on Facebook and Instagram, have been one of the most high-energy and acclaimed series of the quarantine and have now been viewed hundreds of thousands of times from fans around the world.

Low Cut Connie

*Feature image by Donari Braxton

41st Blues Music Awards Show Will Go On

41st Blues Music Awards Show Will Go On


Press Release

THE 41st BLUES MUSIC AWARDS SHOW WILL GO ON AS THE FIRST VIRTUAL BMA CEREMONY ON MAY 3, 2020

This year’s Blues Music Awards ceremony will be unlike any of its predecessors. In light of the current coronavirus pandemic, the annual BMA gala will take place online in living rooms around the world instead of onstage in Memphis. The festivities will commence on May 3 at 5 p.m. EDT, 4 p.m. CDT, and 2 p.m. PDT, and will be live-streamed on The Blues Foundation’s Facebook page and co-broadcasted on its YouTube channel . Barbara Newman, Blues Foundation President and CEO states “our goal this year is to create a global community from all corners of the world, coming together to celebrate the music and heal our souls.”

Multi-BMA winning and GRAMMY® Award nominated artist Shemekia Copeland will host the event from her living room and BMA nominees will contribute exclusive performances recorded in their homes. Like prior BMA ceremonies, this online event will also feature announcements of all nominees and award winners, along with some special guest appearances. A full list of 2020 BMA nominees can be found here.

Not only will the BMA show emanate from artists’ living rooms around the world, but it can be enjoyed by fans from their own homes while socially distancing— making this event one big communal party. Preserving, celebrating and promoting the blues are core missions of The Blues Foundation, which marks its milestone 40th anniversary this year. This unique online experience will allow Facebook viewers to share their thoughts and comments with fellow blues enthusiasts watching worldwide as they celebrate blues’ grand night together.

Of special note, the Foundation has created the COVID-19 Blues Musician Emergency Relief Fund to assist full-time professional blues musicians who have lost their income source due to tour and event cancellations into the foreseeable future. 2020 BMA ticket holders are being asked to convert their purchases into donations to be applied directly to the fund. Monies have already been distributed to blues musicians for rent/mortgage, utilities, cell phone bills, car payments and other vital necessities with hopes for continued fund growth to allow The Blues Foundation to help as many blues musicians as possible. Donations may be made directly online here.

The Blues Foundation is a world-renowned Memphis-based organization whose mission is to preserve blues heritage, celebrate blues recording and performance, expand worldwide awareness of the blues, and ensure the future of this uniquely American art form. Founded in 1980, the Foundation has approximately 4,000 individual members and 173 affiliated blues societies representing another 50,000 fans and professionals worldwide. Its signature honors and events — the Blues Music Awards, Blues Hall of Fame inductions, International Blues Challenge, and Keeping the Blues Alive Awards — make it the international hub of blues music. Its HART Fund provides the blues community with medical assistance for musicians in need, while Blues in the Schools programs and Generation Blues Scholarships expose new generations to blues music. The Blues Hall of Fame Museum, located in Downtown Memphis, adds the opportunity for blues lovers of all ages to interact with blues music and history. Throughout the year, the Foundation staff serves the global blues community with answers, information, and news.

Tab Benoit Announces Whiskey Bayou Wednesdays

Tab Benoit Announces Whiskey Bayou Wednesdays


Press Release

Artists scheduled to appear: JP Soars, Alastair Greene, Josh Garrett, Jeff McCarty, Eric McFadden, Damon Fowler, and Eric Johanson

Tab Benoit Announces WHISKEY BAYOU WEDNESDAYS Live on Tab’s Facebook, featuring artists from Benoit’s record label, Whiskey Bayou Records. Artists scheduled to appear: JP Soars, Alastair Greene, Josh Garrett, Jeff McCarty, Eric McFadden, Damon Fowler, and Eric Johanson. This talented roster of artists, hand-picked by Benoit, will rotate streaming LIVE from Tab’s Facebook page showcasing the extraordinary musicians on his label. Will the multi-Grammy® nominated Benoit himself make a live appearance via social media eventually, as well? You’ll have to stayed tuned in to find out! Meanwhile, check-in to Tab’s Facebook page each Wednesday at 7pm CT and support Tab’s artists as they perform live for you!

JP Soars:
LET GO OF THE REINS showcases one of the Blues World’s premier talents, JP Soars, with incredible style as a guitarist, singer, and songwriter. A two-time Blues Music Awards nominee, Soars draws from many styles and blends them into a sound that is all his own. Produced by Tab Benoit – LET GO OF THE REINS is a landmark CD for Soars and Benoit as they stretch boundaries while delivering solid songwriting craftsmanship on their “swampish” endeavor. J.P. is psyched about this latest release that was recorded during a whirlwind weeklong session at Tab Benoit’s Whiskey Bayou studios, with a band featuring Red Hot’s drummer Chris Peet on bass, and Benoit on drums. They recorded twelve songs in five days – eight originals which they wrote on the spot, plus four choice covers. The inspiration for the album came from the many nights they all spent jamming into the wee hours on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise and at the Big Blues Bender, and as expected, they captured many magical musical moments.

In the decade since he burst upon the national scene by winning 1st place in the Blues Foundation’s 2009 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN with his band the Red Hots (and the prestigious Albert King Award as best guitarist), Arkansas native J.P. Soars has toured extensively through the United States, Canada, South America and Europe, and released an impressive catalog of powerful music. In addition to his work with his own Red Hots, Soars has been part of the regional all-star blues act Southern Hospitality, also featuring Tampa vocalist/guitarist Damon Fowler and 2019 Grammy nominee, Memphis vocalist/keyboardist Victor Wainwright, plus Red Hots drummer Chris Peet and Wainwright’s bassist Terrance Grayson.

Alastair Greene:
Guitarist, singer and songwriter Alastair Greene will be releasing an exciting new record on Tab Benoit’s Whiskey Bayou Records. Known as a rocking guitarist with a strong blues background, Greene has released eight previous records. In addition to many years with his own band, he toured internationally for over 7 years with the Alan Parsons Project, and has spent the past year as the guitarist in the Sugaray Rayford Band, nominated for a Blues Music Award this year for BAND OF THE YEAR. Greene’s musical journey has been anything but traditional. His combination of Blues, Southern Rock, and Jam Band sensibilities has been thrilling audiences for nearly two decades. With recent performances at the Chicago Blues Festival and the Big Blues Bender in Las Vegas as well as recent tours filling in on guitar with Starship featuring Mickey Thomas, and many guest appearances with such luminaries as Eric Burdon, Walter Trout, Coco Montoya, Savoy Brown, John Nemeth, and Debbie Davies, it’s crystal clear….. Alastair Greene’s star is on the rise.

Alastair and Tab got to know each other on some annual gigs at the Big Blues Bender, and soon become friends as well as musical compadres, so when Tab asked Alastair to join his Whiskey Bayou Records label, it was a natural fit. Greene traveled to Whiskey Bayou Studios in Houma Louisiana with a handful of songs. Tab helped arrange and produce, they did some co-writing, and wound up with 11 original songs. With Greene on guitar and vocals, Tab on drums and harmony vocals, and Corey Duplechin on bass and harmony vocals they recorded most tracks live in the studio. Greene notes that these songs reflect more straight-up blues than his last couple of records, while the songwriting does stretch in to some different territories — Blues Rock filtered through a funky Louisiana Rhythm section. The new record will be coming in 2020. Stay tuned!

Josh Garrett:
Garrett is a triple-threat singer, songwriter, guitarist with a growing reputation as an exciting genre-crossing performer from New Roads, LA. He and his family relocated to Houma, LA when Josh was a child. He picked up his father’s guitar when he was 12 years old and started writing songs soon after. By age 20, Garrett was performing several times a week in Houma, LA. At age 24, he recorded his first album entitled, Changed Man and never looked back. In 2008, he relocated to Nashville, TN. While there, he recorded his second album, Live on Printer’s Alley – a double album. Two years later Josh returned home to Louisiana and began work on his third album. String of Problems, released Aug 2011, which hit #1 on the Roots Music Louisiana Blues Charts and hit the #1 Spot two weeks in a row on American Blues Scene “Blues Top Five”. Josh still resides in his home state of Louisiana near Baton Rouge.

Mutil-Grammy® nominated blues legend Kenny Neal says, “Josh is our next generation with an old soul and he’s playing it with his heart. That’s what we need more of today.”  And rock great Jimmy Hall emphasized – “Josh Garrett is a young triple threat blues man, with a winning combination of unique Cajun flavor guitar work, soulful vocals, and a killer band.  I am honored to perform with him.”  Today.com wrote – “Not only is [Josh Garrett] an amazing musician, he’s an excellent performer. He’s charismatic, fun, and really knows how to work the crowd. If you go to see Josh Garrett and the Bottom Line you will definitely have an amazing time, especially if you love the blues.” Keep your eyes on Josh for a release in 2020 produced by Tab Benoit for Whiskey Bayou Records.For more info on JP Soars, Alastair Greene, Josh Garrett, Jeff McCarty, Eric McFadden, Damon Fowler, and Eric Johanson go to Whiskey Bayou Records.

Marcus King Shares New Video “One Day She’s Here”

Marcus King Shares New Video “One Day She’s Here”


Press Release

Produced by Dan Auerbach, El Dorado is a contemporary exploration of southern R&B, country-soul, classic rock and blues

24 year old phenom singer and songwriter, Marcus King, unveiled his latest music video for “One Day She’s Here,” off his first solo album El Dorado.

The video, directed by Nashville filmmaker Joshua Shoemaker (Alabama Shakes and Erin Rae), features reverse motion photography and nonlinear narrative and was filmed in late 2019 on the streets of Nashville’s vibrant downtown Broadway.

King described the process of creating the song, stating, “I showed up to Easy Eye Sound about 30 minutes late for a writing session. When I walk in, I hear Mackie and Dan playing this bouncy progression. I sat down and the first thing that came to mind was this story of a girl in a Coupé De Ville, just out of your reach. The song talks about the good things in life sometimes not sticking around for long.”

King also adds the type of vibe he was looking for with the video stating, “I’m so happy with the way the video turned out. I wanted to try for a David Lynch approach with this. Josh Shoemaker was just the man for the job. We had so many dear friends come and be a part of it as well. I’m excited to share with y’all.”

Produced by Dan Auerbach, El Dorado is a contemporary exploration of southern R&B, country-soul, classic rock and blues, establishing the 24 year old phenom as one of the most soulful voices of his generation. With an arresting voice that featured as lead instrument, King’s vocal took centre stage alongside a genre bending blend of subtle acoustics, bright pedal steel, raucous electric guitars and blistering solos.

Marcus King

*Feature image by Alysse Gafkjen courtesy of Easy Eye Sound/Fantasy Records

Tom Waits Writes Tribute Letter to “Impresario” Hal Willner

Tom Waits Writes Tribute Letter to “Impresario” Hal Willner


Lauren Leadingham

Says Waits, “More than kin and more than kind, more than friend and more than fiendish in his daunting and devoted pursuit of the lost and the buried, long may his coattails run and long may we now ride, and those that follow us continue to ride upon them.”
Hal Willner

 

Tom Waits and wife Kathleen Brennan have co-authored a touching letter to their late friend Hal Willner, who died last week at the age of 64 after showing symptoms of the novel coronavirus. Willner was an omnipresent figure in the music community, having produced albums for the likes of Lou Reed, Marianne Faithfull, Lucinda Williams, and Allen Ginsberg.

He also produced a two-disc compilation of pirate ballads and sea chanteys called Son of Rogues Gallery. The albums’ interpreters consisted of Keith Richards, Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Michael Stipe, Shane MacGowan, as well as Tom Waits himself.

Hal was cherished for often bringing multifarious talents together, and perhaps best known for hand-picking the music for “Saturday Night Live” sketches for nearly 40 years. Watch SNL’s tribute to Hal, in which past and present cast members share their favorite memories and also sing Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day.”

A 24-year-old Waits met Willner when the 18-year-old walked up to him after one of his shows in 1974. And from there a lifelong bond was forged within the context of music and “bottomless knowledge.”

See full essay below.

Hal. Dear Hal. Brother. Uncle. Father. Son. Husband. Godfather. Friend. Wise and reckless. Lamb and black sheep. Lover of the afflicted and the blessed. More than kin and more than kind, more than friend and more than fiendish in his daunting and devoted pursuit of the lost and the buried, long may his coattails run and long may we now ride, and those that follow us continue to ride upon them.

Hal was the wry and soulful and mysterious historical rememberer. He specialized in staging strange musical bedfellows like Betty Carter and the Replacements or The Residents backing up Conway Twitty. Oh, the wild seeds of Impresario Hal. He was drawn equally to the danger of a fiasco and the magical power of illumination that his legendary productions held. Many years ago he bought Jimmy Durante’s piano along with Bela Lugosi’s wristwatch and a headscarf worn by Karen Carpenter.

Some say he also owned Sarah Bernhardt’s wooden leg. He had a variety of hand and string puppets, dummies, busts of Laurel and Hardy, duck whistles and scary Jerry Mahoney dolls and a free ranging collection of vinyl and rare books. These were his talismans and his vestments because his heart was a reliquary. Hal spoke regularly in asides and mumbling footnotes no doubt to dense tomes no one had heard about or read.

Every story he told was followed by several inaudible and impossible to decipher remarks, (as if he was heckling himself), that were only intended for him. He frequently kvetched. He could conjure up the past like a crystal ball or Ouija board. He reminded us of a bumblebee crawling out of a calla lily… He was a furtive and clandestine and crafty treasure seeker and archeologist of forgotten islands in popular culture.

His laugh. Well, it was an inside pocket and an impish rumpelstiltskin delight dance of laughter that offered refuge to those suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or the slights of a critic’s pen. He encouraged mayhem and folly and celebrated all things genuinely weird and spooky from Soupy Sales to Ella Fitzgerald singing “Sunshine of your Love.”

I (Tom) met him after one of my shows in 1974. He was 18 and I was 24 and he looked like he was already retired. He wanted to show me around the town and get me into some of the clubs. Hal applauded riptides and deviants of musical, literary and human behavior. And, of course, he loved the exceptions to every rule. He loved to pull back the curtain of artifice and say…ta-dah…look at this pageant of crumbling beauty and human disaster…this is the heart that is truly beating…. To Hal, Vaudeville was Valhalla…and his bottomless knowledge was a great spreading tree.

How did Hal get poets, actors, musicians, performers, directors, magicians, puppeteers, madmen, politicians, pundits, tv, radio and film studios from every era and pocket of the world to accompany him? We can’t tell you. Hal wasn’t what you would call a smooth talker or a hustler, but one night we followed him to a street corner in Chinatown at 3 am where together we witnessed a homeless man singing a passionate one-word aria to Bacteria. “BAC-Ter-I-A ..Bac Ter- I – A” with a heartbreaking tenor voice that equaled anyone we had heard at the Met, it was unforgettable.

If you took a cross section of Hal’s heart… you would see the rings of a wise old tree. Above all, let’s remember that Hal loved music… and from all appearances it seems very much to have loved him right back big time. We share our love and sympathy, as do our children, with his wife Sheila and his son Arlo and Hal’s extended family and all the many friends and colluders who loved him.

 

Southern Avenue to Perform Two “Virtual Fest” Sets on Saturday April 18

Southern Avenue to Perform Two “Virtual Fest” Sets on Saturday April 18


Press Release

If you’ve seen them live, you know what to expect. If not, then hang on to your hat because Southern Avenue has TWO virtual fest performances this Saturday.

Fiery Memphis combo Southern Avenue will be performing two sets on Saturday, April 18th. Oh, and did we mention they are for two separate festivals?

The seeds for Southern Avenue’s birth were first planted when Ori Naftaly, who’d grown up in Israel with a deep-rooted passion for American soul, blues and funk, came to Memphis in 2013 to compete in the prestigious International Blues Challenge. Although his talents were embraced by American audiences, Naftaly felt constrained in his own band, feeling the need to embrace a more expansive musical vision.  That opportunity arrived when he met Tierinii Jackson, who’d gotten her start singing in church, before performing in a series of cover bands and theatrical projects. Despite not having a record deal at the time, Southern Avenue quickly found success touring in America and Europe. They won additional attention playing some high-profile festivals and making it to the finals in the International Blues Challenge.

On their self-titled 2017 debut album, the boundary-breaking Memphis combo sparked a one-band musical revolution, embodying an effortlessly organic soul/blues/R&B fusion that reflects the band members’ diverse roots as well as their deep commitment to their chosen style. On their second album Keep On, the dynamic outfit expanded its gritty musical vision to embrace new musical challenges and a more expansive creative vision.

If you’ve seen them live, you know what to expect. If not, then hang on to your hat because Southern Avenue has TWO virtual fest performances this Saturday. Here’s the info:

Mojo Station Blues Festival “MojoFest Lockdown Edition”

This is an actual festival in Rome and Southern Avenue is performing to help raise morale for their Italian music family that’s been quarantined for months already (and who have all lost people at this point due to COVID-19).

Southern Avenue performs at 12PM CDT (5PM GMT)

Other artists include Cedric Burnside, Fantastic Negrito, The Reverend Payton’s Big Damn Band and more.

Mojo Station Blues Festival

and…

Sway-at-Home: A Virtual Music Festival Curated by Dustbowl RevivalThis event actually takes place Friday, Saturday, and Sunday April 17, 18 & 19Southern Avenue performs Saturday, 4/18 at 6:30PM CDT (11:30PM GMT)Other artists include Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars), Dustbowl Revival and more.Sway-At-Home Curated by Dustbowl Revival

Southern Avenue

Robert Connely Farr Releases “Can’t Be Satisfied”

Robert Connely Farr Releases “Can’t Be Satisfied”


Press Release

Recorded at Vancouver’s legendary Hipposonic Studios, Farr & co delve deep into the Bentonia & Hill Country sound on “Can’t Be Satisfied.”

Mississippi expatriate in Vancouver, Robert Connely Farr is gearing up to release a new album this summer. To that end, he’s released the first single, “Can’t Be Satisfied.”

Farr is a songwriter originally from Bolton, Mississippi (Charley Patton / Mississippi Sheiks) currently residing in Vancouver, Canada. Since 2017, cherished elder Mississippi bluesman Jimmy “Duck” Holmes has been mentoring Farr in the Bentonia Style of the Delta Blues, an obscure style that Holmes learned directly from Henry Stuckey, who also taught Skip James, among others.

Dirty South Blues (released 2018 & produced by Leeroy Stagger) was released to widespread critical acclaim in genres including Contemporary Blues, Americana, Southern & Indie Rock. Having garnered over 40 reviews in various publications, Dirty South Blues spent the better part of 2018 & 2019 on Canadian and International radio charts. As a result, Farr was nominated for Songwriter of the Year & New Artist of the Year for the 2019 Maple Blues Awards & Dirty South Blues was recently named by Greg Vandy at KEXP as one of the Top Albums of 2019.

Recorded at Vancouver’s legendary Hipposonic Studios (old Little Mountain Studios) Farr & co delve deep into the Bentonia & Hill Country sound on “Can’t Be Satisfied.” The song was written by Farr, who sings on the track and shares guitar duties with Jon Wood. Tom “Tommy Ribs” Hillifer plays bass and Jay Bundy Johnson is on drums.

Farr works closely with Jimmy “Duck” Holmes’ & his independent label Blue Front Records. When Robert is home in Mississippi, he can most likely be found pickin’ & grinnin’ in Bentonia, Mississippi at Duck’s renowned Juke Joint – the Blue Front Cafe.

Robert Connely Farr

Jorma Kaukonen to do Third Free Livestream Concert from Fur Peace Ranch

Jorma Kaukonen to do Third Free Livestream Concert from Fur Peace Ranch


Press Release

For over 50 years Hot Tuna, Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady, has brought a wealth of emotions to their music through deep perceptions and tremendous talent.  Jorma and Jack are always injecting fresh energy into their sound with constant improvisation taking their musical horizons further.  Listen on Saturday night for the music and the joy of life!

 Jorma Kaukonen’s third free live stream concert is coming to you through the excellent acoustics at the Fur Peace Station Concert Hall. It will start at 8 p.m. EDT Saturday, April 18. There will be a Q&A and some Fur Peace Ranch memorabilia give-aways!

Tune in! Jack Casady does, and he plays along though he’s out in California! You just can’t keep those two lifelong friends apart. Hot Tuna during Stay in Peace!

While The Ranch is closed the music has not stopped! The Fur Peace Ranch online store offers recordings from the many artists that have played and taught at the Fur Peace Ranch over the years. Many albums are difficult to find! Purchasing an album provides income to the artists who cannot tour during these difficult times, provides support of this independent small business, and provides hours of listening pleasure for you!

Jorma will be teaching online classes and weekend workshops from the Fur Peace Ranch. Stay tuned to hear more!  Sign up to stay in touch.

Join in this Saturday night to the link below. Together we are a family!

 

 

Mississippi Streams “Virtual Juke Joint Festival Celebration” Live From Clarksdale

Mississippi Streams “Virtual Juke Joint Festival Celebration” Live From Clarksdale


Press Release

Organizers announced this week that the first-ever Virtual Juke Joint Festival Celebration will stream Saturday, April 18th, via Live From Clarksdale from 12 noon to 9 p.m. CDT.

Clarksdale, Mississippi (April 15, 2020) — This weekend’s planned Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale, Mississippi, may be on hiatus till next year due to COVID-19, but fans from around the world can now enjoy a daylong online celebration in its place.

Juke Joint Festival Headquarters – Clarksdale

Organizers announced this week that the first-ever Virtual Juke Joint Festival Celebration will stream Saturday, April 18th, via Live From Clarksdale from 12 noon to 9 p.m. CDT. It will be followed by the world-premiere of the new film Juke Joint Festival Revisited at 9 p.m.

“Thanks to our partners at Shared Experiences USA and Ted Reed Productions, we’ve assembled a daylong celebration of our furloughed festival that everyone can enjoy online,” said Nan Hughes, co-organizer of Juke Joint Festival. “With the generous support of our amazing musicians, Visit Mississippi tourism, and others, the Virtual Juke Joint Festival Celebration will be a free event.”

While the 9 hours of live-streamed blues and roots music are free, fans are encouraged to tip musicians through PayPal and Venmo. The filmmakers also invite fans to consider a donation to the Blues Foundation’s COVID-19 Fund and the MS Blues Foundation’s Blues Musician Fund.

Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band – Live in Clarksdale 2019

“Through the magic of the world wide web, we’ll be streaming live performances from Clarksdale to Columbia, from New Orleans to Nashville,” explained Roger Stolle, Juke Joint Festival co-founder. “Confirmed acts include Reverend Peyton, Johnny Rawls, Jimbo Mathus, Lucious Spiller, Grace Askew, Watermelon Slim and many more who were originally booked to play this year’s Juke Joint Festival.”

The daylong celebration will conclude with the world-premiere of Juke Joint Festival Revisited, created by Grammy- and Emmy-award winning documentary filmmaker Ted Reed and shot at last year’s festival.

The live-streamed portion of the celebration will feature some 27 acts performing at home or in small, no-audience venues thanks to event partner Colleen Buyers, founder of Shared Experiences USA and Live From Clarksdale.

“Following the Virtual Juke Joint party, we’ll continue streaming music Live From Clarksdale all 7 nights a week. During the pandemic, Shared Experiences is coordinating and promoting daily live-streamed musical performances,” said Buyers. “Prior to the crisis, Clarksdale already had 365 nights of live blues. Now, musicians are playing ‘Live From Clarksdale’ to living rooms around the world until the clubs can reopen and everyone can visit Clarksdale again.”

With the support of Visit Clarksdale, Visit Mississippi and the Clarksdale Chamber of Commerce, Live From Clarksdale has just launched to stream daily live performances via its centralized listing. Now, even in the midst of the health crisis, the blues can stay alive in the land where it was born.

Stolle reminds blues fans and tourists to plan now for next year’s April 15-18, 2021, Juke Joint Festival & Related events in downtown Clarksdale — and to Visit Mississippi in-person just as soon as the health crisis is over.

Live From Clarksdale Juke Joint Festival

Singer/Songwriter Oria Aspen Releases Widely Anticipated New Single, “Wannabe”

New Jersey-based Oria Aspen burst onto the music scene just under a decade ago with her sensational debut album, Yellow Paint, an eclectic mixture of original pop/rock songs, soul/jazz vibes, and ballads. Her versatility is evident in the sensational cover of the Louis Armstrong classic, “What A Wonderful World,” beautifully sung as a duet with soul man Southside Johnny. The album received rave reviews as critics applauded both the musical qualities and the courage of a 17-year-old prepared to share her intensely personal journey on the hard road to adulthood. Despite periods of ill health, Oria has continued performing, mainly with her father (renowned guitarist Glenn Alexander), either as a duo or as vocalist with his band Glenn Alexander & Shadowland.

The good news is that Oria is back on the scene as a solo recording artist with “Wannabe,” a blockbuster of a single reflecting the maturity and confidence of a young woman who, in the true blues tradition, has experienced bad times but has the strength to come through them. Such is the power of music. To paraphrase John Lee Hooker, music is the healer when you are down, “all over the world, it can heal me, it can heal you.”

“Wannabe” starts with somber piano accompaniment reflecting Oria’s poignant lyrics, “As I sat down my body turned to stone / I’m lonely and I’m broken, I’m a long way from home.” The song builds gradually to a breathtaking crescendo created by the whole, perfectly balanced ensemble, interspersed with glorious interludes of light and shade rolling like waves. Soaring above this beautifully arranged backing music are Oria’s powerful and passionate vocals, impeccably phrased and with a sense of drama — as if she was singing from a Broadway stage. Her voice has a slightly husky edge and country feel, adding to Oria’s unique and intriguing sound. There is hope expressed in the words: “People can get you down sometimes but in the end / You’ve just gotta stay true to you.” The final climactic chorus communicates her emotions and negative thoughts when she was a teenager, the angst and despair palpable and almost unbearable by the end of the song: “I wanna be be a pretty girl but I’m not sure how to make it through / I wanna be a skinny girl, I wanna be like you.” 

“Wannabe” is a memorable and compelling song which hooks the listener in and won’t let go, the words and melody becoming embedded in the psyche for a long time afterwards.

Oria explains: “This song has been in the works for a long time. I wrote this song when I was 17 and in the middle of an eating disorder. I noticed that society tended to care more about the lives and problems of those who were thin and good looking, and believed myself to be unworthy of people caring because I was not what society wanted. Now at age 25, I got the opportunity to record this song after sitting on it for quite some time. Every lyric in the song still feels close to home, and I still deal with the same body image issues that I addressed in the song, just not to such an extreme extent anymore.”

Self-confessed wannabe Oria Aspen has the talent, originality and that special ingredient needed to be whatever she wants to be in the world of music. It is important to support artists who bare their souls with this degree of sincerity, so that others in similar circumstances do not feel alone but know that there is a friend and kindred spirit out there to help share the pain and to offer hope.

“Wannabe” is distributed by DistroKid from March 16th and available on iTunes, Medianet, Spotify and Deezer.

LYRICS:

I woke up this morning, I got out of bed

The rain poured down on my cold and ugly head

As I sat down my body turned to stone

I’m lonely and I’m broken, I’m a – a long way from home

Someday I wanna be a pretty girl but I’m not sure how to make it through

Someday I wanna be a skinny girl, I wanna be just like you

I tried my hardest to shine like the stars

But I fell flat and got lost in the dark

It’s these kinds of things that make me stronger in the end

I wish I was happy but I can’t even pretend

Someday I wanna be a pretty girl but I’m not sure how to make it through

Someday I wanna be a skinny girl, I wanna be just like you

Oh, people can get you down sometimes but in the end

You’ve just gotta stay true to you, and

People can tell you that you’re never good enough

But in the end you’re the only one who decides what you do

I wanna be a pretty girl but I’m not sure how to make it through

I wanna be a skinny girl, I wanna be like you

I wanna be a pretty girl but I’m not sure how to make it through

I wanna be a skinny girl, I wanna be like you, like you

Glenn Alexander and Oria Aspen (photo credit: Phyllis McQuillan)

INTERVIEW WITH ORIA ASPEN

Hi Oria, how is life for you at the moment? Are you in the middle of a lockdown?

My life is pretty boring at the moment. I’m not on total lockdown, but there are certain hours that we can leave the house, and certain hours that we must be inside. I haven’t been having too hard a time with this change as I’m an introvert and usually stick to myself at home anyways. The only thing that’s really bumming me out about this situation, other than of course the fact that people are dying, is not being able to perform.

Congratulations on your new single which is very personal and emotional. Tell us about the recording of the track and the musicians you worked with in the studio. 

It’s crazy, because when you’re recording, sometimes you don’t even get to see the other musicians. For this song, that was the case; I recorded the basic piano and vocals, and then sent the song out so that other musicians could lay their talent down on it. They recorded their tracks, and then we sent it off to be mixed and mastered. I love doing recordings this way, because nobody is breathing down the musicians’ backs telling them what to do. Each musician gets to let their talent run wild, and if anything needs tweaking, they fix minor details. The song really becomes all of ours as it changes with each instrument and effect which is really cool, and sometimes doesn’t happen when the musicians are all in one studio together telling each other what to play. Sometimes being all together can pull in exactly what is wanted, and when a specific sound is in mind, is often necessary. I enjoy that process greatly; however, for this song I wanted to work more loosely to create a sound that belongs to us all rather than to only the person or people controlling the atmosphere in the studio.

How is ‘Wannabe’ being received by family, friends and more widely?

My friends all love the song, and my parents do as well. I am currently trying to get it out there, because I know that body image is something many people struggle with, and that this song can be very relatable for so many people.

Let’s get back to your childhood and your early life in New Jersey, when did you start getting interested in music and learning to play an instrument?

Ever since I was a very small child, I have loved music. With my dad being a musician, I had opportunities at a very young age to learn everything I could about music, and I gladly did just that. I began writing melodies before I could write words, and began studying piano and flute before the age of eight. I am extremely lucky, as music is my passion, and my father, who now plays guitar with Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, had everything I needed to explore that passion.

Your father is a renowned musician, how much did he influence your choices and overall musical development? 

So much! I have always looked up to my father as a level of talent I’d like to achieve. I loved music from infancy, but would never have had the means to pursue it if it weren’t for my father. At age thirteen I explained that I had written a few songs that I would like to record, and within a few weeks we were in the studio recording the beginning of my first album, Yellow Paint. After three years of work it was released, and I was addicted to writing and recording my music. Sadly however, mental health can be hard to maintain, and I ended up having to take many years off from music due to poor mental health. I am happy now to be back and feeling better; I am looking forward to recording more music, and “Wannabe” is only the beginning.

Can you remember the first record you ever bought yourself?

I bought a Demi Lovato record in my teens. I’m not sure it was my first, but I loved it. I always loved the soul in her voice and hadn’t heard that in a white girl before. Getting her record gave me hope that it was possible to be an awkward little white girl with a lot of soul. After this I found Amy Winehouse and was floored.

I hear that you are a fan of the great Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong. Who were your other main influences and what did you learn from them?

I love Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Etta James, Nina Simone, and just about any other jazz and blues singer I can get my hands on. I love Ray Charles, and went to see him as a kid (I cried tears of joy). James Brown was also a huge influence of mine, and I was lucky enough to meet him after attending his amazing concert which was unbelievable. I have so many favorites, but my main influence has always been Ella Fitzgerald. Even though I’ve never been able to come close to the vocal sound she gets, I try to incorporate the little things that she does that I am capable of learning and executing. Of course I loved Amy Winehouse, and enjoyed her covers and originals quite a bit. As a teen I loved Miley Cyrus’ country pop type sound as well, and wanted to combine that country-ish feel with the soul of blues singers.

I have been listening to your highly acclaimed Yellow Paint album which is very special and I love its variety. How did the opportunity come about and what difference did its success make to you as a teenager finding your way in the world?

I had written a few songs, and showed them to my dad; he asked me if I would like to record them, and I said “of course”. There was originally not supposed to be an album, and I was supposed to record a few songs to burn CD’s for my family and friends. After about the third song, we realized that they were sounding better than we had imagined, and so we decided to record a whole album with other melodies and lyrics that I was writing along with my dad’s badass guitar skills; suddenly, we were sending it off to other musicians, and getting great results.

You are an excellent songwriter. Can you talk us through the process of writing a song and how lyrics and tunes come about?

I generally start the writing process with a single thought that comes to my head, something that I feel needs to be heard, or maybe something I’m having trouble dealing with. I usually write that single thought down, and depending on what kind of mood I’m in I either write more lyrics or let that thought sit there until I have a place for it. Once I have written a few lyrics I think about what I want the melody to sound like. Chords are always the last thing I put down as I like to have a set melody and lyrics to know just how bright or dark sounding the song needs to be. When putting chords to melodies I pick what fits the emotion, and if I’m ever stuck I can always pick my dad’s brain for his amazing musical theory skills to get the perfect-sounding chord.

Do you have a particular song you have written which is your favorite?

My favorite song I have written has not been released yet, so keep your eyes peeled for that. My favorite song that has been released, however, is “Party Song” from the Yellow Paint album. This song brings me back to a time when I thought I was the coolest s**t to hit the toilet bowl (teenagers, am I right?), and I was ready to cause mischief anywhere I could. Listening to it now makes me laugh, but I love the feel of it, and how my dad got to exercise his rock guitar chops on it.

I have enjoyed watching your most recent performances on YouTube, several as duets with your dad. These must have been quite an experience for you.

Whenever I can, I try to get someone to record our performances on my phone, or their phone, a video camera, anything. I do this because it is such an experience that I want to remember. Playing music with my dad while we’re in good health mentally and physically is something that I don’t want to ever forget, so I try to get it recorded as much as possible; sometimes I put the videos on YouTube. Lately I’ve been using YouTube almost like a cloud; it’s a website where I can put my recorded videos to go back on them and reminisce, not to mention there’s the added benefit of others being able to view your videos as well.

Who are the best musicians you have shared a stage with and why?

This is tough, because I share the stage with really talented people on a regular basis. Some of my favorite people I have shared a stage with however, are the New York Horns, Southside Johnny, Dave LaRue, Van Romaine, and of course, my dad. All the members of the New York Horns are really nice people so I always love not only being on stage with them, but hanging backstage as well getting to pick their seasoned brains. Van Romaine and Dave Larue kindly let me sit in with L.A.X., who play with my dad; I loved that experience and had a ball. Obviously, Southside Johnny is always a treat to be on stage with, and it makes me look forward to our pig roast in more ways than one. I love getting to be on stage with him for a few songs while supporting a great cause and eating great food.

What advice would you give to other aspiring young musicians about to embark on their careers?

Don’t listen to people who think that music isn’t a career. You can make anything into a career. Love knitting? Make it your career. Love eating? Make it into your career. Love music? Make it into your career. Anything can eventually become a career if you’re willing to do it as a hobby and have a side job until you gain a fan base/ customer base/ following and can afford to make it into your career.

In this era of music streaming and, in some cases, falling CD sales and diminishing live music venues (especially at this time of international pandemic crisis), what are the main challenges facing musicians?

Musicians are definitely struggling to find ways to make money and showcase our talents right now. We can’t gig at the moment due to the pandemic, and getting together as a group to play is nearly impossible as groups of people are to be kept at a minimum. One good thing about the timing of this pandemic is the existence of the Internet, and how far it has come. Thanks to the Internet, musicians can still stream and play together with the assistance of technology, however, getting new people to tune into our content is getting much harder.

You are an accomplished flautist and pianist, do you still play these instruments?

These days, I mostly use piano as a tool to write songs; I do of course still play though. Flute is always going to be a love of mine, and I’m trying to get back into it more these days. I use my flute skills where they are needed in our jazz gigs, but sadly those have stopped since this crisis started. It’s definitely understandable, and I hope everyone is staying safe, but it is a pretty big bummer not to be able to gig right now.

Do you have any other songs/recordings in the pipeline at the moment?

There is one song that has been recorded that I should be getting ready to release at the end of 2020. In terms of other music, I have a songbook full of ideas and some full songs that I will probably start recording soon. 

What are your musical ambitions for the future?

I try to keep an open mind and not set my sights too high. Something I would really like to do with my music is to get more exposure, radio play on small stations that promote up and coming artists and gain a wider following. I also want to put out more music, which I definitely plan on doing. Another thing that I have wanted to do for a while, and hope to have time for during this shenanigans, is recording an album of jazz standards and other covers with my dad; fans have been asking for it and I definitely don’t want to continue denying them much longer, it feels wrong to make them go to YouTube, or come to a gig to hear us play jazz.

What do you think about the current blues, rock and jazz scene in Britain and the USA?

There’s a lot of talent out there right now, the obvious stuff but also many underground artists that are hard to find. The Internet is very much a double-edged sword in the fact that it can help you promote yourself and gain a following, but there is an algorithm involved, and in this day and age it is over saturated with billions of videos. You often have to do a lot of digging to find what you’re looking for, which can be frustrating, and once you find something you like, it can be hard to find other things that are up your alley. Websites tend to over-promote what is doing well, keeping those who are on top on top, and those who are trying to gain a following in the dark. That being said however, the Internet is a great way to promote yourself if you’re willing to do all the legwork, because you are certainly going to be buried below all the bigger artists when you first start posting.

Do you have a message for American Blues Scene readers?

First, I want to say that I am extremely grateful to you, American Blues Scene, all of the other contributors, readers and listeners for giving many new artists, such as myself a platform and for keeping so much great music alive. I encourage everyone to continue to make the highest level of music possible, be expressive and of course support other music and musicians. We’re all in this together. There is so much music out there and you can always find something that piques your fancy if you’re willing to search. The harder you search, the more likely you are to be the first to know about artists who will be the face of tomorrow, and that just feels cool!

Peter Karp to Release Magnificent Heart on May 8th

Peter Karp is known for many things. An assertive singer, a skilled guitarist and a passionate performer, he’s also an individual who writes songs that frequently reflect tales told as part of life’s journey, spawned by passion and personal experience.

Consequently he’s not easily confined to any singular genre. Blues, Americana and rock ‘n roll reverence all find common ground within his visceral template. He taps tradition and yet also maintains contemporary credence. As his friend and collaborator, Rolling Stones guitarist and John Mayall sideman Mick Taylor once noted, “Guys like Peter Karp, James Taylor and Bob Dylan embody Americana Blues, and us English guys are inspired by it.”

That’s never been more evident than on Karp’s striking new album, Magnificent Heart which will be released May 8th on Rose Cottage Records. A stirring collection of songs and observations, it bends the boundaries from blues to ballads, all conveyed with the insight and authority for which Karp’s come to be known. Whether it’s the gritty defiance inherent in such songs as “Sitting on Top of the World” and “The Letter,” the assured swagger of “This World,” the stoic determination inherent in “The Grave,” or the softer sentiments conveyed through “The World,” “Scared,” “The Last Heartbeat,” and the string-filled coda, “Face the Wind,” Karp conveys a knowing perspective that resonates through common cause.

The dozen songs that make up Magnificent Heart were written over the course of the past few years while Karp was touring both domestically and abroad. They were intended, he insists, for those he describes as either “doomed or redeemed.” They’re stories about people he met and the experiences he encountered along the way. He describes it as a reflection of “the triumphs and tragedies that you leave behind and await you as you move ahead. Only love, faith and a magnificent heart will see you through.”

Written and produced by Karp, Magnificent Heart features Karp on slide guitar, solo guitar, guitar, piano and vocals, along with Kim Wilson (harmonica), Jason Ricci (harmonica), John Ginty (B3 organ), Jim Eingher (piano and keyboard), Paul Carbonara (guitar and solo guitar on “The Letter,” “This World”), James Otis Karp (solo guitar on “Scared”), Niles Terrat (bass), Edward Williams (bass), Michael Catapano (drums/percussion), Cold City Horns (Jacob Wynne, trumpet and David Kasper, tenor sax), and Eyrn O’ree (background vocals).

Born in the tiny hamlet of Leonia, New Jersey, just over the Hudson River from New York City, Karp was introduced to music at an early age by his mother and sister who would take him to shows featuring the stars of the nascent English Invasion, Murray the K’s freewheeling road shows and the soul artists emerging from Motown with the beckoning of Top 40 radio.

That instinctive love of music was accelerated when he went to live with his dad in a trailer park, in rural Enterprise, Alabama. It was there that he became aware of the musicians that laid the seeds for the seminal sounds of the Blues, revered pioneers like Son House, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Elmore James and Howlin’ Wolf. He also began exploring the artists that picked up that gauntlet early on, original American masters like Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and Jerry Lee Lewis.

He formed his first band, They Came From Houses, which quickly became a staple of New York’s nascent underground scene, as represented by such iconic clubs as CBGBs, Folk City and the Mudd Club. The band shared stages with the likes of Marshall Crenshaw, Mink Deville, the Stray Cats, John Hammond Jr., George Thorogood and David Johansen, among the many, but eventually Karp became disillusioned with the music scene and walked away, preferring to spend his time caring for a new family instead of finding himself always out on the road.

Revitalized after his hiatus, Karp eventually returned to performing, writing songs that reflected his accumulated life experiences. That core commitment led to his first independent release, 1998’s Live at the Americana Roadhouse, a poorly recorded but well received collection of original songs captured in concert. It was also the record that brought him to Mick Taylor’s attention after hearing some of its rough recordings. Taylor subsequently flew to the States to play on Karp’s next effort, The Turning Point, and shortly thereafter the two embarked on a tour together.

In 2007, Karp released a follow up, Shadows and Cracks, his first record for the respected blues label Blind Pig. He Said — She Said, which found him partnering with Canadian singer/songwriter Sue Foley, was released in 2010 and quickly made it into Billboard’s Top Five as well. The duo’s follow up, Beyond the Crossroads, came soon after and was subsequently cited by The Alternate Root Magazine as the #1 CD of the Year for 2012. In 2016, Karp released The Arson’s Match, a series of recordings made with Mick Taylor at New York City’s Bottom Line. Funds from the project go towards a charity Karp started in his wife’s memory.

“What turns me on is absolute honesty,” Karp confesses. “You have to take it seriously to stay committed to who you are and where you’re coming from. That’s the way I connect to my audience. You can’t BS people. It’s always about honesty.”

Peter Karp

*Feature image Emma-Lee Photography courtesy of Devious Planet

Soul Icon Bill Withers Dies at 81

Bonafide soul singer and composer Bill Withers, whose career only lasted about a decade but encompassed several major hits, died from heart complications on Monday. The three-time Grammy winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer was 81.

“We are devastated by the loss of our beloved, devoted husband and father. A solitary man with a heart driven to connect to the world at large, with his poetry and music, he spoke honestly to people and connected them to each other,” the family said in a statement on Friday. “As private a life as he lived close to intimate family and friends, his music forever belongs to the world. In this difficult time, we pray his music offers comfort and entertainment as fans hold tight to loved ones.”

Withers was better known for hits like “Lean on Me,” “Lovely Day,” “Use Me Up,” and “Ain’t No Sunshine.” These songs made him quite possibly the most ubiquitous R&B artist, as they are on everyone’s playlist and provide a soundtrack to every party, wedding, and other such social gathering.

His 1971 debut album, Just As I Am, found him in the harmonious company of Stephen Stills on guitar, Jim Keltner (Bob Dylan, Traveling Wilburys) on drums, and three quarters of The MGs — including Booker T. Jones himself, who produced the LP.

The breakthrough hit on that album was obviously “Aint No Sunshine.” But I’d like to draw attention to a song that’s always deeply resonated with me. The rootsy, bluesy “Grandma’s Hands” is a moving homage to his grandmother who helped raise him. Bill suffered from asthma and a stutter as a kid, but he also had his bulwark: his grandma. “Grandma’s hands picked me up each time I fell / Grandma’s hands, boy they really came in handy.”

Though he hailed from meek beginnings, he moved to Los Angeles in the ’70s to find fame and grow tired of it by the ’80s. Aside from his string of soothing soulful songs, he will also be remembered and valued for his more socially conscious works. “I Can’t Write Left-Handed” was written from the perspective of a young soldier who lost a limb in the Vietnam War. “Better Off Dead” was about an alcoholic’s suicide.

Remembering the legendary Bill Withers:

Dolly Parton Will Read Bedtime Stories to Your Kids Every Week

To all of us fans, she’s Dolly Parton. To little people, she’s “the Book Lady.” Today the singer/songwriter started a 10-week online series in which she reads a children’s book at bedtime, selecting books from her Imagination Library. You and your child can watch the “Goodnight with Dolly” readings streamed on YouTube on Thursdays at 7 p.m. EST. As the mother of a toddler, I am ever thankful that I can add Dolly to my presently scant list of family diversions during this challenging time.

Dolly’s Imagination Library book gifting project was started in 1995 to serve children in her home county in East Tennessee. The program now spans four countries and sends over one million free books each month to children registered for the program.

Imagination Library was inspired by her father who never had a chance to go to school, like most rural folk back then, because he had to provide for a family. Her father could not read or write, and was often embarrassed about it. Watching someone she loved so much grapple with such difficulties as not being able to complete forms or read to his children steered her toward the Imagination Library. And through the program, Dolly nurtures a love of reading in young children. 

“When I was growing up in the hills of East Tennessee, I knew my dreams would come true. I know there are children in your community with their own dreams. They dream of becoming a doctor or an inventor or a minister. Who knows, maybe there is a little girl whose dream is to be a writer and singer. The seeds of these dreams are often found in books and the seeds you help plant in your community can grow across the world.”

Dolly has also donated $1M to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center for research on a coronavirus cure. “My longtime friend Dr. Naji Abumrad, who’s been involved in research at Vanderbilt for many years, informed me that they were making some exciting advancements towards research of the coronavirus for a cure,” her Instagram states.

Here is Dolly Parton reading the first book in the “Goodnight with Dolly” series, The Little Engine That Could, which premiered this evening:

Join us for a special live performance by Jorma Kaukonen from the Fur Peace Ranch

“Your health and well-being is our concern,” Jorma Kaukonen speaks on the postponement of the Fur Peace Ranch workshops. While the ranch is closed, the music has not stopped.

 

Join us for a special live performance by Jorma Kaukonen from the Fur Peace Ranch!Jorma will perform a “Live from the Fur Peace Ranch” concert Saturday, April 4, 2020 at 8 p.m. EDT, for the first in a series of performances.

Here is the link:

Jorma also will be teaching online classes and even weekend workshops from the Fur Peace Ranch. Stay tuned to hear more. Join the Hot Tuna Fan Club

Been So Long,’ Jorma’s autographed book, is out in paperback April 7.

Jazz Pianist and Musical Family Patriarch Ellis Marsalis Dead at 85

Ellis Marsalis Jr., jazz pianist, teacher and patriarch of one of New Orleans’ great musical families died on April 1st after being hospitalized with symptoms of COVID-19. He had been tested and was awaiting results.

Ellis Marsalis

A statement on his Facebook page read: “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Marsalis Family Patriarch, Ellis Marsalis, Jr. There will be a private family funeral with a public memorial to be announced at a future time. The family wished to thank everyone both in the New Orleans community and around the world who have reached out to express their condolences. In accordance with Ellis’s wishes in lieu of flowers and cards please make donations to the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music in memory of Ellis Marsalis, Jr. to support the ongoing efforts to bring music and cultural activities to the children of New Orleans.”

Marsalis was born in New Orleans on November 14th, 1934. played saxophone during high school but switched to piano while studying classical music at Dillard University, graduating in 1955. He later attended graduate School at Loyola University.

In the 1950s and 1960s he worked with artists including Ed Blackwell, Cannonball Adderley, Nat Adderley, and Al Hirt. During the 1970s, he taught at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, and his students included Terence Blanchard, and Harry Connick Jr.

Ellis influenced the careers of countless musicians, as well as his four musician sons: Wynton (trumpeter and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York), Branford (saxophonist who led Jay Leno’s band on The Tonight Show), Delfeayo (trombonist, record producer and performer) and drummer Jason. Two other sons, Ellis III, a photographer-poet, and Mboya, did not follow their father into music.

Marsalis released 20 albums beginning with Syndrome in 1985. He also recorded with his sons, Irvin Mayfield, Kermit Ruffins, Dave Young, Nat Adderly, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Irma Thomas, and many others.

Marsalis and his sons were group recipients of the 2011 NEA Jazz Masters Award, and Ellis himself was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2018.

New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell issued a statement yesterday which read in part, “He was the prototype of what we mean when we talk about New Orleans jazz. He was a teacher, a father, and an icon — and words aren’t sufficient to describe the art, the joy and the wonder he showed the world. This loss cuts us deeply.”

Marsalis’ son Wynton too to Instagram to say, “He went out the way he lived: embracing reality.”

*Feature image Nu Jazz Entertainment

COVID-19 Message From Asleep at the Wheel’s Ray Benson

MESSAGE FROM RAY BENSON

Wow, I am filled with so much love and gratitude right now. Thank you so much for the calls, texts, emails, notes on social media from concerned family, friends and fans from all over the world. I appreciate it more than you know and I apologize if I haven’t responded, but I am responding as much as I can with what my energy level allows!

To clear up any confusion or questions, I have tested positive for the COVID 19 Virus. I had become bed ridden with headaches and extreme fatigue/dizziness. I made an appointment with my doctor on Saturday, March 21st to see what was up. Got tests for flu, influenzas etc.. All came back negative. I then asked for a COVID 19 test. They said they didn’t have any! So I just went back home and hunkered down to see if it went away. Unfortunately, the same symptoms kept occurring/progressing. Being extremely fatigued, just falling asleep all the time, headaches were getting worse. Went back to doctor on Monday the 30th to do some bloodwork and other tests to try and figure out what was going on.

After not finding anything through those, I was finally given a COVID 19 test and was sent home and said they’d call me with the results. So I got a call Tuesday morning saying I tested positive! Luckily for me nothing has progressed any farther and feel very lucky and optimistic about my current situation. I am still very fatigued/dizzy and in bed for now. Doctor says if nothing further comes up like elevated temperature, respiratory, cough etc., I should be in the clear in the coming weeks.

What I’d like to get out there is I am and was very frustrated with the lack of testing available. It took basically testing for everything else to acquire a COVID 19 test. Luckily, I wasn’t around that many people within this time frame and was practicing the standard things like washing your hands/sanitizer, wearing a mask at the doctors, keeping proper distance etc.. So I’d like everyone to know the  “symptoms” that are out there as ways to know if you have it or don’t have the virus, doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone. They didn’t for me!

So, please take this virus seriously! It’s for real. Please follow the safety guidelines out there.  If you think or subscribe to those folks whose opinion is that this virus isn’t that big of a deal, please consider otherwise. Please use your voice to demand getting testing out to everyone NOW! Please send your thoughts and prayers out there to all the wonderful people putting their health and their families at risk defending ours. We all know someone or somebody who has lost their life to this virus and we have lots of folks currently fighting the virus and their families need your thoughts and prayers as well.

Please love each other and treat everyone with respect in this time of crisis. This is real and needs to be treated as such. Be safe, wash your hands, STAY OUT OF THE PUBLIC, hunker down and I look forward to getting out on the road and playing music with my band and seeing everyone ASAP!

Stephen Colbert Airs Previously Unseen Duet with John Prine Earmarked for Rainy Day

“We’ll probably do this for the internet. Unless, you know, something terrible happens and we have to cheer up the world on the TV show.” These are the portentous words of Stephen Colbert preceding a duet with John Prine back in 2016.

Their performance of “That’s the Way the World Goes Round,” filmed in the Ed Sullivan Theater, had not been broadcast until this latest at-home episode of The Late Show. 

Colbert unearths the clip with this statement: “I’d like to take a moment right now to send out a personal message to a friend. Last week, our friend and yours, the musical great John Prine was placed on a ventilator with coronavirus symptoms. My thoughts are with John and his wife, Fiona, and his family — and everybody out there touched by this virus. I’d like to share with you right now one of the happiest moments I’ve had on my show or any show. And that’s when John and I sang a duet in 2016 that we never broadcast, but we’d like to now. Happy enchilada, John”

Prine remains in stable condition.

I need to clarify what I mean by “John is stable”. That is not the same as improving. There is no cure for Covid-19. He needs our prayers and love – as do the thousands of others who are critically ill. Stay at home. Wash your hands. We love you.

— Fiona Whelan Prine (@FionaPrine) March 30, 2020

Watch Prine and Colbert below:

 

 

 

Dirty Honey Launches “Suitcase Sessions” Series

When COVID-19 disrupted Dirty Honey‘s plans to return to Australia to record new music with legendary producer Nick DiDia, frontman Marc LaBelle concocted an idea to make use of the unexpected downtime: Suitcase Sessions.

“I’ve always wanted to shoot videos out in nature, in non-traditional locations, and have a high-quality recording rig that was small enough to fit in a suitcase,” LaBelle explained.

Unafraid to defy the innocuous music trends of today, the seemingly out-of-nowhere Dirty Honey, featuring LaBelle/vocals, John Notto/guitar, Justin Smolian/bass, and Corey Coverstone/drums, has proven in just one year that their reinvention of rock n’ roll is so close to heaven yet so far from God.

 

In November 2018, the Los Angeles-based rock band was completely unknown, recording its self-titled debut EP in Australia. The band launched on the scene by opening for heavy hitting legends Guns N’ Roses, Slash, and The Who and stunning audiences at major outdoor summer festivals including Sonic Temple, Heavy Montreal, Rocklahoma, Louder Than Life, Exit 111, and Welcome to Rockville. The strength of the band’s live show paved the way to dive straight into 2020 with a string of sold-out headline shows around the country.

The band debuted their first session on March 30: a stripped-down version of “Heartbreaker” in front of a stunning stretch of mountains in Lone Pine, CA, a location synonymous as the backdrop for the most celebrated Westerns filmed since the 1920s.

“I’ve taken my motorcycle up to Lone Pine for a couple of years now, so I know the area really well,” LaBelle explained. “‘Heartbreaker’ was written on an acoustic guitar, so there was something special about performing it acoustically with those snow-covered Sierra Nevada peaks in the distance.”

The band also saw their second single, “Rolling 7s,” explode into the Top Five at U.S. Rock Radio. “Rolling 7s” follows the band’s debut single into the upper echelons of the U.S. and Canadian Rock Charts, coming in at #5 this week. “When I’m Gone” made record industry history last Fall when it because the first track by an unsigned artist to go all the way to #1 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Chart.

Check out the video for “Heartbreaker,” (directed by “Rolling 7s” Director Scott Fleishman).

Dirty Honey

*Feature image courtesy of Dirty Honey

Holy Moly & The Crackers’ Ruth Patterson on Coping with the Coronavirus Crisis as a Disabled Musician

Ruth Patterson (photo credit: Darran Moore)

The impact of coronavirus on musicians worldwide is significant, as featured recently in American Blues Scene. Ruth Patterson, founding member and lead singer/multi-instrumentalist of Holy Moly & The Crackers, gives insights into the challenges faced when the touring stops. Ruth takes immunosuppressant drugs for her arthritis and following medical advice will be in self-isolation for the next 12 weeks. A fortnight ago, as the band raced home after their European Tour was suddenly canceled, she wrote the following about how, as many people stare down the barrel of similar quarantine measures, lessons can be learned from the disabled community. 

As a disabled touring artist, me and my bandmates’ careers have had our fair share of disasters but the new coronavirus pandemic has taken it to a whole new level. Like many bands, it has destroyed our immediate future and there is an increasing uncertainty in what lies ahead. Last week our 6-week European tour was dramatically cut short only 2 weeks in. As the borders suddenly began shutting, we faced a 20-hour van race back home to Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, avoiding as much contact with people as physically possible. It is tragic for us, but as I scroll social media for updates and see how many others face the same gloomy predicament, it occurs to me how irrationally stable I feel about the situation. Yes – I hate to be out of work, to disappoint our fans and to have a tour, that took months of planning, grind to a halt (and let’s not even get started on the grim financial implications). But I don’t feel quite the same panic as everyone else. And it’s something that I see across the disabled community: we are just quietly carrying on as normal. 

As the rest of the world goes into crisis about how they’ll cope with cancelling social occasions, working from home, living frugally for a while as they self-isolate themselves, the disabled community is perhaps more resilient. We suffer set-backs and disappointment in our lives often on a daily basis, with a wide array of challenges: having to take time off work; unexpectedly having to muster up money for new mobility aids with no other option available; often living on very low income and somehow having to make it all work. Living with a chronic illness and disabilities means we have to constantly adapt and learn to be positive and productive in the face of chaos. We just carry on. It is business as usual for us.

I was diagnosed with severe arthritis when I was 15 and then with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) at 21, and I have been a wheelchair user since.  I take immunosuppressant injections, which have led to a number of serious illnesses due to my compromised immune system. Let me be clear, this is not a pity party. I don’t feel sad about any of this.  If anything, these experiences have given me super powers.  Like anyone on immune suppressants with chronic illnesses/disabilities, we know how to take care of ourselves better than most. But we also know how to empathise and support others in our community. We survive months of bed rest and hospitalisations whilst managing to keep our heads above water. We got this. If anything, non-disabled buddies who are really feeling the uncertainty, stress and anxiety might now need our help and skills on how to cope. 

In the current climate us immune-suppressed warriors, along with older people, are significantly more at risk and it’s something which all people need to recognise. Look out for your chronically ill/disabled family, friends and acquaintances. Listen carefully when we ask for help and make sure you’re aware of what not to do if you’re visiting someone with a compromised immune system. But don’t pity, don’t patronise, don’t ostracise us. We’re probably the most resilient people you know right now and we can teach you a thing or two on how to weather this storm. We’re all in this together so let’s be kind and build some bridges to last into the future.

From a career perspective, to make matters worse, Ruth had been appointed Artist In Residence at the prestigious Sage Gateshead concert venue, using her residency to work on a solo project around her experiences as a disabled frontwoman. This was due to culminate in the writing and production of a debut album and first solo performance at Sage Gateshead in June, the latter now postponed. Not to be deterred by either isolation or disappointment, Patterson is moving forward with her usual tenacity and creativity, starting with a live solo performance from her living room.

This session, Live From the Living Room, was streamed live to a venue in Italy on 21st March via Facebook from the home of Ruth Patterson in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. It was viewed by an estimated 7000 people worldwide — one of the biggest audiences to watch a debut solo performance.

Ruth started by engaging with the virtual audience and expressing her empathy with the Italian contingent over the devastating impact of COVID-19 in that country. Sitting at her upright piano, the confident songstress launched bravely into one of the most renowned tracks of the 1960s, Bob Dylan’s “Ballad Of A Thin Man” from Highway 66 Revisited. Patterson proves to be a brilliant storyteller through her expressive, conversational-style vocal delivery as she adds drama and suspense to Dylan’s lyrics. It takes a consummate performer to select an iconic song from a legend’s back catalogue, and to nail it perfectly which is exactly what happens tonight. Ruth makes it clear that she is still very much part of Holy Moly & The Crackers, and the slow ballad version of “All I Got Is You” from the band’s recent Take A Bite album confirms this intention. Sung solo with gorgeous piano accompaniment, the lyrics seem to take on a new, more personal and emotional meaning that captivates the listener. It was Salem which propelled the band to international fame, the cinematic soundtrack “Cold Comfort Lane” having garnered 1.5 million hits on one music-streaming platform alone. The title track of the album might have a dark theme relating to Salem witch trials, but everything else about it is uplifting. Patterson’s extraordinary vocal range, from the mellifluous to piercing tones complemented by the subtle rhythm changes on the keys, contribute to an upbeat finale. There is a poignancy about including  “Hospital Beds” by Cold War Kids given the mass hospital misery caused by the rapid spread of the coronavirus pandemic. However, Ruth always manages to communicate hope and positivity when confronted with tragedy, emphasizing the shared friendship and joy of the song as well as the sadness.

The eagerly anticipated follow-up single premiered in the living room; “Somebody Else” is a heart-wrenching reflection on love and betrayal. Ruth always seems to be in control while baring her soul with amazing courage, conviction and just a hint of vulnerability. This vibe shines throughout a song that encapsulates emotions so deep they become embedded in the listener’s soul. Ruth’s debut single, ‘”I’d Give It All,” is a beautifully crafted love song which starts with attitude rather than sentimentality, the emphatic piano chords a precursor to what she doesn’t want. Not for her “the dozen red rose roses laid at my front door” or the fine wine and dining which “sticks in my throat.” And when it comes to diamonds, “well it might as well be coal.” The strong poetic lyricism of this song is emphasized in the next observation: “And though I know it’s all to please me but the perfume stings / My eyes are not adjusting to the bright lights.” The jazz-inflected vocals set the scene perfectly for the killer line, “You’ve missed the point babe / love is always silent.” While lacking the stringed instruments on the single, there is an innate elegance to this stripped back performance. Patterson’s lyrics soar above the piano chords as her quest to discover the right kind of love, keeping it and never letting go reaches its climax. 

The session ends with the appearance of Ruth’s husband Conrad Bird for a duet: the aptly named “I Will See You Again,” their intense chemistry evident for all to see and hear.

For 45 glorious minutes, collective worries have been forgotten and our weary spirits and heavy hearts lifted. Ruth says her farewell, shares her experience of the loneliness of a long quarantine, reminds us to wash our hands, to do whatever we are asked to in order to save lives, and to stop buying toilet rolls! The screen goes blank and we move forward with a renewed sense of determination to overcome this awful disease.