I was pleased to receive a very encouraging e-mail this week from Jim at Whole Wheat Radio. I’ve mentioned WWR on this blog before, but I’m sure not to the extent that it deserves.
Whole Wheat Radio is doing radio for adults right. They play a wide variety of singer/songwriters and folk artists, and they have built an impressive community of like minded folks who love the music. They also have regular “house concert” appearances from singer/songwriters appearing live in their sturios. If you like what I do with the Online Folk Festival, you’ll like WWR. I encourage you to check them out, and take part in their community. Come back and listen to the OFF every once in a while, too. I listen to WWR occasionally and if you see “woodsmeister” in their chat room, please say hi.
Whole Wheat Radio is one of several streaming folk stations that I admire: others that are worth your time to check out would be WUMB, WKSU/Folk Alley , radiowayne and WGCS.
- WUMB is, to the best of my knowledge, the only full-time over-the-air folk music station in the US. They have folk music with live DJS during the daytime US and syndicated programming in the evening and often have folk singers live in studio. They are out of Boston.
- WKSU/Folk Alley. I have been spoiled somewhat as far as folk radio goes by (until recently, when they retired to Florida) having parents in Northeast Ohio, because when I visit them on the weekends I can listen to the great Jim Blum do his folk show on WKSU. They were one of the early adopters of Internet radio, and one of the first to stream using Real Audio as well as to archive their shows to be played back on demand if you missed it. The folk show was so successful that they begin a 24/7 stream playing folk music, all of it voice tracked by Jim Blum as he shares his love and knowledge of the music.
- radiowayne is Wayne Greene, a singer/songwriter now in Shreveport, Louisiana, whose station claims a “Folk and more” format. radiowayne plays a wide variety of traditional folk, cajun, old-time, folk/rock and blues. Wayne, a native of Louisiana who has spent much of his adult life performing as a singer/songwriter around Texas (and who will casually drop in the live365 chatroom that he opened for Nanci Griffith back in the day) has a live show on Sunday evenings from 6 to 9 pm Central Daylight Time and is particularly knowledgeable about the Texas music scene and the Kerrville Folk Festival. I generally listen on Sunday evenings when I can, and can usually be found hanging out in the Live365 chatroom during his show.
- WGCS is out of Goshen, Indiana and related to Goshen College. During the day, they have live folk/acoustic music programming as well as World Cafe. During the evening they have a more progressive folk/singer/songwriter programming, and late at night they have edgier student programming. My online pal Thomas Bona broadcasts a regular show on both Sunday and Monday evenings. He beat me in fantasy baseball last year, but it’s not going to happen this year.
I am remiss that I have not blogged the Central Ohio Folk Festival before now. It will be May 6-8 at Battelle-Darby Creek Metropark, southwest of Columbus Ohio. Friday evening will include a buffet dinner and folk jams. Saturday’s schedule includes morning and afternoon workshops and showcases topped off with an evening concert from Tom Rush, Ann and Phil Case, and The Sisters of the Strings. Sunday will feature more workshops, an open stage and a closing song circle.
I will be there all day Saturday and am looking forward to meeting people in the Central Ohio folk community and hearing Tom Rush. If you’re planning to be there, please find me.
For more details and pre-registration information, visit here. The price goes up for registrations not postmarked by May 4.
It’s copy protected so that I can’t rip it to mp3. I would love to play tracks from this CD, and it would be legal for me to do so; however, the people at Columbia Records have decided they would rather not allow me to do this. Sorry. If you have any displeasure to express, please direct it to the greedy folks at Columbia Records.
I saw Eddie From Ohio live last night at the Martin Janis Center on the Ohio State Fairgrounds as part of the Six String Concerts series. They were in fine form, as usual. I’ve not seen them in several years, so most of their newer material I’ve not heard live. They performed most of the tracks from their new CD, This is Me, as well as some older tracks, including “Quick,” “Old Dominion,” and, surprisingly to me, they opened the set with “Bleecker to Broadway,” which I don’t remember hearing them do when they were touring Looking Out the Fishbowl. They closed their set with a beautiful a cappella rendition of “Walk Humbly Son”.
Julie Murphy Wells is a compelling singer. Not only does she have the pipes to sing anything , she’s also fun to watch – she gestures with her hands, she accompanies the songs with facial expressions, she plays air drums. She’s fun to watch – even when she’s not singing. If you like EFO, and particularly Julie’s singing, you will be happy to know that her solo album of jazz standards, Sophisticated Lady, is available again (I’m pretty sure that it was out of print last time I say EFO). They were selling it at the show last night, and I’m glad I picked it up. Recorded live at the Birchmere with a crack jazz combo, Julie rips through 19 standards from the great American songbook.
I went out this morning to pick up the new Peter Himmelman at Best Buy, and to look for a record I saw on the All Music Guide new releases email a couple weeks ago – The Essential Pete Seeger. (By the way – if you want to get a spiffy email on Monday evening detailing what will be new in the music stores the next day, subscribe to the All Music Guide new releases email. It’s a great reminder. But, I digress. I would like somebody at Columbia Records to tell me why The Essential Pete Seeger is one disk and The Essential Kenny Loggins is a two-disk package. Seriously. Bob Dylan got two disks. Johnny Cash got two disks. Leonard Cohen got two disks. Earl Scruggs got two disks. Billy Joel got two disks. Pete Seeger gets one disk? Come on. This is just flat out wrong.
Singer/songwriter Greg Trooper will be on All Things Considered on National Public Radio talking about his new album today (April 22). It’s great to see him getting this kind of publicity. I’ll edit this post with a link to the audio tomorrow after it goes up on the NPR website.
Update (4/23) : Interview posted here.
It has been way too long since I’ve blogged new adds to the Online Folk Festival, so I have quite a backlog, and I doubt I have enough time to give some of them the justice they deserve.
Judy Collins: Portrait of An American Girl
Judy Collins still has it. If you’ve liked Judy Collins in the past, you will like this CD. If you haven’t, then nothing here is likely to change your mind. It’s about half originals and half covers.
Bill Mallonee: Friendly Fire
This is probably Bill Mallonee’s best solo album to date. Stylistically, the album falls somewhere between Byrds-ish jangle pop and alt-country, with some stylings of each. Bill Mallonee, former lead singer and songwriter for The Vigilantes of Love, gives this one a bit more of a full-band feel than the previous, more sparsely produced.
Joel Rafael Band: Woodyboye
This is the second volume of Woody Guthrie songs produced by the Joel Rafael Band, with one original (“Sierra Blanca Massacre”) that stands up well with the rest of the Woody Guthrie tracks. Four of the tracks are from the unreleased archives of Woody Guthrie and are songs of Woody’s for which he left no music, which Rafael was permitted to write music by Nora Guthrie. Guest artists stopping by to contribute include Van Dyke Parks, Jackson Browne and Jennifer Warnes. If you dig Woody Guthrie and old-time troubadour folk, you will dig this album.
Other New Adds:
Jennifer Warnes: Famous Blue Raincoat (been digging Leonard Cohen lately – can you believe this CD is out of print in the US?)
David Morreale: From the Dirt
Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams: Flapjacks From the Sky
Cordelia’s Dad: How Can I Sleep
Rosheen: Musique Celtique
Various Artists: True Folk
Hugh Morrison: Far From Home
Leigh Cline: Galatia and Pontic Music
A.J. Swearingen: selftitled
Peggy Seeger: Love Call Me Home
The Elders: American Wake
Susan McKeown: Sweet Liberty
Various Artists: Acoustic Rainbow, Volume 21
David Llewellyn: selftitled
Sharon Shannon, Frankie Gavin, Michael McGoldrick, Jim Murray: Tunes
Linda Thompson: Give Me a Sad Song
Neko Case: The Tigers Have Spoken
From Christine Lavin, via the FOLKDJ-L
Date: Sun, 17 Apr 2005 21:58:25 EDT
From: Christine Lavin
Subject: update on Mary Travers:
Mary Travers’ bone marrow transplant is scheduled to happen in about a week. In her own words:
Dear Friends, I feel a bit like a ball player hanging on third, waiting for a hit good enough to bring me home. I’m getting as ready as I can for the transplant.
We found a match – well, almost. Nine points out of ten. I hate to say this but it’s close enough for folk music.
I want to share with all of you just how much your words of encouragement, your prayers and all of your good thoughts and wishes have meant to me. The response that we have received on our web site has been overwhelming; it’s impossible to know just how many lives have been touched by our music these past forty-four years.
Now, I know that there are a lot of you out there rooting for me and that has made all the difference in this terrible time. I feel grateful beyond words and sustained by your voices. I’m sure that it’s part of what has given me the strength to fight and the drive to sing again.
So I can only say, thank you, thank you!
I am still collecting ‘get well’ messages AND jokes (and yes, she LOVES jokes) for Mary — the email address is email@example.com — at the concert I did with Cheryl Wheeler at Sanders Theater in March, Paul Kehoe, who works on the website www.peterpaulandmary.com came onstage and made a plea for audience members to register their bone marrow AND send messages to Mary — he has printed out thousands of them and she reads every single one. So keep ‘em coming!
Thank you all — Christine Lavin
Another installment of news you can use from the folk music world.
All right, crimestoppers, it’s time to blog new adds again.
Over the Rhine: Drunkard’s Prayer
Midway through their tour for Ohio, Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist of Over the Rhine came to the realization that their marriage was falling apart. They canceled their tour and then spent the next few months reinventing their relationship. The result is Drunkard’s Prayer, recorded in their living room using primarily piano, guitars, upright bass and some steel guitar and occasional percussion. The theme song for the album is “Born” :
“I was born to laugh
I’ve learned to laugh through my tears
I was born to love
I’m gonna learn to love without fear.
…We’ve seen the landfill rainbow
We’ve seen the junkyard of love
And baby, it’s no place for you and me.”
The CD is filled with the sounds of a relationship coming together. As such, it makes for some compelling songs, with moods ranging from celebrations of romance and longing to songs of trouble and doubt. Throughout, Bergquist’s continues to prove that she is one of the great pop vocal stylists of our time. This CD is fine, and may be their best and most consistent to date, particularly following the sometimes rambling Ohio.
Ellis Paul: American Jukebox Fables
You can tell from the first 45 seconds of this CD that it is not the conventional folk/rock that we’ve come to expect from Ellis Paul. “Blacktop Train” begins with some vocal scatting by singer Rachael Davis over some acoustic guitar and then the drum loops and horn samples kick in, followed by some looping banjos. I dig it. Folk purists, of course, will accuse Ellis Paul of selling out, but they cannot say they weren’t warned. All the signs are there on the back of the CD, where the good folks at Philo talk about how Paul “expands his sonic palette still further, adding contemporary flourishes to his signature mix of folk storytelling, beat poetry and songcraft.”
Flynn (some producers apparently only need one name), does add some contemporary touches to Paul’s work, including some occasional drum sampling and looping; however, after the first listen I don’t find them too intrusive, particularly because Paul’s songs and voice are clearly the star here, and because the expanded sonic palette does not overshadow Paul’s singing – rather it takes over the instrumental breaks, though I could do without the looping drums most of the time. Overall, this is one of Paul’s strongest collection of songs yet, touching on subjects as diverse as America’s westward migration, Pat Tillman, Marc Chagall, homes burning down, death, a bar in Homer, Alaska, and crime sprees.
Greg Trooper: Make it Through This World
If I were not such a cynic, I would say that this is the album that makes Greg Trooper a household name, since it’s filled with more of his well-crafted hook-filled country/folk songs, and ably produced by Dan Penn with a Memphis soul feel with lots of swirling Hammond B-3, classy guitar fills and background vocals where you can feel them swaying through the shiny spinning petroleum based shiny groove.
Unfortunately, I still remember that I thought Trooper’s last CD would be the one that made him a household name. And the one before that. Since I am such a cynic, what I do predict is that lots of cowboy hat wearing dudes and/or navel-baring waifs from Nashville will cover this batch of Greg Trooper tunes and have hits with them, while this CD languishes in the listening station in the folk music section at Borders, since radio doesn’t play hook-filled songs anymore unless they are sung by people who wear coyboy hats or are navel-baring waifs.
It’s sad because Trooper not only is a great songwriter, but a really fine vocalist. Maybe he doesn’t have enough twang for Nashville. I don’t get it. Please go buy this CD, because I know you’ll enjoy it immensely, and then when you hear the tunes sung by a cowboy hat wearing dude or navel-baring waif, you can amaze your friends by saying “Greg Trooper wrote that song. The original’s much better.”
It comes out on April 12 on Sugar Hill Records.
Other New Adds
The Blind Boys of Alabama: Atom Bomb (RIP, George Scott)
Rob Siegel: Voices From the Right Brain – Live at Club Passim
Blue Highway: Marbletown
Martyn Joseph: Thunder and Rainbows (The Best We Could Find, 1988-2000)
Various Artists: The Appalachians – Companion to the Public Television Series
Various Artists: Oasis World Sampler, Volume 5 #1
Various Artists: Oasis Acoustic Sampler, Volume 5 #1
Kate Campbell: Sidetracks
CanCon: You could do a lot worse than this list of 50 Essential Canadian Tracks. They make some pretty good music north of the 49th.