Bert Jansch, Scottish guitarist best known for his work with seminal British folk group The Pentangle, has died of cancer at age 67. More here.
From the man behind Festival Radio, discussing folk music and more.
American by birth, Liz Meyer has lived in Europe since 1985 and has been active in promoting bluegrass and American roots music on the continent. She has been a performer, songwriter, producer and the creative force behind the European World of Bluegrass festival and workshops. I have played her music on Festival Radio.
Note from woodsmeister – This is a guest article from regular FolkBlog contributor and Australian correspondent Sue Barrett. Published by permission. All rights, credits, plaudits, etc., belong to her alone.
Celebrate Canada – 2011
By Sue Barrett
When Elizabeth Taylor died earlier this year, American singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash shared a story via Twitter about how the film star (born 27 February 1932) used to send a birthday telegram every year to Rosanne’s father Johnny Cash (born 26 February 1932), which read: “Remember, I’m younger than you!”.
Amongst Johnny Cash’s music is a live album recorded in 1969 at San Quentin State Prison (Johnny Cash at San Quentin), with its intriguing line: ’cause I’m the *bleep* who named you “Sue”. Of course, these days, the bleep has been demystified, courtesy of YouTube (www.youtube.com/watch?v=T678ic45k98)!
Canadian Buffy Sainte-Marie is another *bleeped* performer, with at least one of her singles (‘She Used to Wanna be a Ballerina’/ ‘Moratorium’) affected – *bleep* the war and bring our brothers home.
Some time after Johnny and Buffy released their records, two American performers met at a folk festival in Toronto – Cathy Fink (who had spent a number of years living in Canada) and Marcy Marxer. Later, working as a duo, Fink and Marxer included the Lou and Peter Berryman *bleeped* song, ‘A Chat With Your Mother’ (aka The F-Word Song), on their 1995 album, A Parents’ Home Companion.
Also appearing on A Parents’ Home Companion is Canadian Nancy White’s song, ‘Daughters of Feminists’ (“How do they get so girlie? How come they want a Barbie?”). Nancy White (www.myspace.com/nancywhitemusic) has two musician daughters – Suzy Wilde (StoneFox, Flashlight Radio) and Maddy Wilde (Spiral Beach).
In Canada, at this time of year, there is a series of Celebrate Canada events – National Aboriginal Day (21 June), Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day (24 June), Canadian Multiculturalism Day (27 June) and Canada Day (1 July).
Six musicians from Canada now share their story – Mary Kastle (Vancouver), Annette Campagne (Regina), Little Hawk (Winnipeg), S. Lynn Phillips (Random Order) (Toronto), Faith Nolan (Toronto) and Tanya Davis (Halifax).
Canada has the right idea about many things, including this one – honor your artistic legends while they are living. Bruce Cockburn, along with Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Robbie Robertson & Ginette Reno will be honored with postage stamps in the Canadian Recording Artist stamp series. Alas, Kate McGarrigle did not live to see the day, though the other artists honored are still living. For those who may not be familiar with her, Ginette Reno records mostly in French and has put out over 60 albums.
Just found out that one of my favorite young singer/songwriters, Rebecca Loebe, will be appearing as one of the contestants on the new NBC show The Voice tomorrow night (4/26). So, check the TV schedules in your region. And, so you’ll recognize her when she comes on, here’s a brand new video for her song, “The Bees.”
Jack Hardy, a leading light of the New York City folk music scene and mentor to singer/songwriters such as John Gorka and Christine Lavin, has died. Hardy hosted a regular dinner at his home for singer/songwriters, and was instrumental in forming a club for folk singer/songwriters in which they could hone their craft, as well as the Fast Folk Music Magazine.
Some more information on Jack Hardy:
I’ll update this post as I learn more.
For years, many in the folk community have been begging for a collection of the best of Canadian folk legend Stan Rogers. Finally, it has been released on Borealis Records. If you are unclear as to why Stan Rogers is worth your time, see the video above. The CD is available on Amazon as an import, but I recommend buying directly from Borealis Records. I’m not affiliated with Borealis Records in any way, so I don’t get a cut.
Oysterband has posted to Facebook their intent to enter the studio soon to record a new album with June Tabor:
From the Oysterband Facebook page
Some albums and artists I’ve been enjoying lately – video edition.
Kate Jacobs – Home Game
Kate has long been a favorite of mine, and she’s never yet put out an album that has disappointed me. Apparently, Kate overheard the story behind this song in Central Park.
Lynn Miles – Fall For Beauty
Another longtime favorite, Lynn Miles new CD comes out in the States this month.
David Wax Museum – Everything Is Saved
Early favorite for album of the year, David Wax Museum blends Americana and Mexican folk stylings into an intriguing fusion. Here’s their first single:
Paper Aeroplanes – The Day We Ran Into the Sea
I like the jangle pop stylings of this Welsh pop duo.
I know – it’s already mid-January and I’m just getting around to posting my favorite CDs of 2010. I wait because I still discover new music in December when everyone is writing their annual obituaries for the year that has not yet died. Anyway, here is the annotated list of my favorite recordings from 2010:
1) April Smith and the Great Picture Show – Songs From a Sinking Ship
A wonderful, eclectic mix of high-energy toe-tapping pop with a folky, jazzy edge.
2) Natalie Merchant - Leave Your Sleep
A fascinating, genre-hopping collection of entertaining poems set to music
3) Mumford and Sons – Sigh No More
Indie music’s darlings of 2010 are really worth all the hype, with their appealing, energetic acoustic pop. When was the last time you heard the pop music world this excited at a group that so prominently features banjo? I mean, really?
4) Lynne Hanson – Once the Sun Goes Down
Canadian singer/songwriter Lynne Hanson has a voice made for singing Americana – world weary and husky like Lucinda Williams. On this album, she benefits from smart, full production and brings a strong crop of songs.
5) Catherine MacLellan – Water in the Ground
Another Canadian singer/songwriter, Catherine MacLellan has a lush, rich, entracing voice that rises above sparser, acoustic production.
6) Johnny Clegg – Human
Welcome back, Johnny Clegg. Your new album is like getting a letter from an old friend. Please write sooner next time.
7) Richard Thompson – Dream Attic
The best smoking hot rock and roll album Richard Thompson has released in years. There’s definitely an edge from the live recording. Yet, somehow nominated for a GRAMMY in one of the folk categories.
8. Red Molly – James
Red Molly just continues to produce solid folk recordings built on multi-instrumental wizardry, tight three-part vocal harmonies and well-chosen covers. I particularly love their cover of “Black Flowers” by Lynn Miles, one of the great recent coal mining songs
9) Rebecca Loebe – Mystery Prize
Singer-songwriter Rebecca Loebe mixes wit and humor into a thoroughly interesting album filled with lyrical twists and turns.
10) David Wax Museum – Carpenter Bird
I am a sucker for the interesting things that happen when genres and cultures collide, so it should be no surprise that I’ve fallen hard for the exciting blend of Mexican folk music and Americana provided by David Wax Museum.
Every list like this leaves out a lot of really good music. Here is the short list of artists on the edge, in alphabetical order:
*Released 2009 but I didn’t get my hands on it until 2010
2011 is already off to a good start with really fine new releases from Lynn Miles, Amos Lee, Kate Jacobs, Abigail Washburn and David Wax Museum in my hands and the year is only two weeks old.