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Archive for August, 2011

Lazybirds. Photo by Jen Fox

Lazybirds is a classic American roots band from the mountains of North Carolina. Specializing in good time music that is just about impossible not to move to, there is also a depth to the band that faithful fans have treasured over the years. According to the legendary Doc Watson, “Lazybirds play a good variety of blues, jazz, and that good old ragtime sound, and you will hear the flavor of that in anything they play.” The ‘Birds cover a lot of musical ground, from early American stringband music to Dylan classics, as well as classic sounding originals, but deep roots are what hold all of these sounds together.

The Lazybirds most recent CD release (2010), “Broken Wing,” pays homage to founding member Andy Christopher, who played tenor banjo and tenor guitar, and sang with the band until being stricken suddenly with a mysterious heart condition. The title track, a Lazybirds original, describes how the band misses their soul brother; “It seems wrong you’re not here on my right,” “There’s a hole where there should be your banjo.” Andy was with the band for part of the recording before he took sick, and you can hear his distinctive banjo picking particularly on “Life,” a Lazybirds rendition of the Sly and the Family Stone classic that will surprise most listeners other than long time fans, who expect the occasional knuckle-ball from this band. In essence the CD is life-affirming, moving through the blues, swing and deep country with humor and heart. “Broken Wing” has received sparkling reviews across the American southeast and in Europe.

Lately the band has been incorporating more original music into the mix. Some of these will certainly find their way onto the next Lazybirds recording, but you’ll have to check the credits to know which songs are Lazybirds originals and which are old classics, as the band has been steeping in the American roots melting pot for so long that it flavors anything they do. The band began nearly twenty years ago, when Jay Brown and James T Browne, who had played acoustic blues and folk together in high-school, moved up to Boone NC where they immediately met Mitch Johnston. Eventually Mitch became the hard driving bass man who perfectly complimented James’ jazz drumming and Jay’s finger style blues-swing guitar and jazzy harmonica. Shortly afterward they met Andy, who’s rhythmic style opened up more doors for the band. A few years later they were joined by German born fiddler and blues guitarist Alfred Michels who, evidence clearly suggests, is from 100 years ago.

Together they have played top festivals across the southeast, including Merlefest, Bristol Rhythm and Roots, LEAF, Birmingham City Stages, Music on the Mountaintop, and Bele Chere. They have shared the stage with their friends The Old Crow Medicine Show and Doc Watson. They’ve been a longstanding favorite in some of the best bars from Birmingham to Boone. Lazybirds is an American classic worth getting to know.

Show Details at a Glance:

LazyBirds
MoDaddys
Friday, September 23, 2011

9:30, $5
(828) 258-1550
77 Biltmore Ave.
Asheville, NC 28801
http://www.modaddysbar.com

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Here’s a fun update from the Keels for Labor Day Weekend!

Hey Folks,

After a firestorm of energy and killer shows out west with Natural Bridge and Keller Williams we get right back in the saddle this week with some great shows back on the East Coast.

Keller and the Keels. Photo by J. R. Martin

Check out this live review in Reverb from the Mishawaka Amphitheatre in Colorado from last week’s show with Keller. In it Brendan Magee states,  “Williams opened with a quiet version of Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” before covering Van Morrison, Ryan Adams and Tom Petty along the way. But first and second set turns with the Keels colored the night bluegrass. Fast-fingered Larry Keel hammered his way into songs with drastic precision and neck-bending techniques. Jenny Keel on vocals and upright bass anchored songs like “Get It While You Can” amidst a picking frenzy.” Also, here are some great pics from the show: http://phatphlogblog.blogspot.com/2011/08/phlog-post-keller-and-keels-at.html

Larry Keel and Natural Bridge. Photo by Vikas Nambiar

This Friday we head out for another Keller and the Keels set at the Head Jamz Festival on Friday in Adams, TN. On Saturday we head back to the great state of North Carolina and play the GETDOWN Music Festival with Natural Bridge. This Sunday, Sept 4th we trek back  to our home town of Lexington, VA to play an evening with Larry Keel and Natural Bridge at The Theater At Lime Kiln (show starts at 7:30pm). We finish the Labor Day Weekend festivities on Monday, Sept 5th in Bridgewater, VA at the Oakdale Community Park Summer Concerts (show time is 7pm).

Have a beautiful weekend and remember to think of your fellow friends and family, go out and lend a hand this week, a lot of folks could use it after this week.

Cheers,
The Keels

http://www.larrykeel.com

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New Music Video: “Stars Fall on Alabama” by Tara Nevins

Filmed and produced by Jim Torres

From the Album “Wood And Stone” on Sugar Hill Records

American roots traditionalist Tara Nevins’ new release ‘Wood and Stone’ showcases Nevins’ ever-evolving repertoire and was produced by Larry Campbell at the Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock, NY. Featured guests on the album include Levon Helm, Jim Lauderdale, Allison Moorer, Teresa Williams, The Heartbeats, along with the core band of Larry Campbell, Justin Guip, and Byron Isaacs.

CMT writes, “With the wonderful fiddle groove and vividly written lyrics, Nevins gives a glimpse into her roots. Stepping out for a rare solo record (beyond her beloved band, Donna the Buffalo), she meshes her Cajun influences, unique voice, drums and steel guitars for an intriguing look at her heritage.”

One of the songs that stands out is Nevins’s version of the Jazz standard “Stars Fell on Alabama.”

A few years ago, living in Huntsville, Alabama, Nevins was approached by director Jim Torres and was asked to adapt “Stars Fell On Alabama” for the movie he was then directing – “20 Years After” (an MTI Video). Torres states, “I was looking for a song that had romantic lyrics and a geographical reference to Alabama which is where the movie took place. I’ve always loved Ella Fitzgerald and Louie Armstrong’s version of the song, and the lyrics were perfect for the movie, but I needed something a little darker, almost melancholy to match the tone of the film. I met Tara through mutual friends on the film project and we talked. I loved her music, and the thought of adapting a Jazz standard intrigued her.”

Nevins used the original lyrics and rewrote the music in an Old Time Mountain Music style. She created the new melody for the lyrics and wrote a fiddle tune as the centerpiece of the instrumental sections. She then went up to Nashville and recorded the song with Gary Paczosa.

Nevins states, “when the movie came out I put the song up on MySpace. It was also put, with just an abstract picture, up on YouTube. Between the two, the song has had nearly 60,000 views and comments. I continually receive messages from folks who’ve seen “20 Years After” saying it was their favorite thing in the movie and where can they get a copy of my version of the song? I decided to put “Stars Fell On Alabama” on my new record because of that, and because I think it is beautiful and it fit perfectly with the rest of the record.”

Here it is, yet another version of this great Jazz standard – different from all the others with an Old Time Country sound. This version is of interest to anyone who knows the song, and has had a great response from those who have heard it. It’s reference to Alabama has alot of meaning for Nevins personally and this version has seemed to touch the hearts of many listeners living in Alabama.

It seemed like the perfect song from “Wood and Stone” to do a video of. Like Jim Torres says “We wanted the video to stand on its own, and let it support the music – just Tara and her fiddle and a beautiful song.”

Here is what the press is saying about “Stars Fell on Alabama”
“…….. even though I am familiar with at least two dozen other renditions of the song, it’s as though I heard it for the first time. It is stunning in its quietness.” – Amos Perrine, No Depression

“Stars Fell on Alabama” sounds like it fell from her heart and pen too, but Nevins has the capacity to take a well-known standard like this, change the melody, and perform it so ingenuously that it fits in seamlessly to the whole groove of the record.” – Acousticana Journal

“ … it’s a track sounds like it was from the O’Brother Where Art Thou? sessions…. the haunting “Stars Fell On Alabama,” where once again Nevins shows her prowess on the fiddle” – Chuck Dauphin, Music News Nashville:

“Three deftly picked covers include the standard “Stars Fell on Alabama” (from the film 20 Years After),….Nevins works some real magic here” – Hyperbolium

“……… a dynamite reading of “Stars Fell on Alabama,” – The Daily News

The music video for “Stars Fell on Alabama” was created by Director/Editor Jim Torres, Assistant Director Keith Sims, and Cinematographer Daniel Beard in July of 2011 in Huntsville, Alabama.

Visit www.TaraNevins.com for more information about the album, a gallery of images, videos, music, and lyrics.

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Hey all!

Amazing writer friend Dave Shiflett just posted a review about me– Dreamspider Erin– haha– I am so used to getting all the musicians and events the press, that this is a turn of events…

Check it out at:http://alivewithoutpermission.wordpress.com/2011/08/18/erin-scholze/

Here is a short excerpt of a much longer story:

I had made plans to stop and see Erin on the way home from the Mt. Airy music festival in northern North Carolina. I  met Erin several weeks before at Merlefest, where one of her clients – Tara Nevins, who fronts Donna the Buffalo and also has a solo career – was talking up her new CD, “Wood and Stone,” in the press tent.  Erin is one of those people who is instantly likable, with a warm bearing, terrific smile and whose eyes, as I’ve pointed out in an earlier post, are full of sunshine. What also stands out is her love of her clients’ music. I have dealt with many publicists during my years as a critic and many times they seem to simply be going through the motions. Erin, by contrast, is genuinely enthusiastic about her work. Over the course of the Merlefest weekend, whether at the press tent or during a performance, she would slip by to fill me in on some aspect of the song being played, perhaps how it fit into the band’s history,  or to invite me to another performance. I would soon find that Erin’s enthusiasm is also a reflection of her belief that music is not simply entertainment but a source of social cohesion and an antidote, if only temporary, to life’s endless trials and tribulations.

Cheers~!

Erin Scholze, Dreamspider Publicity


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A note from Larry and Jenny Keel:

Hey Folks,

Hope everyone is having a great summer. We just got back from a short fishing break and are now getting fired up to head out west with Larry Keel and Natural Bridge. This weekend we fly out and head to Hot Springs MT for the Soula Music Fest on Saturday. After that we head over to Victor ID to do a show at the Knotty Pine, and then we head down to one of our favorite places on the earth for a show on Wednesday at the Trout Hunter in Island Park ID. We finish up in Park City UT for and intimate show at Riff’s Acoustic Music.

Keller and the Keels. Photo by J.R. Martin

After that we send our fine band mates back home and head over to Ned Fest where Larry will host a Larry and Friends for an early Saturday morning set. After that we keep getting it and meet up with our great friend Keller Williams for a show on Saturday Night at Mishawaka Amphitheater for a Keller and the Keels set. The following day we finish up our tour with a Keller and the Keels show at Lake Tahoe Bluegrass and Beyond Festival.

We hope all you folks get a chance to come out to some shows and check out Larry Keel and Natural Bridge and see our style of Mountain Music laced with Hot Licks, Moonshine and Rowdy VA Bluegrass!!!
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Slow Down and Turn up the Bluegrass!!!
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Check out www.larrykeel.com for all details

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New Lingua Musica Episode: Erin Scholze from Dreamspider Publicity talks with Jonathan Scales Fourchestra at The Musicians Workshop on Merrimon Ave. in Asheville, NC in July 2011. Daniel Judson filmed and edited this video which is copyright Luminescence LLC 2011 and may be used as long as proper credit is given.
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Jonathan Scales has been called a “…rising star of the steel drums…” by Traps Magazine and “The Real Deal” by Pan on the Net and as having “A Thelonius Monk-like attitude with a Mozart creativity that works.” Premier Steel Pan magazine, When Steel Talks states , “At the end of the day, Scales is going to be a major play in rewriting the books on steelpan music outside of the box.”

In this episode of Lingua Musica, Jonathan Scales discusses how he came about his style of Steel Pan. Also hear more about his new album, Character Farm & Other Short Stories, which is a 45-minute dive deeper into the compositionally-twisted work. There are nine original instrumental “stories” on the album which transport listeners from the primal Jam We Did to the lush Hallucinations of the Dream Chasers. The title track Character Farm brings the audience into a chilled, ‘worldly’ ride after the frantically emotional The Longest December. Guest appearance on the record include Jeff Coffin (of Dave Matthews Band / Bela Fleck & the Flecktones), Yonrico Scott and Kofi Burbridge (of Derek Trucks Band fame) and the dazzling work of fiddle virtuoso Casey Driessen.  Also, you will meet the cast of Characters that make up the Fourchestra: classically trained composer turned steel pan maestro and front man of the Fourchestra, Jonathan Scales, is heavily influenced by the complexity of banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck to the hustle of Jay-Z. Gritty blues guitarist, Duane Simpson, and fusion-chops bassist, Cody Wright, provide the harmonic support for Scales’ sound; while jazz/hip-hop drummer, Phill Bronson, drives the time-shifting, modern grooves. 

Scales, along with fimmaker Daniel Judson, produced an insightful Music Video for the song Muddy Vishnu; snippets of the music video are shown in the interview. Watching Muddy Vishnu is “almost like a Being John Malkovich set inside Scales’ own world of found rhythms, visions, colors, friends, inspirations and rare silence,” writes Asheville’s Mountain Xpress.

In this episode of Lingua Musica, Scales’s also talks about the album’s comic book-inspired images, designed by Gregory Keyzer, that tie together the musical fusion of his Fourchestra. “There’s a different illustration for every song,” Scales says in an interview with Robin Tolleson in Bold Life. “It’s cool because you can kind of put a visual image with each piece. The album is packaged like a book of short stories, but there’s an overlying theme. The sonic tapestry, mixed with the congruent artwork, really ties the whole thing together. The pictures help people make their judgments about what it’s about and how they feel about it. It’s not complete long form, but it’s closer.”

Character Farm, along with a glossy 19 x 13 poster depicting the custom designed comic book graphics illustrating each song are available at www.jonscales.com.

This video was brought to you by Lingua Musica: Where Music is the Universal Language…


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UPDATE: We’re sorry to announce that the Crash Test Dummies’ fall 2011 tour of the US Canada has been cancelled. Lead singer/songwriter Brad Roberts has been dealing with chronic and worsening back problems stemming from a herniated disk. His doctors have advised him that he can not go out on the road for the remainder of this year. Roberts is deeply disappointed, and knows that Crash Test Dummies fans will be disappointed as well, but his medical condition has to be his priority right now.
-Crash Test Dummies – September 12, 2011

Seeing the Crash Test Dummies perform live may rocket you backward momentarily, with Brad Roberts‘ distinctive voice and satirical humor conjuring hits like “Mmm, Mmm, Mmm, Mmm” and “Superman’s Song”, but it will also land you firmly in the present with modern folk rock perfected over 20 years of touring & recording.

Last year’s critically acclaimed Oooh La-La! [Deep Fried Records] was made using 1970’s analog toys, including the the Optigan and Omnichord. Despite the unusual nature of production, the songs on Oooh La-La! stand up as some of Roberts’ best work, both lyrically and musically. Venus Zine noted “Soaring string arrangements, Roberts’ booming baritone…captivate the listener,” and as the Huffington Post put it, these newly revitalized Crash Test Dummies “Should be taken seriously in 2010 and beyond.”

Rather than try to recreate music that was written with some rather cranky toy instruments, Roberts and company embarked on a highly successful acoustic tour around the release of the album, which further cemented the GRAMMY-nominated band’s relationship with fans new and old. Fortunately for fans, Roberts immediately discovered that he really does love playing live shows. In that spirit, Crash Test Dummies are heading out on a mini-tour in September to play the Taste of Madison (9/4); Sellersville Theater, PA (9/13); Mexicali Live in Teaneck NJ (9/14); and the Tupelo Music Halls in White River Junction, VT (9/16) and Londonderry, NH (9/17).

Roberts’ voice and offbeat lyrical sensibility have been this beloved band’s calling cards since their founding twenty years ago. Joining Roberts for this tour are Rob Morsberger (keys and accordion) and Terry Derkach (guitar). Rob Morsberger is a composer, arranger, keyboard player and singer. He created the string arrangements on “Oooh La-La!” and has toured with Brad, both as an opening act and as a keyboard player. Rob will also do a short, solo, opening set. Terry, like Brad, is originally from Winnipeg and like Roberts, has been living in NYC for many years. They’ve worked in the studio on some projects, but this will be the first time that the two have actually “been in a band together” since they were 18 years old. That band lasted one rehearsal! We have every expectation that this collaboration will be more sustained.

The live show, which never fails to impress, is “…easily the most breathtaking acoustic act you’re likely to see… distinctive voices exert amazing prowess” according to Consequence of Sound. The show touches on the breadth of material that Roberts has developed with a variety of collaborators over a storied career and nine notable albums. This new three-piece lineup will be sure to play ‘the hits’ – of which there were plenty – as well as a vast array of material that makes them such an enduring force in folk rock.

In addition to the stellar set list, the band will will offer fans a newly-released, limited edition collection of never-before-heard cast-off recording from 1996-97 titled “Demo-litions”. It is available only at the shows (and of course on their web site). Roberts states, “Put on the record, shut off your cell phones, internet, TV screen, and even the lights; then sit back, and give it a full listen through. I promise you’ll laugh, at the very least. And a laugh is worth a thousand good ideas.”

Meanwhile, while he’s not recording and playing shows, or reading and re-reading Milton’s Paradise Lost, Roberts’ Facebook and Tumblr fans continue to follow his output as a photographer, as he catalogs life around him in New York and on his travels.

To learn more about Crash Test Dummies, see videos, read Roberts’ blog and more, visit www.crashtestdummies.com.

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