So over the last few days I’ve been listening to two albums from artists that I listened to briefly, decided I really didn’t care for them so I haven’t really listened since then. Shame on me! Both of the artists are from Texas one is a blues man, Hamilton Loomis and the other a folkie, well, actually two folkies Adam Carroll and Michael O’Connor. I listened to Loomis’ 2010 release Live in England and Carroll and O’Connor’s Hard Times.
So I went from being on furlough for a week and a half to working nine plus hours a day outside! Now yesterday was fine and tomorrow looks ok, but today it was damn cold especially in the AM. Now I had a drive to the site, which was in Philly out on Lancaster Avenue, but instead of paying attention to the music playing I had to pay attention to things like traffic, traffic lights and stop signs!! Reminds me of that old Morey Amsterdam joke about walking in New York traffic being musical “you either c sharp or b flat!” Anyway what have I been semi-listening to over the last few days! Well one artist, is the one I am listening to right now and that is Shaun Cromwell , and his new release Folk-Worn Prose. Last month the album was seven on the Folk DJ Chart and over all Shaun was the number four artist!
So back in October I gave kudos to Red Beet Records for releasing to fine albums from Peter Cooper and Eric Brace and Peter Cooper. This time the kudos go to Red House Records home of many of my favorites including Jorma Kaukonen, John Gorka, John McCutcheon, and Greg Brown for adding Carrie Elkin to their house! Elkin’s debut album Call It My Garden for the label produced by frequent collaborators Colin Brooks (The Band of Heathens) and Danny Schmidt (with whom she lives) was released last month and I’ve listening to it and enjoying it over the last few days. Last month the album was number 5 on the Folk DJ list.
So yesterday I explored the Folk DJ Chart from the top down. I listened to the top two albums Geof Bartley’s album Put the Big Stone Down which occupied the top spot and Abigail Washburn’s City of Refuge at number two. I skipped the two albums tied for third Jonathan Byrd’s Cackalack and The Honeydew Drops since I already have written about Byrd’s album and I liked The Honeydew Drops also. I went straight to number five and Carrie Elkins Call I my Garden. I enjoyed all three albums but Bartley and Elkins albums were the favorites with Washburn catching up after the last listen to her album!
So here’s a synopsis of the music that’s been on the iPOD this week so far. I’ve been kinda depressed because I’m on an unpaid furlough from my job of 31 years, so I’ve been busy doing things like filling for unemployment, etc. Anyway here’s some new to me artist and their music, after some listening there may be more extensive posts about some of these artists. So here goes:
So I’ve written before that when I need to put a smile on my face I turn to the music of say a John Prine, Modern Man or The Austin Lounge Lizards. Well. I am going to add another artist to that list and he’s someone that I met along this year of musical discoveries, Matt the Electrician! I met Matt back in July when I saw a video of him playing his ukulele-banjo and singing “Animal Boy”. Animal Boy was the album that was on the charts at that time and it wasn’t on Rhapsody so I listened his 2004 release Long Way Home. I liked what I heard and the album got a lot of plays. So this month when a live album Matt the Electrician is Alive was released and available at emusic I quickly picked it up!
So the other day at No Depression someone raised the question, “What is Folk Music?” Well, the question has been floating around inside my head for the last several days and while I don’t have any definitive answers, here’s my take on it! I guess when I think of pure folk music I think about artists who performed older traditional songs, like Pete Seeger and The Weavers, or Jean Ricthie, maybe throw in an Elizabeth Cotton, Woody Guthrie, and “Doc” Watson. But in the 60s after the rise of “folk” groups like The Kingston Trio, The Chad Mitchell Trio, and The Limeliters, folk music took a swing to the left and maybe turned a little inward as a new group of musicians arrived on the scene. This group was lead by Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Phil Ochs, singing side by side with artist like Tom Rush, Tom Paxton, Eric Andersen, Jerry Jeff Walker, Paul Seibel, Dave Van Ronk, Fred Neil and many others. These were the folks that shaped my “Folk” world, and their music was my “Folk University”. Just a man or woman with a guitar commenting on the human condition. Many times they were political comments particularly with Ochs and Paxton but often they were touching songs, moving songs with “heart” and “feelings” and songs that made you think! Songs like Tom Paxton’s Cindy’s Crying”, Paul Seibel’s “Louise”, Fred Neil’s “Dolphins”, Tom Rapp’s “Rocket Man” or Och’s “Flower Lady”. The way I like to refer to this music is that it’s “Folk’s Music”, music by folks and about folks! To me there’s nothing better than a good story song about someone, like Harry Chapin’s “Mr. Tanner” or Jerry Jeff’s “Stoney”. Now all this is leading up to the artist that I’ve been listening to for the last couple of days Ron Hynes and his latest album Stealing Genius. Ron Hynes is a great Canadian folksinger hailing form Newfoundland and he has been writing great folk’s songs for the last 30 years. One of them “Sonny’s Dream”, has been recorded worldwide by many artists, and was named the 41st greatest Canadian song of all time! And to think, I just heard of him (once again my bad!). But like they say “better late than never!”
So I spent the night tonight listening to a few tracks from most of the albums that I picked up today at the Princeton Record Exchange and watching the Falcons get destroyed by the Packers! I picked up a variety of albums, a few blues, some folk and bluegrass. Here they are:
Walter Trout – livin’ everyday (1999) – a blues favorite love both his vocals and guitar playing!
So in the Top 5 new adds for one of the Americana Music Chart this morning, I saw a name that I didn’t recognize, Doug Jayne with an interesting album titled Folk University So I went to Rhapsody and found the album, gave it a quick listen. I liked what I heard. So later today, I put the album on the Sansa and have been enjoying it all evening!
Doug Jayne is the host of two radio shows, and co-owns one of the few remaining independent record stores, the Last Record Store, in Santa Rosa, California. He also heads Jackalope Records, a label releasing local artists’ work. Folk University is a collection some of my folk music favorites mostly from the 60s and 70s by artist like Phil Ochs “Draft Dodger Rag”, Gordon Lightfoot “Early Morning Rain”, “Lonesome Traveller” by The Weavers and Kingston Trio, oh and one from the 1860s Stephen Foster ” Hard Times Come Again No More”. My two favorites are fine covers of Fred Neil’s “The Other Side of This Life” and Richard Farina’s “Pack Up Your Sorrows” From an article at Bohemian.com
So on a week that I spent most of the time thinking about my best of 2010 I did manage to listen to a couple of new albums. First and foremost was Dan Baker’s new album Sad Song Junkie and I really liked this album from this Massachusetts native. The second album was Highway 71 from 3 Penny Acre also a very fine album.