Originally posted October 10, 2013……
Born on this day in 1943, was Steve Miller aka .”The Gangster of Love”. I became a Steve Miller fan with his second album Sailor and followed his career on vinyl until the album six Rock Love which was released in 1971. I think I had The Joker on 8-track! After that, I followed his career on the radio, until his 2010 and 2011 releases Bingo and Let Your Hair Down, which are both really fine albums! From Steve’s Press Release Biography
Born October 5, 1943 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Steve Miller grew up in a musical family. His mother, Bertha, was a gifted vocalist and his father, Dr. George (Sonny) Miller, was an amateur tape recordist. Steve’s uncle Dale Miller gave his four year-old nephew a guitar. His father’s friend, guitarist Les Paul, taught the young boy a few chords and his father secretly recorded the exchange. “Steve, you’re really going to go places,” Les Paul told him, after listening to the boy play and sing. The family moved to Dallas, Texas when Steve was seven years old, where his father recorded a procession of visiting musicians in their living room; Tal Farlow, Red Norvo. Steve was allowed to stay home from school the day T-Bone Walker came to play for one of his parents’ parties and he remembers to this day the flesh-colored Cadillac convertible with the leopard-print seats in which the bluesman arrived. Walker showed the young guitarist how to play single-line solos…… —–After falling just short of graduating in his senior year, Miller was drawn to the blues scene of Chicago, where he met Howlin’ Wolf playing in nightclubs and shared the bandstand with Muddy Waters. His own Goldberg Miller Blues Band took over for the pioneering Paul Butterfield Blues Band at Big John’s, where the college crowd met the blues on the North Side. The band signed with Epic Records and went to New York to promote the single, “The Mother Song,” appearing on TV’s “Hullabaloo” with the Supremes and the Four Tops. After finishing out the year in an extended run at a Manhattan nightclub, Miller…….
When I started to listen to a lot of music and collecting CDs, thanks to the used CD bins at Tunes in Marlton, in the early 2000s, I found the music of Tim O’Brien, an amazing multi-instrumentalist and singer. I also discovered the music of guitarist Charles Sawtelle. It took a while before I stumbled upon a great bluegrass album So Long a Journey (2002) from the band Hot Rize. I discovered that both O’Brien and Sawtelle were members of the band, along with Pete Wernick, and Nick Forster. Subsequently, I discovered that the album was a live album that had been recorded in 1996 and was a reunion album of the band, that had retired in 1990. In 1990, the members had parted ways and went on to have distinguished solo careers. From their biography at the band’s website.
The other day I was reading Dave Van Ronk‘s autobiography The Mayor of MacDougal Street. In the chapter I was reading Dave was recalling fellow folksinger Paul Clayton. Clayton was a graduate of the University of Virginia, where he earned a master’s degree in Folklore. Clayton was a true folksinger studying and singing traditional music mostly New England seas shanties and ballads and Appalachian songs. At the point of his career in the mid to late 1950s, that Van Ronk was writing about Clayton had already recorded dozens of albums and most of them revolved around a theme like Songs of Love and Marriage, Songs of Hate and Divorce. and Waters of Tyne: English North Country Songs & Ballads. Van Ronk writes that any time Clayton needed money, he would head to the library and look through an obscure folklore collection. He would then visit Moe Asch at Folkways Records and say “You know Moe. I was just looking through your catalog and I noticed that you don’t have a single album of Maine lumberjack ballads”
So on the left sidebar there is a playlist of some of my favorite songs from a variety of albums, most of which were released in July August and September of 2014. There are a couple that I’ve added from earlier months basically albums that I didn’t get around to writing about but still really enjoyed! So here’s the list of the albums that the songs were taken from to make the playlist!
1. Milltowns - Mark Erelli – September 2014
I have only listened to this album of covers of Bill Morrissey songs once, and I had problems with it, mainly because Bill’s voice was so distinctive I have trouble hearing anyone else sing his songs
2. Haven’t Got the Blues (Yet) - September
With thoughts of Rob Ickes swirling in my mind last night, I listened again to Cold Spell, the new release from Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen, on the way to work at Target last night. Ickes is a guest on the album and as usual provides some great dobro to go with Solivan’s fine mandolin picking!!
Cold Spell is the third release from Frank and his band and with each release the band and Frank’s star has risen! Back in August, when the band released Cold Spell rel it rose to No 3 on the Billboard Bluegrass Charts! In addition, Frank and the band have been nominated for the following International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards…..
- Instrumental Group of the Year
- Male Vocalist of the Year (Frank Solivan)
- Mandolin Player of the Year (Frank Solivan)
- Banjo Player of the Year (Mike Munford)
Frank Solivan now calls Alexandria Virginia home and with Dirty Kitchen they play a blend of acoustic American Roots music with a bluegrass acoustic country base, flavored with blues, folk, swing and jazz! Sounds like my kinda’ music, doesn’t it!! Solivan’s powerful vocals and outstanding mandolin playing are what make the band stand out for me. But believe you me the rest of the band is powerful, too. The rest of the band includes Mike Munford on banjo, Chris Luquette on guitar and Dan Booth on bass and throw IBMA’s instrumental Group of the Year!!
This afternoon I was listening to the latest release from Breaking Grass Just as Strong, after listening for a while, I went and found a video of the band seems that the band has everything I like fiddle, guitar, mandolin, banjo, and bass, wait! There’s no dobro! But I listened anyway and they are a damn fine band without the dobro and I will listen to Just as Strong a few more times before I write about it…. but thinking about the dobro got me thinking about Rob Ickes, and then I came across this post and thought I’d post it again!!!
So last night before listening to Cameron Milford again and reading that Rob Ickes had played on his album, I found this video of Rob Ickes and Jim Hurst performing one of my favorite songs “Going Down the Road Feeling Bad”.I was impressed by the guitar picking of Jim Hurst on the video, and of course, I always am impressed by Mr. Ickes! After watching, I went and read a little about Mr Hurst and discovered that he had been a member of Claire Lynch’s band …. From Jim’s biography at his website:
So today is the 88th birthday of probably the greatest blues musician of all time and certainly the one whose been at the top of his craft the longest, B.B. King!! First, here’s the obligatory background information from Wikipedia, like he needs and introduction:
Riley B. King (born September 16, 1925), known by the stage name B.B. King, is an American blues musician, singer, songwriter, and guitarist.
Rolling Stone magazine ranked him at No. 6 on its list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time (previously ranked No. 3 in the 2003 edition of the same list), and he was ranked No. 17 in Gibson’s “Top 50 Guitarists of All Time”. According to Edward M. Komara, King “introduced a sophisticated style of soloing based on fluid string bending and shimmering vibrato that would influence virtually every electric blues guitarist that followed.” King was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. He is considered one of the most influential blues musicians of all time, earning the nickname “The King of Blues”, and one of the “Three Kings of the Blues Guitar” (along with Albert King and Freddie King). King is also known for performing tirelessly throughout his musical career appearing at 250-300 concerts per year until his seventies. In 1956 it was noted that he appeared at 342 shows. King continues to appear at 100 shows a year.
One of the albums that has been in my rotation since it’s release last week, is If Sorrow Swims from Greensky Bluegrass. Greensky Bluegrass is one of my favorite progressive bluegrass bands. I discovered their music a few years back and loved the album Live at Bells, on that album the band really displays their musicianship. I liked their last album Handguns, but not as much as the earlier albums. If Sorrow Swims reminds me more of their earlier albums. Here’s a statement from the band’s website about the band…
“There’s this great duality to our band,” reflects Greensky Bluegrass mandolinist, vocalist, and songwriter Paul Hoffman. “We’re existing in a few different places at once: we’re a bluegrass band and a rock band, we’re song-driven and interested in extended improvisation.”
I missed this song from Loudon Wainwright III last Christmas. The first time I heard the song “I’ll Be Killing You This Christmas” was last night on my way to work at Target, and as I listened I first thought, OK? As the songs, continued I soon was smiling and then laughed out loud! The song is included on Wainwright’s new album I Don’t Have the Blues (Yet) and it’s one of the several new treasures , from the folksong master! I have written before that I have never been a big fan of Wainwright but after his last several albums, I have changed my opinion. Of course another reason may be that at 68 years old, Loudon is just slightly older than I am. and many of the songs in his last few albums have dealt with aging, songs like the title of his last album “Older than the Now” which talks about when you become older than your father ever was, and on this album “Brand Ne Dance”. Anyway, I’ve only listened to the album once and I don’t know that I made it all the way through, but as of right now, the Grade for the album is a B+ and rising!!
Yesterday, I was reviewing the Roots Music Bluegrass Chart and way down near the bottom, I came across a band whose
name was unfamiliar with, The High 48s. Their latest release Great Northern Railroad was fittingly #48 on the chart. Since the album obviously had a train song on it, I thought it would be a good album to check out!! So I headed over to Spotify, found the album, listened to a few of the songs, and since my foot hadn’t stopped tapping since the album began, I knew this one was a winner!!
The High 48s were formed in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2006 and they are winners! They came to the attention of the national bluegrass scene, when they won the Rockygrass Band Competition in Lyons, Colorado, in 2008! The band’s name refers to railroad slang for the boxcars that carried the troops to the front lines during WWI. The cars carried 40 men and 8 horses! The band members Eric Christopher,( fiddle and vocals), Anthony Ihrig – (banjo and Resonator guitar), Marty Marone (vocals and guitar), Chad Johnson (mandolin and vocals) and Rich Casey (bass and vocals) have all honed their skills playing with the likes of Special Consensus and James King!