Life’s Soundtrack – An Afternoon of Football and Music from Jon Shain!

So today was good and bad, my son Andrew invited to come down to his house to watch the Eagles play. He has a much bigger and nice than mine and as a result of his wife’s efforts to cut their cable bill, he has the new Xfinity package with Red Zone, and yes Meaghan, that is a good thing!!Red Zone is perfect for Andrew who is a master of flipping channels!! Anyway that was the good! Thanks, Andrew and Meaghan. The bad was the Eagles lost the game!! But they are fun to watch, at least the offense!! The defense wouldn’t be bad if the could either cover the center of the field or get to the quarterback!!

Ordinary Cats

 

And the bonus was that there was 40 minutes plus of music listening both ways!! On the way down to Paulsboro, I listened to an artist that has been lost and forgotten on the iPod for a while now, Jon Shain. Last night on the way home from Target I had the iPod on random shuffle and one of the tracks from his latest release Ordinary Cats came on. As I listened to the good guitar and overall music, I thought – I have to give this album another listen and that other listen came this afternoon, Here’s some background from About Jon at his website:

Over the years Jon Shain has developed and refined his own contemporary version of the Piedmont Blues, a bouncy, energetic style that developed in Shain’s adopted hometown of Durham, NC and elsewhere around the region.

 

On Ordinary Cats, his eighth solo album, Shain doesn’t abandon that sensibility completely, but he does plug it in and crank it up. “I knew I would be playing some electric guitar on this record,” he says. “I haven’t put a lot of electric guitar on my albums. I’ve played it on other people’s albums more than my own.” The result is a modern revisiting of the roots-rock (what some now call Americana) sound associated with Stephen Stills and Neil Young, at times. But there is still a generous amount of fingerpicked acoustic guitar from Shain, a former International Blues Challenge finalist in the solo/duo category.

I really enjoyed several tracks on the album including the title track which opens the album. The second track on the album is “Cut Out Bin” was the Americana music radio single, is a tribute to record stores and ’70s rock. “Soldiers Pay” is a stirring first-person anti-war folk ballad, acoustic guitars and mandolins. Which war does it describe? “Soldiers Reel” a fine instrumental track, which if you know me know I love, follows so close behind it seems like an extension of “Soldiers Pay” “Soldier’s Reel” has been picked up and licensed to be in a commercial for Kyoti Tractors both in the USA and in Canada!!

According to CDBaby the contains…..

Modern stories of our times, set to deft fingerstyle blues picking with roots-rock overtones. The early 70s laid back feel of CSNY sneaks its way into Shain’s usually bluesier palette on this release. Fans of The Band and John Hiatt will love this one.

Like many other musicians who are masters of their instruments according to his website. When Shain is not recording or performing, he stays busy giving private instruction in Piedmont blues fingerstyle guitar, and teaching group workshops in songwriting and blues guitar.

Here’s another track that I really enjoyed again from CDBaby:

“Level It Out ” -  Layers of acoustic guitars and mandolin make a nuanced bed for this call for moderation. Hard-fought Buddhist-leaning folk wisdom here. Read More

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Piedmont Blues: Cephas & Wiggins

So since I don’t seem to have the time and/or the inclination to write long involved posts right now, what I may due is to start writing shorter little pieces in between the rarer longer posts! So here’s the first album quick hit! One of the blues albums that I’ve been listening to for the last several weeks is the last album from Cephas & Wiggins Baltimore Blues recorded and released in 2008 by Smithsonian Folkways prior to John Cephas death in 2009 at the age of 78.

Cephas & Wiggins was composed of guitarist John Cephas  and harmonica player Phil Wiggins  They were known for traditional blues style known as the Piedmont blues. One of my favorites duos Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry also are practitioners of Piedmont Blues. and Cephas & Wiggins play it just as well! Cephas and Wiggins released a total of 13 albums many on Flying Fish and Alligator Records. The album is chock full of good fingerpicking guitar and some outstanding blues harp.

So if you enjoy the Piedmont Blues check them out! My regret is that I didn’t listen sooner! But I’ll be checking out their catalog!

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