MERICANA GAZETT E A 2010 • August/September
Feature Story: Eric Brace Mark Chesnutt Peter Cooper & Lloyd Green Phil Lee & Tom Mason Andy Anderson Six Shooter Records Nora Jane Struthers Fanny’s Edtronics Lane’s Lutherie Good N Loud Music The Majestic - Scott Leslie Special WISCONSIN Section
AMERICANA GAZETTE Greetings: Where has the summer gone? School will be starting again real soon. The summer has been fun filled with many local festivals and some great entertainment, both locally and from Nashville. I hope you had an opportunity to get out and check some of this talent. On a personal note I am so glad our home remodeling is coming to an end. Now, I did just have my eyes tested and have since acquired a new pair of glasses, but I still managed to trip over a pile of stacked pavers that had been sitting on our patio for a couple of weeks. I told Andy those pavers needed to be moved or ‘SOMEONE’ would trip on them!!! Yes it was me, nothing was broken in the fall except my pride. Our employee Rob happened to be in the studio and looking out the patio window as I made my graceful fall. Thank you Rob for coming to my aide. I know he was trying not to laugh as he helped me to my feet. And if that wasn’t bad enough, I thought I would do some last minute painting before our friends, Phil lee and Tom Mason arrived from Nashville. Well, I was up on the ladder trying to paint the new addition, gallon of paint in my hand. As I stepped off the ladder I stepped onto the handle extension and you can probably picture the rest. The gallon of paint went flying as I fell to the ground. All of a sudden when the noise ceased from the ladder falling, my yelling and paint splattering everywhere, I heard Andy yell from inside the garage – “Now what, can you ever do anything without causing me any more work?” As I tried to scrub the paint off the patio floor, I promised Andy I would never paint again. “Thank God” he replied! Although a white patio floor would like nice!!! Thank you to all who helped with this remodeling project. The new studio is beautiful and the breezeway to the house is great. No more ice chunks on Andy’s head this winter! Andy and I will be heading south to Nashville the first part of September to attend the Americana Music Conference. We hope to be able to share some interesting information with you on some of your favorite artists. And I can’t wait to meet little Baker Wiley Cooper, Peter and Charlotte’s little fellow. And of course I will remember dog treats for Russell and Loretta, their little miniature dachshunds. Till next time….. Joyce Ziehli Publisher
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Americana Gazette TABLE OF CONTENTS FEATURE STORY 8 Eric Brace
WHERE TO LOOK: 3
Litt DuBay’s Rant
Women In The Round Nora Jane Struthers
hold 50+ people, so we are hoping for our largest group ever! Please contact Gerry Grothues, 608-4386180 or Beth Kille, 608-206-6813 NSAI Regional Chapter Coordinators, Madison, Wisconsin http://www.myspace.com/nsaimadisonchapter for details.
The Fat Cat Coffee Works in New Glarus and the Americana Gazette are hosting the“Party on the Patio“concert series on Sundays at the Fat Cat from 11:00 a.m until 1:00 p.m every Sunday throughout August. Slated to play are Marc Barnaby -August 1st, Matt Belknap - August 8th, Anderson Brothers- August 15th, Bathtub Mothers- August 22nd, and Amber Skies -August 29th. These are all no admission events and open to the public.
Thursday,August 26, 2010 Dan Baird and Warner Hodges from Nashville will be guests at the Sugar River Songwriters get together at Sugar River Studios, 313 East Church Street in Belleville to help local songwriters. The Baird wrote “Keep your hands to yourself” and fronted the Georgia Satellites, and Hodges is the lead guitar player for Jason and the Scorchers. Today both are members of Dan Baird and Homemade Sin. Sitting is limited so if you would like to attend please email email@example.com to make a reservation. Local Songwriter Beth Kille facilitates this event.
Cheese Days in Monroe will be held on September 17th, 18th, and 19th with lots of cheese, beer, live music, and fun. Check the Monroe Cheese Days website for more info. September 24th, 25th and 26th 2010 is October Fest in New Glarus. Lots of Beer, pretzels. and brats along with some great music including the Raindogs on Saturday afternoon, and Amber Skies and Eric Nofsinger on Sunday afternoon. Other activities in Downtown New Glarus include Live Music, Great Food, Big Cheese Fondue Pot, Wagon Rides, Chainsaw Carving and plenty of family fun!
Dan Baird and Homemade Sin will be playing Friday August 27, 2010 at the Dry Bean in Madison. They will also be playing at Knute’s in Orfordville on Saturday the 28th.
10 CD Review 12 A Pet Note 12 The Majestic - Scott Leslie 13 Aaron’s Anecdotes 14 Peter Cooper 15 Mary Chapin Carpenter 16 Phil Lee & Tom Mason 18 Wisconsin Music & Art 22 3 for 1 23 Old Town Hall 24 Brace, Cooper, and Tom T. Hall 24 Andy Anderson 25 Kathy Mattea
The Pec Jam will be held on Saturday August 28th in McKellar Park in Blanchardville. Check the page of this edition of the Americana Gazette for times and details. The details for the next Madison NSAI chapter special event have been announced. George Teren will be here to do an all-day workshop on Saturday,October 2nd! The workshop will take place at Ward-Brodt Music Mall, located at 2200 W. Beltline Hwy, in Madison. George will also headline a writer’s night at the Brink Lounge in Madison the night before! George is an amazing songwriter who has had numerous hit songs with artists like Brad Paisley, Trace Adkins, Tim McGraw, Lori Morgan, Neal McCoy,Tracy Byrd, Blake Shelton, Gary Allan, and Chuck Wicks. He is also a big supporter of NSAI, performing at NSAI events,teaching workshops,and serving as a member of the board of directors. George will discuss his journey as a songwriter, and his approach to songwriting. He'll cover a number of topics, including the ones submitted by our members when we asked for specific subjects from all of you a couple months ago. George will not be doing one-on-one appointments, but he will be giving feedback on randomly selected songs submitted by our writers during the workshop. Lunch will be provided in the cost of the workshop. It is going to be a great event, and we hope to see you there. The venue we are holding the workshop will comfortably
15% DISCOUNT On your first recording project! 313 East Church Street • Belleville, WI 53508
25 Marty Stuart 26 Journey - Part 2 27 Mother’s Love 28 Six Shooter Records 29 Fanny’s House of Music 30 Robert’s Ramblings
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by Litt DuBay
“old”stars of rap and pop music? Say no more! Wake up America. Country music is not what is being played today on the radio. Its rock & roll and the worst kind of rock & roll. Take back country music. Stop buying that crap that is being played! Hit them in the pocket book!
Well hi ya’ll. It’s hotter than Lindsay Lohan’s ankle bracelet at a wine tasting party! I’m sweating in places I forgot I had and can’t reach to dry off! I hate Wisconsin in July. Mosquito’s, humidity, flatlanders, and bathing suits that should be kept in the drawers, not worn like drawers! Let’s see who we can talk about this issue, oh I know Mel Gibson. Any man that hits a woman deserves to be horse whipped! Come on you Aussie girl hitting, foster beer drinken, road warrior used to be, grow up and be a man. If you don’t learn to keep your mouth shut pretty soon you won’t have anyone to diss but yourself. I see RIAA is under fire for paying top boss Mitch Bainwol over $2 million in 2008. I guess you can do that when you shake down college kids for down loading tunes. It’s justified because he works so hard - I bet surfing the web looking for those dangerous pirate down loaders.
To all of you attending the Americana Music Conference in Nashville in September say hi to the Ziehli’s for me. Cheap SOB’s won’t take the staff to the event. Says it cost too much money. Hell they can build the longest house in town but not take any of us with them. That’s okay we’ll have fun here in cold Wisconsin without them. Let’s talk about leadership. Now I’m a born leader. Where I go people follow. I know this for a fact because when I blaze a trail through the snow people always follow in my foot steps. Now here where we live there is no leadership of any kind. Just follow the donkey in front of you. The towns torn up, the use to be lake is full of lettuce and such,and there is absolutely no way to get from the east side of town to the west in a straight line. Businesses are blocked off and I can’t get to the tavern! Our fearless leader never takes a vote or stands on any issue, no one polices the contractors doing the work, and I can’t get to the tavern! Well it’s too hot to bitch and moan anymore. Have a great late summer and early fall. If you can’t beat um, call Mel Gibson he seems to have no problem hitting people.
We are a regional advocacy, technical assistance and networking program for all types of creative entrepreneurs – including visual artists, composers, musicians, writers, actors, dancers, and choreographers. We connect artists and arts leaders throughout southwest Wisconsin. :H DGYRFDWH IRU WKH DUWV :H GHOLYHU ZRUNVKRSV DQG HGXFDWLRQDO offerings on entrepreneurial skill topics :H IRVWHU FRPPXQLFDWLRQ DPRQJ artists and arts groups via email updates containing information about grants, workshops, and opportunities. 2XU RQOLQH GLUHFWRU\ RI DUWLVWV KHOSV creative entrepreneurs increase their visibility. $UWV%XLOG LV FRPSOHWHO\ IUHH WR MRLQ
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Litt Dubay, not a Frenchman!
I see Carrie Underwood got married. No comment. I can’t believe the new stars of “Country Music” Uncle Kracker, Kid Rock, did I say country? Aren’t they the
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Struthers explains,“The turning point came when I was going down to fiddlers conventions with my dad in the South.The two big ones are the Galax Old Time Fiddlers Convention in Virginia, which is one of the oldest anywhere, and the Mount Airy Fiddlers Convention in North Carolina.The bluegrass community that I found at those conventions was very supportive.” She adds,“That’s where I met the first person I ever knew who was a professional musician. I said,‘Oh, what do you do for a living?’‘I play music.’‘Really, you can do that?’ I didn’t know any professional musicians growing up. I thought that was something that rock stars do.”
Nora Jane Struthers “Classic Americana” In late June, Kissy Black and Elaine Erteschik from Lotos Nile Media in Nashville sent me a copy of Nora Jane’s new CD that was released on June 22nd. I was very impressed and asked for an interview with Nora Jane. Nora Jane Struthers calls her music “Classic Americana.” Struthers is an artist of distinction,a trailblazer rooted in tradition. I pulled some background information from her website along with some info from Kissy and Elaine. “Nora Jane Struthers”, produced by industry stalwart Brent Truitt (Dolly Parton, Alison Krauss, Dixie Chicks) at his East Nashville studio is the product of Struthers' experience, passion, knowledge and authenticity. Each song, intricately infused with strokes of bluegrass, Celtic, gospel, old time and folk, tells a story, and Struthers' lyrics depict times of heartbreak and patriarchy, of nostalgia and hope. Nora Jane Struthers features eleven elegantly crafted songs penned by Struthers, plus a rendition of the traditional “Say Darlin’ Say.” The numbers run the gamut from the stunning “Willie” (a reconsideration of the murder ballad, sung from the victim’s point of view) and the novelistic “Evelyn” and “Greenbrier County” to “Cowgirl Yodel #3,” a romping melding of Jimmie Rodgers and Western swing, and the timely“One Notch Tighter.” Struthers performs her material with a voice as pretty and homespun as the vintage dresses she favors on stage. Her accompanists on the album include acclaimed singer/multi-instrumentalist Tim O’Brien, all-star fiddler Stuart Duncan, award-winning dobro player Rob Ickes, top bluegrass guitarist Bryan Sutton, banjo ace Scott Vestal, veteran bassist Dennis Crouch, and, on backing vocals, do-anything performer Shawn Lane. Truitt contributes mandolin and octave mandolin. The 26-year-old vocalist, a full-time teacher of high school English before making a professional leap into music with a move to Nashville in 2008, is now singing songs as enduring as the tales she once taught her students. Her songs sound as if they’ve been passed down from generation to generation, and her authenticity is majesw w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
As she plotted her relocation to Nashville, Struthers and her father,under the name Dirt Road Sweetheart, cut a duo album, I Heard the Bluebirds Sing, in July 2008 at the Leesburg, Virginia, studio of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s Lee Thompson.The collection included a handful of originals and versions of songs originated by such artists as Western music pioneer Patsy Montana and Americana singer-songwriter Gillian Welch, a performer whose music has left its mark on Struthers’ style.
tic, a rarity even. Struthers is stunning and put together, the very way proud mid-Century women carried themselves once upon a time. “It’s not really bluegrass, it’s not really old time, it’s not folk – it’s all of these things,” Struthers says.“In my last year of teaching, we were reading Jane Austen, Shakespeare, classic English literature. The themes in those works and in the music I was listening to – Doc Watson, the Louvin Brothers,Tim O’Brien – came together for me.The universal themes that have been pervasive in storytelling started to develop in my writing. I turned to story-songs.” She comes by her affinity for traditional American styles naturally. Born in Virginia and raised in New Jersey, Struthers grew up singing with her father Alan, a veteran of a Minneapolis bluegrass band who wrote a novel about country-rock titan Gram Parsons as his doctoral thesis in American studies. “That’s how folk music and traditional music have been passed down forever – playing and singing with family memb e r s , ” Struthers notes.
“It’s a really honest record,” Struthers says.“It’s just my dad playing banjo and singing and me playing guitar and singing. We did it live with no overdubs. It’s bare bones.We wanted it to literally be a record of what we sounded like at the time.” After a drive from New York to Nashville in her 1998 Honda Odyssey minivan the month after the recording of I Heard the Bluebirds Sing,Struthers began hitting the city’s fertile music scene and creating a support system in her new home base. Fate pushed her to her producerto-be. She recalls,“I had three different friends – two of whom I knew before I moved out there, and one of whom I met when I was there.They didn’t know each other, but each of them told me I needed to make my record at Brent Truitt’s studio in East Nashville.” In live performance, Struthers has already received recognition as one of the top up-and-coming voices on the Americana scene. She won the neo-traditional band competition at West Virginia’s Appalachian String Band Festival. As winners of
Trained classically as a teenager, she started writing her own songs in high school, and began her performing career while she was a student at New York University, playing in a folk-rock style at such venues as CBGBs and the Cutting Room. Graduating from NYU’s Steinhart School of Education, she taught at a charter school in Williamsburg, in New York’s Brooklyn borough, but the musical itch still wanted scratching. continued on page 17
MARK CHESNUTT talks about his music career and his new cd release “OUTLAW” Recently I had the opportunity to interview honky tonk artist, Mark Chesnutt from Beaumont,Texas. I pulled some information from his website to give you a little background about him, along with some info supplied by Kat Atwood at Music City News Media and Publishing. Mark Chesnutt got his start in the honky-tonks of Beaumont,Texas, learning from his father, Bob Chesnutt, a singer, record collector, and major fan of classic country music. Playing alongside his dad, Mark embraced his father’s influence one set at a time and to begin making a name for himself. Mark sang covers by Lefty Frizzell, Merle Haggard, George Jones and Waylon Jennings to develop his unmatched crowd-pleasing rapport and his authentic country style. Bob Chesnutt often traveled to Nashville to record and to broaden his exposure. After nearly a decade of recording on regional labels, word got out about this young country vocalist. Music Row executives came to hear Mark on his own Texas turf and recognized the depth of Mark Chesnutt’s raw talent. In 1989, he was signed to MCA Nashville and his list of accolades tells the rest of his story.With the release of his first single “Too Cold At Home,” Mark established himself as one of country’s most authentic and talented vocalists. He won the CMA Horizon Award attracting the attention of country legend [and Mark’s greatest mentor] George Jones, who introduced him as “A boy from Beaumont,Texas who is the real deal.”That recognition and initial success opened the door to offer Mark his chance of a lifetime,to do what he loved most—sing country music for country fans; this time, on a national level.”The first couple years it was non-stop,”Mark says.“I can remember one time during a tour, I didn’t step foot on the front porch for ten months, with exception of a day or a day-and-a half, then, it was right back out again.” Fans, he confides,“are the reason for my success.”His fans helped his records to climb the charts one right after the other making him one of Billboard’s Ten Most-Played Radio Artists of the ‘90’s. Mark’s singles were some of the decade’s most memorable; from the fun tempo “Bubba Shot The Jukebox” to emotional ballad “I’ll Think Of Something.” Mark is easily identified for his string of hits including “Brother Jukebox,”“Blame It On Texas,”“Old Flames Have New Names,”“Old Country,” “It Sure Is Monday,”“Almost Goodbye,”“I Just WantedYouTo Know,”“GoingThroughThe Big D,”“It’s A Little Too Late,”“Gonna Get A Life,” and one of his biggest,“I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing;” a song that held its position at the top of the charts for four consecutive weeks. Of all the recorded highlights Chesnutt has enjoyed, they take a back seat to his first love; Mark Chesnutt lives to perform on stage.“I just make records because I want people to come see my show,” he says with a grin.“Recording music for folks to just listen to music is great,” he says,“but I’ve got to be out there on stage making it.” Fans who have seen him perform agree. Known as one of the industry’s hardest-working concert performers, maintaining a hefty tour schedule and steady presence in front of his fans, Mark’s dedication to deliver live music is unsurpassed.Mark has been on the road since 1990.Whether you hear Mark Chesnutt with a new release on the radio, or see his face on the cover of a new CD, folks can always find Mark doing what he was born to do, playing. Twenty years later, Mark Chesnutt carries the torch in the footsteps of George Jones and Waylon Jennings to bring music from the Texas honky-tonks right to the country music fan’s door with his latest CD release,OUTLAW (Saguaro Road Records).OUTLAW features re-recordings of some of Chesnutt’s personal heroes and life-long friends, including Shaver, Kristofferson,Willie and Waylon.The product of producer Pete Anderson (Dwight Yoakam/Michelle Shocked/Tanya Tucker), OUTLAW is a true-denim-blue Mark Chesnutt branded musical composition.
A first-time endeavor with producer Pete Anderson, Mark admits he’s been a personal fan of Anderson.“All the guitar players I knew wanted to be Pete Anderson! It’s still hard to believe I got to record an album with him.We made our record the old-fashioned way. I showed up late at night and we’d work all night until the songs were recorded or the beer was gone.” Mark and I visited for awhile and this is what he had to share about his career, new CD and his future. Joyce: Hi Mark. Let’s start out by you filling me in on a little about your childhood growing up in Beaumont,Texas. Mark: Beaumont,Texas was a real small town when I was growing up in it. We had a lot of music venues around there and a lot of honky tonks. George Jones had come from here and Janis Joplin came from this area. A lot of music was going on. My daddy was part of all this. He loved Hank Williams and Lefty Frizzell, this was his kind of music. He was always singing and playing with these guys and writing songs. My mother was always playing her rock and roll records, like Fats Domino, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis; my brother (5 years older than me) was always playing the ’70’s rock band stuff, like ZZ Top. I was always just taking all that in. I got exposed to all that kind of music, so to this day it still influences me. My parents would go out dancing, music has always been a real important part of the culture here. Joyce: At age 17, you started going to Nashville to record. What was this like? Mark: I started going to Nashville by myself in the w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
early ‘80’s. I was working in the clubs around here and saving money. Then I would go to Nashville to see who I could see, plus I knew a couple of daddy’s old friends that he was dealing with. I would hang around for a week or two,depending on how much money I had. I’d sing around the clubs and I met some really helpful people at that time. I’d come home and work in the clubs, save more money, then go back out there. I did meet some song writers, and I’d come back home and record their songs on Texas labels. My daddy was paying for the records to be recorded and put out here. I think I had eight singles from two different independent labels here in Houston and San Antonio. Joyce: Do you write songs? Mark: I’ve co-written several songs with Roger Springer. As soon as I got into this business and signed with MCA,they immediately started putting me with other writers,trying to get me to write. If I’d been smart and know what I know now, I would have spent more time and put more effort into that. I just wanted to sing, I didn’t have the writing talent, but I could have developed it if I’d really stuck with it. I didn’t get along with some of the other writers they put me with. They weren’t my kind of people. They were too serious about it. They teamed me up with Roger Springer. We hit it off. We loved the same old traditional country music so we co-wrote together. He traveled with me on the road. I recorded a lot of those songs.We had a lot of big hits. George Strait recorded one of our songs. That’s pretty much the extent of my songwriting. Roger moved back to Oklahoma for awhile. Recently I have been in touch with him and he is back in Nashville writing again.
ally lucky to have been on the TV show with him and Willie Nelson. We did the show together and I sang with Willie, of course, who hasn’t sung with Willie? Joyce: Mark, are you nervous to have these people hear your songs? Mark: When I was on the Waylon Jennings and Friends TV Show,Waylon, Kris, John Anderson and me, we all sang together,“Me and Bobby McGee”. I had never sung this song and it was real interesting to stand there and sing right next to Kris Kristofferson, knowing he knew everyone in the business. He’d been around so long and he was real nice to me. This was at a time before we had those little ear monitors, we had the big old black monitors on the floor. I couldn’t get my monitor to work right when we were taping the show and I kind of blew up and used some words that I shouldn’t have and Kris put his arm on my leg and said,“I knew I was going to like you”. (We both laughed.) I’m real anxious to see what they think, and I want them all to hear what I did with their music and see if they approve. I hope they like it. The first thing I thought of was I hope nobody says it sucks. I have sung with George Jones on Crook and Chase shows. He is real nice. Once you sing with George, you’ve sung with the boss. I had the best old times with George. I toured with him and we would sit on the bus for hours and jam. These are the greatest memories in life. I toured with Conway Twitty too and I couldn’t believe I was getting paid to do this. After I would open up their shows, I would sit on the side of the stage and have to pinch myself. I couldn’t really believe I was really there. These memories are better than any award I could ever receive.
Joyce: Do you play any other instruments besides the guitar?
Joyce: Future goals, what will Mark Chesnutt be doing?
Mark: Yea, I play drums. Drums were my first instrument. I started playing them when I was about three years old. When I was a teenager I wanted to be a rock star. I wanted to play drums in a rock and roll band. At the same time I loved country music, so I was kind of torn between the two. My daddy said I don’t think you can be a country singer and play the drums? My heart was into singing, so that’s the route I took.
Mark: I’m going to keep doing what I do. No plans for a new CD as of now, but last year at this time I didn’t have any plans either. Something always comes up. We are always going to tour as long as we are physically able. I’ll be on the road, with or without a hit, with or without a record deal – I’ll be on the road doing what I do. Joyce: If you had the opportunity to perform with anyone, whom would you pick?
Joyce: Let’s talk about your new CD,“Outlaw”. You did a CD of cover tunes. How did you decide on these particular 12 songs? Mark: It was real hard. These are songs I loved since I was a little kid. Everyone had their own choices, my manager, producer, they all wanted to pick, people from the label, they all had their own lists. What Pete Anderson and I finally did was that we sat down, each with our own acoustic guitar and we started going over the list. I was singing them, so the songs that really fit my voice and I could identify with, and what sounded the best is what we ended up recording. We could have had 50 songs on this CD. I was trying to narrow it down without leaving any essential outlaw songs out. The ones we have, really captured the time period. Joyce: You picked a couple of my very favorites, Kris Kristofferson’s “Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down” I just love. Mark: Kris Kristofferson's are some of my favorites as well. I never sang them before I recorded them. I always loved them, but never considered them my style. Joyce: Have you ever met any of these people whose songs you recorded? Mark: I have met everyone that their song is on the album. I’ve been fortunate enough to hang out with them. I met Kris Kristofferson a couple of times on the Waylon Jennings and Friends TV Show. Waylon and I were friends. I was rew w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
Mark: I would love to sing a duet with George Strait. He’s a huge influence on my music. If you were born after 1981, George has definitely been an influence on you. I toured with him, but never had the chance to sing with him. Joyce: Before I let you go, on a personal note, what do you like to do besides fishing and hunting to relax when you are off the road? Mark: I like to cook. Joyce: Are you a good cook? Mark: Yea, I’m a good cook. I do the outside cooking. I have a grill and a big BBQ pit. I have to pull it around with my 4 wheeler. (He laughs.) It’s heavy and big. I love to cook all kinds of meat and seafood. I live here in crawfish country. We have big crawfish boils. Joyce: Are they good? We don’t have them here in Wisconsin. Mark: (He laughs) No, you wouldn’t in Wisconsin. Yea, they are really good. You’d have to come down here,February till July 4th,that is crawfish season here in Texas. We also have Blue Crab BBQ’s. We really don’t BBQ them, it is just the seasonings. They are actually deep fried. Living on the coast, we have lots of great seafood. You should come down and try some!!! Joyce: Good luck on your new CD,“Outlaw”. Thank you so much for the interview. Listed below is the track from his new CD: 1. Black Rose 2. Whisky Bent & Hell Bound 3. Only Daddy That'll Walk The Line 4. A Couple More Years (Duet With Amber Digby) 5. Need A Little Time Off For Bad Behavior 6. Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down 7. Are You Ready For The Country 8. Lovin' Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again) 9. Country State of Mind 10. Freedom to Stay 11. Bloody Mary Morning 12. Desperados Waiting for a Train This CD would make a great addition to your collection. Check out Mark Chesnutt at www.markchesnutt.com . Story by: Joyce Ziehli Information from Mark Chesnutt website and Music City News Media and Publishing. Photos supplied.
ric Brace has appeared in these pages many times before, as record label executive, guest journalist, live concert review, CD review, and as a duo partner with Peter Cooper. Never though have we done a story on Eric Brace the songwriter and band leader of the highly successful Americana Band “Last Train Home”. Brace is also the author of a musical (to come out in 2011) about the California Gold Rush. One of the nicest, friendliest entertainers you will ever meet. Brace has played all over the world and as you read this, he is just getting back from a month long concert tour of the British Isles, Spain, and Norway playing festivals and concerts. He was a music journalist for the Washington Post and top musician in the Washington D.C. music scene for many years. His record label Red Beet Records is very successful in the indie market and on the Americana Charts. Most of all Eric Brace is a wonderfully friendly person who loves making music! I have talked with Brace at length in the past about his label and his partnership with Cooper but never about his past and songwriting so we got together and spent some time to do so. I broke Brace away from a recording session at Tom T. Hall’s studio where he, Hall, Cooper, Bobby Bare, Patty Griffin, Buddy Miller and others are recording Hall’s classic album Songs from Fox Hollow a wonderful children’s collection that was released in the 1970’s. Brace is re-
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leasing this CD on Red Beet Records. The Country Music Hall of Fame is interested in co-releasing it. AG: Eric how are things at the Hall’s? Brace: The weather is great and the peacocks are flying around!
Something Rodney Crowell told me once when I was interviewing him for the Washington Post has always stuck with me. I had said to him “you were following in some pretty big footsteps play-
AG: How’s the recording going? Brace: Just great! Bobby Bare was here this morning. It’s been just amazing how many great artists and people want to help out and record this CD. Brace: You guys had Phil Lee and Tom Mason up there this week.
Brace: I have traveled with both of them and its non-stop laughter. They are a hoot!
Brace: I did not. I studied Political Science and French of all things. My dad was French and I thought hey I can do this. I had lived in France for a few years as a kid, and I could speak the language so I thought this should not be too hard. I thought I was going to work for some big international organization doing development projects to help change the world. I soon realized that I did not know what I was talking about in that world. I was home for a holiday break and my folks had a friend over who did development work. His name was Erik Eckholm who had written a book about deserts and irrigation and Africa. I realized I had used him as a footnote in a paper I had written. I did not have any idea that my parents even knew him. I told him about the paper and my desire to do that kind of work or play music. I couldn’t make up my mind and maybe he could give me some advice. He just said “play music. It’s way more fun, you’re acutely affecting the world, and the people that are pretending that they are changing the world aren’t really doing a damn thing!” He then said” I wish I played an instrument!” I looked at my parents and they rolled their eyes and went oh oh. This is no good.
AG: Let’s talk about Eric Brace the musician. How did that come about? Brace: Probably by listening to Burl Ives and Peter, Paul, and Mary as a kid and thinking that sounds cool. I want to belong to that club! I had some piano lessons as a kid and listening to the Beatles just helped to make me fall in love with music. I had a friend who had a guitar and said “why don’t you learn to play guitar and we can have a band!” I didn’t immediately take to the guitar but I kept on just strumming it and learning basic open chords. I could strum along to bluegrass players. Even that started the trend for me to surround myself with better musicians. I knew I could sing a little but playing with better musicians than myself made me want to get better and kept me practicing. I knew I was not going to become the next super picker, but I knew I was getting better everyday making music.
From this bluegrass scene I started digging more in to Country and Country Rock. I discovered the Byrds and Dylan. In College I got into Punk Rock. I thought hey I can write songs like this and started writing. After college my brother and I put together a kind of new wave band, I was playing bass. I wasn’t very good at it though, but I loved singing. I never thought at any time that I would ever be famous or be able to play music for a living. It was just a lot of fun to play. I didn’t really start writing songs seriously until my late 20’s. I knew I wasn’t going to be a great guitar player or the world’s greatest singer, so I decided maybe I should just write songs of my own. w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
Brace: I figured I could write a few songs, put out an album every year or two, and play locally and have a lot of fun. I was still writing for the Post so I had income. Playing was about creating music and having fun. In the beginning I did not have a plan to be “big time” at all. After a few months I started thinking about playing more because it was such fun and were getting popular around D.C. I started thinking more and more about trying to make a living playing and writing music fulltime. In 2003, I quit my job, and the next year I moved to Nashville. AG: You were a writer for the Washington Post. Did you go to college for Journalism?
AG: Yes we did. All we did was laugh. They are so funny! We had a blast.
At that time I also started listening to great songwriters like Paul Simon, the Beatles, and James Taylor. I then started getting into bluegrass more and more. As a teenager I would go see the Seldom Scene and hear John Starling and John Duffy sing. Mike Aldridge played Dobro for them too. It was a great learning tool to watch and hear them. The most important thing I learned from them was the ability to put on a show. They always put on a great show. It was spectacular! They made you feel good to be alive! I thought this is it!
AG: What was your plan at this point in your career?
ing with Emmylou Harris following Gram Parsons, how did you handle that?” Crowell said “you know I was hanging around with Guy Clark, Steve Earle, and Townes Van Zandt all trying to write the next big song or trying to be Dylan. I just had to stop competing and write songs that could only be written by me, and my own singular perspective.” I thought that’s some pretty good advice, so I started writing songs for me. It was the late 90’s I was in my 30’s and I thought I have to start doing something for me. So then I started writing and working on my stuff instead of playing other people’s music. I put together a band and started recording and I had written a song called Last Train Home and thought that’s a cool name for a band. That was in 1997 and I figured hey I can do this, and here we are today.
When I was going to college in Boston I heard a guy in my dorm playing banjo. I went up to him said “hey I play guitar and I know a bunch of bluegrass songs.”; so we got together and started a bluegrass that played all over campus. I had to learn the whole bluegrass canon so it was a great experience. It was there I started to play live. AG: Did your parents play music? Brace: My father played a chromatic harmonica. He was really good. My mother played a little bit of classical guitar. There was always singing and music being played and listened to around the house. My brother, sister, and I still have music with us. AG: How did Last Train Home become such a big act in D.C. and the East Coast? continued on page 35
The Bluegrass Soul Pickers ♪♪♪♪ If I ever get home Style: Bluegrass • Blue Circle Records The Bluegrass Soul Pickers are a five piece bluegrass band from Hazel Green, AL.They began in September of 2003. Members of the band include Shane Norman (vocals and mandolin), Lorne Wilde (upright bass), Buddy Mason (vocals/guitar), Wayne Clemons (Harmony vocals and Arch Top Guitar), and Weston Stewart (vocals and banjo).
The CD kicks off with Long Lonesome Road, a lively foot stomping tune about cheating. It is a wonderful song written by lead vocalist and guitar player Buddy Mason. Mason wrote five of the 14 songs recorded here. Miss Dixie and Tom T. Hall co-wrote two others and Tom T. wrote a third song solo. The other songs include songs by Max.T. Barnes, Shawn Lane, Steve Amadee, and Dave Loggins. Mason is an excellent writer. His songs are well put together and thought out. My favorite cut on the CD is if I ever get home the title cut. The harmony is especially good on this song. My next favorite cut is their cover of Dave Loggins Please come to Boston. I found the banjo extremely well used as a background instrument, which is a nice change in a Bluegrass tune. Don’t get me wrong I love the banjo. It’s just nice to hear it as an accompanist instrument and sparsely used as lead instrument until the second break. It is used almost like a classical guitar. The final song is Tom T.’s Another Town which is a fast paced traveling song which I love. The instrument breaks are mighty fine! Tom .T’s lyrical style and the Bluegrass Soul Pickers interpretation of it, is sure to make it a must learn for other Bluegrass Bands. The production of this CD is flawless. The Bluegrass Soul Pickers and Miss Dixie deserve a huge pat on the back for creating such a wonderful CD. It gets five notes from me! If you love traditional Bluegrass and hot pickin If I ever get home is the CD for you! Written by:Andy Ziehli
Justin Rutledge ♪♪♪♪♪ • The Early Widows Style: Folk / Americana • Six Shooter Records I can only remember a few other CD’s I have reviewed over the past two years where the “wow” factor hit me as hard as Justin Rutledge’s new CD The Early Widows. This is one hell of a CD!!! There is not a song on this CD that I did not like immediately. I first heard Rutledge at the Station Inn in Nashville in September of 2008 at the Americana Music Conference. His delivery and super mellow stage presence was a stark contrast to the performers before and after him. There was something about his songs that really touched me especially To Sober to Drink which is one of my top ten favorite songs. His fourth outing is more“up tempo”compared to his other three which is very positive. Now that’s not to say that it is a rocker because it is not. As Rutledge says he plays two kinds of songs,“slow and slower.” This time though he adds a third speed, midtempo which really shows his skills as a writer and performer. The songs in this collection are beautifully written mini-novels. You can shut your eyes and be taken to places in your own heart and soul, good and bad, that you forgot you even had. There is no standout cut on this CD, they are all standouts! Did I say how much I loved this CD? Rutledge and Six Shooter have put together one of the best CD’s you will hear this year! This CD is a great listen for a long drive or reflection time. The songs are not all happy songs or love songs. Rutledge tackles some heavy topics including alcohol abuse, migration from the city, and spiritual hibernation. The Early Widows is a collection of songs that should make Rutledge a force to be reckoned with in the US, like he is in his native Canada. Buy this CD. Give it an honest listen. You won’t be sorry!!! Review by:Andy Ziehli
Kevin Welch ♪♪♪♪♪ • Patch of Blue Sky Style: Folk / Americana • Music Road Records Something must have been in the air the last part of 2009 and first months of 2010 because the CD’s that keep coming across my desk are the best I’ve heard in years. This is not to say that past CD’s were not good, on the contrary it means that people are making great music again and it’s all coming from Indie labels and “over the hill” performers according to the new Nashville standards. Kevin Welch’s new CD Patch of Blue Sky is incredible, and the best example of what I just stated! Now I have every Kevin Welch CD, LP, and tape he ever released, and let me tell you I don’t know how he got better than he already was, but he did! This CD is a wonderfully written, recorded, and produced piece of art! The 10 songs recorded here at Cherokee Creek Studios and Cedar Creek Studios are the best recorded tracks I have heard in a very long time. The CD kicks off with Come a rain with a bluesy swampy tune that grabs you and won’t let go. Its opening line will surely get the attention of the moral right wing. Andaman Sea and Marysville are both exceptionally written songs in the familiar vane that Welch writes in. There is nothing wrong with that, in fact if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! The real show stopper of the CD is the title cut A Patch of Blue Sky which in my words is the best song Welch has written. The production on this cut is the best I have ever heard. This CD is a great place to start if you are not familiar with Welch. I rate it even with Life down here on Earth which is my favorite Kevin Welch CD. After you check this out go hunting for his earlier work and you will become a Kevin Welch fan for Life. Reviewed by:Andy Ziehli
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Amelia Curran ♪♪♪♪♪ Hunter Hunter
Jim Lauderdale ♪♪♪♪ Patchwork River
The Beauties ♪♪♪♪ The Beauties
Style: Folk/Indie Rock/Americana Six ShooterRecords
Style: Americana / Rock Thirty Tigers Records
Style: Indie Rock / Americana Six ShooterRecords
Brides, was beautiful and left me speechless, and when I saw this new album for sale,Hunter Hunter,I wondered if she could top the last. Could she entrance and convince like she did with her last troupe of songs? Of course she could and no one should have doubted.
Patchwork River was my first time hearing Jim Lauderdale. The first thing that attracted me to this album was the fact that Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter had co written all the songs on the album. I always enjoy a nice road trip with a new album from an artist that I was not familiar with. So I threw the CD in the stereo, put the windows down and drove off into the country.
The dark side is a place where music lurks. It is a place where it creeps and where it slithers. This is a place that you can find inside The Beauties newest self-titled release. You wouldn’t think it though, not at first. The Beauties seem to lure you in, if by accident or design with a lighter side, but they will soon have you.
Hunter Hunter, is a wonderful blend of well, everything. With Curran, I don’t try to pinpoint the genre or catalogue in any way anymore. There is no need. All you need to do is sit back and let the poetry and music flow over you, and its poetry right from the start. Bye Bye Montreal the opening track had already convinced me by the second chorus that this album was going to be a treat. The poetry really stuck out for me on the track The Mistress. With its gypsy feeling and narrated consciousness of a soul on the edge of the cliff, Curran delivers almost four minutes of pure and uninterrupted confession. After the song had finished I quickly hit repeat just so I could absorb every line. The Company Store for some reason took me to a small smoky cafe, somewhere in the far reaches of my mind. That’s what Amelia seems to do. Her words take you places and show you how you can feel, if you want to. Tiny Glass Houses this song just made me feel plain and simple, but just wait a few minutes and Curran sweetly sing swings, and seduces with The Dozens. This is the reason why trying to tag and shelf this music is impossible. Which is why I enjoyed this album so much, I just couldn’t put my finger on it and name it. Allusive but very accessible. I very much look forward to seeing more work from Amelia, and this time there won’t be any doubts in my mind. Reviewed by: Rob Kosmeder
The title song opened the album with intensity to spare. A hard rockin’ soulful song and a perfect way to start this album. Nothing like coming out with your guns blazing.“Talk about hopes,talk about schemes,talk about salvaging some of our dreams”. The words are powerful and moving and definitely a good sign that this album won’t be a disappointing first time listen.The next song Jawbone followed up with smoothness and feeling. I found myself tapping on the side of the car door with enjoyment to this song. The next in line seemed to have an extra helping of soul and affection. I’ve come to notice that Lauderdale’s voice is full of emotion, and he seems to believe every word that he sings. That must come from writing with someone you are comfortable with, and since he has written with Hunter back in 2006 on Lauderdale’s album Headed for the Hills that comfort level was already well established. Hunter has worked with many artists since the Dead’s final days in the mid 1990’s, including David Nelson, Rob Barraco, and Bob Dylan. Hunter co-wrote with Dylan on his last album Together Through Life. For this pair Hunter and Lauderdale it works wonderfully. These two songwriters know what they are doing. No question about it! I have also come to the conclusion that this album is a good driving album. You seem to get lost in Lauderdale’s unique melodies which make time fly. Also this album has convinced me to seek out other work of his, and to definitely watch for new projects.Thanks Joyce for suggesting this one!
The opening track Fashion Blues is like I said,lighter,but in no way low-fat in flavor. It almost reminds me of a new style lighter rock and roll band, but halfway through, the song shows its fangs as it quickens tempo and snarls. Some might find this type of movement in music schizophrenic and off-putting, but I invite it. Being able to move and shift as a band the way the Beauties do just shows their talent and sense of place as a group. I think it’s great. Without You is an awesome Americana song that is catchy in the good way. I wouldn’t mind getting this one stuck in my head. Soon though, the darkness creeps in. The third track Devil Do is a pounding declaration of evil acceptance. The fourth track is a last chance to keep the darkness out, but the sadness of this ballad just lets you fall into the deepest and darkest of this album. What is it that drives this band to making this music? Is it the cold in Toronto that makes the music what it is? Well, whatever the special ingredient is, I dig it. The Beauties definitely have some sinister and perplexing moments in this album, but its all part of the trip. I enjoyed this record and experience immensely; I await the next release. Now will you take the trip? I’ve taken you to the edge, but I won’t go any further. It’s your turn to take the new band challenge. I will let you in on a little secret though. Don’t worry. It’s a soft landing. Review by: Rob Kosmeder
Review by: Rob Kosmeder
continued on page 31
Pam Tillis and Her Girls of Summer
on WSM 650's CMA Fest show Are you keeping up with Pam Tillis Online? Tune in to Pam's New Radio Show on Nashville's 650 WSM • Every Tuesday at 2:00 PM. YOU CAN LISTEN ONLINE! w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
A PET NOTE
MUSICIAN TO MUSICIAN
“COME” “SIT” “STAY”
The Majestic - Scott Leslie I was lucky enough to be able to talk with Scott Leslie, co owner of one of Madison,WI finest venues- The Majestic Theater about the current state of touring and a few other things.
These may not always be John Miller’s words as you enter the Fat Cat Coffee Works, but they are commands you may hear him use on his two yellow labs – Satchmo and Basie! John and Anne Miller are very dear friends of Andy and me, and the owners of the infamous Fat Cat Coffee Works in New Glarus,WI. They are also the proud owners of Satchmo and Basie. Many days, while Andy is enjoying a latte or mocha and visiting with John, the conversation veers off onto “you’ll never guess what my dog did last night?” As Andy shares these stories with me, (and we laugh,) I only felt it would be right to share these fascinating adventures with all of you readers. So here we go! Satchmo is a six year old yellow Labrador and Basie is a three year old yellow Labrador. Now as we all know, dogs too have their very own personalities. Satchmo, being the elder and more mature of the two seems to be a little better behaved than Basie. Satchmo is content to chase sticks, run around chasing small wilderness critters and taking long laps on a hot summer’s day in the family swimming pool. Just a typical day in the life of Satchmo; the perfect dog in every way. On the other hand, Basie is quite the opposite. Sure Basie likes to chase sticks and critters, and even take a swim as far as that goes. But Basie does indeed have another agenda all his own. Andy and I refer to this as “How did Basie try to kill you recently?” Basie has done some pretty interesting things to John in his short three years. Notice I said John and not Anne.
Scott himself was a touring musician for many years before getting into the other side of the music spectrum- owning a club. Taking over a troubled club and turning it into one of Madison’s shining beacons and showing music and entertainment when done right can thrive in a midsized town like Madison. Madison used to be a tour stop in the middle of the week for artists traveling from Chicago to the Twin Cities.The Majestic has changed that point of view and artists are now asking to come back because their experience is so positive.The perspective Scott has, along with his business partner; Matt Gerding, gives the Majestic the feeling of an artist’s den, a large room with a very intimate feel. To check out the Majestic Theater and its upcoming schedule, visit www.majesticmadison.com Aaron Williams:The Majestic brings in a very diverse pallet of entertainment.As a venue owner in a city like Madison,WI- do you create your niche or find a niche? Scott Leslie:The number one mistake venue owners (who are also their own promoters) make is being "this kind of venue." You can't succeed doing indie rock or jam bands, or blues or jazz exclusively. So the niche is not to have a niche, but present all shows and try to give different fans and artists a consistent experience.
During a car ride to visit his mother, Basie was the passenger in the back seat. John stated a little rambunctious at first, then all seemed to quiet down. John actually thought, boy Basie is being good. It wasn’t long before John realized why Basie was so quiet, he had chewed completed through John’s seat belt. Good thing John was a good driver and didn’t need to make any abrupt stops, as Basie could have been responsible for sending him through the windshield. This I believe was the first attempt on John’s life. Now on another occasion, John stepped outside his house to quickly get something, and Basie somehow managed to shut the front door, which locked upon closure. Now John was locked outside, no keys and Anne wasn’t home, and oh, did I mention it was the dead of winter in Wisconsin, the mercury was bottomed out on the thermometer. And no, John was not wearing his winter coat!!!! Brrrrr!!!!! We won’t reveal how this story ended. But John did survive!
AW:This has to be one of the most common questions when people find out you are one of the owners of the MajesticTheater,but I have to ask it anyways. What is the craziest moment you've walked into or seen in the green room since you've had the
Most recently Basie decided to dig a large hole right outside John’s shop. What a surprise that was when John stepped out, or shall I say stepped unexpectedly“down”. Good thing he didn’t break a hip or even his leg! John swears this dog is trying to give him a stroke. Notice that all these bad things happen to John. John says Basie loves Anne. Other fun deeds that Basie has done besides breaking the window in their house, includes jumping in the neighbor’s car while they stepped out to get their mail from the mailbox. Basie was maybe looking for a ride into the Fat Cat to see John and was hoping the neighbors were going that way? Another day found Basie visiting another neighbor, and maybe looking a little tougher than usual, kind of scared the neighbor continued on page 17
theater? SL:We had a gansta rapper here who wanted a bottle of grey goose which we obliged. I walked into the dressing room to try to get him on stage and witnessed one of the members of his entourage dumping the vodka into the toilet and filling it back up with continued on page 34
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Aaron’s Amusing Anecdotes
checking. My eyes get big,“there is Jonny! My idol!”He warms up his vocals by singing a song with just him and his guitar.Everyone’s mouth drops in awe.This is when I realize his manager won’t be calling his label to sign us. Any mere mortal will sound like Carl Lewis singing the national anthem next to Jonny and his guitar.This is ok; I’ll work my charm instead. We wait for about an hour while Jonny and his band work out the sound of the room.The stage crew lets us know he’s about done and we can throw our equipment on stage. Ok, this is my chance- Jonny’s walking towards me heading to the green room. I stick out my hand and say the first thing that comes to my head “sounds great!” He say’s thanks and shakes our hand and say’s “knock em dead.” Sweet! Thanks Jonny! This goes way better than the time I played with Leon Russell and walked straight into the man and almost took him out as he was walking to the stage. Luckily it was after I already played. We sound check and the room is sounding great.All set. Now we have to wait another 2 hours before the show starts. Its 5 minutes before show time.Our amps are sizzling and the crowd is buzzing.
The opening band,the supporting slot,a great opportunity, or throw me to the lions? As an up and coming musician trying to make a name for ourselves we dream of the supporting slot on a bill.We dream, we push, we beg for these spots.We usually take a huge pay cut because we believe playing in front of a huge crowd of new fans is worth more than a big pay day. However, the supporting slot can be one of the hardest shows a band will ever do. If you or your booking agent line up that magical gig- the pairing means everything or does it even matter? I’ve had the pleasure to do shows with artists ranging from Jonny Lang to The Roots to Taj Mahal. It’s amazing how different these experiences can be from show to show. I recently played a show with Jonny Lang, most people remember him as the young blues guitar slinger of the mid 90’s with a huge voice.Well,he’s a lot older and lot better these days. We were contacted by Jonny’s people to play the supporting slot in our hometown of Madison,WI.Our manager got the call and she immediately called me with the great news. This was big, it was in our home town at a beautiful theater that holds about 1200 people and they were expecting a sell out. Not to mention Jonny Lang is one of my idols. The thoughts suddenly started swirling, “will I get to meet him?” “Will I get to jam with him?”“Will his manager love us and immediately call his friend at Concord Music Group and sign us?” Of course- all those will happen! The day of the show comes and we show up at the venue.This is great- we have a roadie crew unloading our equipment from our van that is parked next to Jonny’s bus.We survey the situation and decide the trailer attached to his tour bus is about twice as big as our van. We walk up on to the stage and Jonny and his band are warming up and sound w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
I take a peak out and the theater is full.This is going to be a great night! We get a great introduction and the crowd gives out a big roar as we walk on stage. This is going to be a good night! I plug my guitar in and walk up to the mic and say hi to the crowd and suddenly silence… Oh no! This is going to be a horrible night.We can sense that opening band curse-“we gotta sit through these guys?”“When’s Jonny going to play?”The opening band mantra- you gotta earn the crowds attention. As we rip into our first track, the crowd starts to pick up.They’re feeling it.We rip off our first three songs without a break or a word to the audience.As we end the third song, I’m thinking “this is it, this is the test, we’ll find out if they like us now.” The crowd roars with approval and the 30 minutes we are giving to play go by way to fast. The night ends for us with a standing ovation (no seats in the venue). Our press kit will leave that part out. We end up signing autographs and living in the lime light for a few hours and bask in the glory of supporting one of our idols. The night ends, we pack up our gear ourselves and load it in to our van, still parked next to the giant reminder of the future. The opening band slot.We can’t wait to ride the unexpected wave and do it all over again. Written by: Aaron Williams
PETER COOPER will soon release two new
One with Eric Brace and Friends….
training at the age of 14,but already started playing professionally when he was ten years old. He graduated from Murphy High School in Mobile in 1955 and attended the University of Southern Mississippi from 1955 to 1957. He first arrived in Nashville in January of 1957 and soon found steady work as a road musician with Faron Young. He stayed with Young's band for two years and then free-lanced with well-known artists like Ferlin Husky, Hawkshaw Hawkins and Tex Ritter, in addition to playing with numerous artists (incl. Jim Reeves) on the famous Grand Ole Opry. During those months, he appeared on one George Jones side, "Too Much Water Under The Bridge" (1957) which was the only regular studio recording session he played before he started working permanently as a studio musician in April of 1964. In 1964, he began working as ex-
...and the other, “THE LLOYD GREEN ALBUM”
Well it was the beginning of July and Peter was rushing out the door to catch his flight for Europe and Spain. He was headed over there for the month to play a number of summer festivals with some of his buddies from Nashville. Before bounding off on the jet, Peter sent me a copy of his two new CD’s for our review and a little bit of background information which I will share with you. One of Peter’s new albums is called “The Lloyd Green Album.” It features some of Peter’s songs and some cover tunes. Peter says Lloyd is the "star" here, but Kim Carnes, Fayssoux McLean, Eric Brace and Rodney Crowell also appear. Peter states that Lloyd is particularly great on "Elmer,The Dancer," a song he wrote about a concertina bar in Milwaukee. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Lloyd Green, here is a little background information from a tribute website to Lloyd. Lloyd Lamar Green was born on October 4, 1937, in Leaf, Mississippi and began taking music lessons on the Hawaiian Guitar at the age of 7 under teacher Alma McCoy. He completed his musical
ecutive assistant to Roy Drusky at the newly opened SESAC office (one of the three music licensing firms). He achieved a major breakthrough in his career with the brilliantly innovative steel guitar styling on Warner Mack's No. 1 hit "The Bridge Washed Out" in 1965. From that time on, Lloyd became the number one session player in the Nashville studios, appearing on records of virtually every major country artist of the 1960's, 1970's and 1980's, like Charley Pride, Faron Young, Gene Watson, Don Williams,Tammy Wynette, Connie Smith, Crystal Gayle, Bobby Bare,Johnny Paycheck,Lynn Anderson,MelTillis,George Jones,Hank Snow, Roy Drusky, Ronnie Milsap, Ricky Skaggs and numerous others. His playing is featured on none less than 116 No. 1 Country Hits, from Del Reeves' "Girl On The Billboard" in 1965 to Alan Jackson's "Remember When" in 2004. Lloyd Green also worked with pop and Jazz artists, including J.J. Cale, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Henry Mancini and Earl Klugh, as well as with the Byrds on their seminal "Sweetheart Of The Rodeo" album in 1969. He also recorded a total of 17 instrumental albums with some songs hitting the charts, including instrumental versions of the pop tunes "I Can See Clearly Now" and "Here Comes The Sun" in the early 1970's. His enormous impact on the Nashville music business was honored several times: He received the "Most Promising Instrumentalist" award by Record continued on page 34
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An Evening with Mary Chapin Carpenter at Potawatomi Bingo Casino, MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN And what an evening it was! On July 6th Andy and I ventured to Milwaukee to the Potawatomi Casino in Milwaukee,Wisconsin. It was a warm, sunny afternoon and after dodging a few orange cones for the other Wisconsin season, (road construction), we arrived at the casino around 5:30 P.M. Believe it or not, this is the first time Andy and I have ever stepped foot inside a casino!!!! Once inside we met up with Mary Chapin Carpenter’s lead guitar player, John Jennings and enjoyed a super delicious dinner with him at the Fire Pit Sports Bar and Grill. John and I shared some awesome French fries and I drooled over his ice cream sundae!! John Jennings has long maintained a solid international reputation as a producer and multi-instrumentalist. A longtime member of Mary Chapin Carpenter’s band, with whom he's produced and recorded 11 Top Ten singles and 2 Grammy winning albums. It was great to visit with John again. Andy and I and John have been friends for many years and it is always a pleasure to chat with him when he is in the area. Jennings has also produced recordings for John Gorka, BeauSoleil, John McCutcheon, Robin and Linda Williams, Janis Ian, Catie Curtis, Jen Cass and Bill Morrisey, to name a few. His guitar playing and singing have graced recordings by the likes of Kathy Mattea, Iris Dement, George Jones and indigo girls, not to mention the ever-popular many others. We sat next to the other members of the band and John so graciously introduced them all to us. What a great group of people and so talented!!!! What a great sounding room,The Northern Lights Theatre, for such an intimate concert. Two full hours of beautiful music,hit after hit,and then a three song encore.Mary Chapin and the band played many of their songs from their earlier albums and what a treat for us older people. It was a perfect evening indeed!! For those of you unfamiliar with Mary Chapin Carpenter and her music, she has just launched a new website and you can check her out at:www.marychapincarpenter.com . Also check out John Jennings at www.johnjenningsmusic.com . I pulled Mary Chapin’s bio from her website to give you a start on your reading. Mary Chapin Carpenter offers a snapshot of her life on her latest release, the critically acclaimed The Age of Miracles, which she calls a personal exploration of regret and resilience. Written during and after her recovery from a life-threatening pulmonary embolism, Carpenter looked inward to try to answer the unavoidable question of “What Now?”The outcome is a collection of songs that blends personal tales of discovery and experience with more distant and imagined stories of one’s purpose and relationship to the universe. The Age of Miracles is the twelfth studio album from five-time Grammy award-winning Carpenter, including one Grammy-winning and two Grammy-nominated albums. By combining folk, country, acoustic, rock and blues, Carpenter has proven herself to be an artist for whom the conventional boundaries of the music business disappear; she has always professed a love for all kinds of music, and those influences come together in songs that speak to the most personal of life’s details as well as to the most universal. Carpenter was born in Princeton, N.J. in 1958 and lived in Japan from 1969 to 1971 before moving to Washington, D.C. Carpenter’s early musical loves included The Mamas & the Papas,Woody Guthrie,The Beatles and Judy Collins. Carpenter grew up playing the guitar and between college years at Brown University she would play local bars and clubs in the Washington, DC area. After graduating from Brown in 1981,Carpenter continued playing and being a part of Washington’s music scene,where she met guitarist John Jennings,who would become her co- producer and long-time collaborator.Within a few years, she recorded a demo tape that led to a deal with Columbia Records where she spent nearly 20 years and sold over 13 million albums. In 2006, Carpenter signed with Rounder Records and released her first album “The Calling”in 2007. It garnered her her 15th Grammy nomination. She also released a holiday album for Rounder in 2008,“Come Darkness, Come Light”. Recently, Carpenter was honored with The Americana Association’s esteemed“Spirit of Americana Free Speech in Music Award”,which recognizes artists who have used their work to raise awareness and promote free speech.Past recipients include Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Judy Collins and Joan Baez, among others. w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
Discography1987 – Hometown Girl 1989 – State of the Heart 1990 – Shooting Straight in the Dark 1992 – Come On Come On 1994 – Stones in the Road † 1996 – A Place in the World 1999 – Party Doll and Other Favorites 2001 – Time*Sex*Love* 2004 – Between Here and Gone 2007 – The Calling † 2008 – Come Darkness, Come Light:Twelve Songs of Christmas 2010 – The Age of Miracles † Grammy nominated Grammy Awards1992 Best Country Vocal Performance, Female – “Down at the Twist and Shout” 1993 Best Country Vocal Performance, Female – “I Feel Lucky” 1994 Best Country Vocal Performance, Female – “Passionate Kisses” 1995 Best Country Album – “Stones in the Road” 1995 Best Country Vocal Performance, Female – “Shut Up and Kiss Me” Country Music Association1992 Female Vocalist of the Year 1993 Female Vocalist of the Year Academy of Country Music 1990 Top New Female Vocalist 1992 Top Female Vocalist ACCOLADES AND HONORS:5 Grammy award wins and 15 nominations, including a “Record of the Year” nomination in 1994 for “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her.” Four #1 Singles (“Down at the Twist and Shout,”“He Thinks He’ll Keep Her,” I Take My Chances,” Shut Up and Kiss Me”) and twelve Top Ten hits. Has performed at the White House, Superbowl XXXI, the 2000 Democratic National Convention and the Grand Ole Opry. Songs have been featured in various films, including Tin Cup, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Fly Away Home and Dead Man Walking. Featured guest on various television and radio programs, including “A Prairie Home Companion,”“Sesame Street,”“Christmas in Washington,”NPR’s“Weekend Edition”,“The Late Show with David Letterman,”“CBS Sunday Morning,”“The Today Show”and“Austin City Limits.” Performed with many acclaimed artists, including Tony Bennett,Aaron Neville,Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris and Sheryl Crow.Also performed at Bob Dylan’s Madison Square Garden 25th Anniversary,Willie Nelson’s Birthday Celebration and Farm Aid. Involved in various charities and foundations, including Nashville Cares, the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, the Campaign for a Landmine Free World, UNICEF, Voters for Choice, the National Fair Housing Association, the Christopher Reeve Foundation, Amnesty International and took part in several USO tours to the Balkans and the Middle East to support servicemen and women worldwide. Story by: Joyce Ziehli Photo and information supplied by Mary Chapin’s website.
East Nashville’s PHIL LEE & TOM MASON kick up their boots in NEW GLARUS & BELLEVILLE On a warm,breezy Monday afternoon in June,Phil Lee andTom Mason,legendary songwriters and performers from East Nashville, rolled into Belleville to participate in a songwriter’s group and do a little house concert at our very own Sugar River Studio. Of course before all this great music could get started, my husband, Chef Andy cooked some mighty tasty brats on the grill which we served up with some good old fashioned potato salad! What a traditional Wisconsin treat for our Southern friends. Phil and Tom had the pleasure of meeting the rest of our family, Duncan,Wylie and as Phil put it, our black panther cat, Mulder. (Phil wondered if everything in our house was ginornmous?) Approximately a dozen people participated in the group, with several performing their songs they wrote, with Phil and Tom giving them some excellent advice on how to improve, or as in a couple cases, leave it alone, it’s already a great song!!! Tom and Phil shared a few versions of their own creations to the crowd’s pleasure. They even did a little dance number for the gang. Matt Sarbacker even accompanied them on the congas for Tom’s song “Chano Pozo’s Shoes”. Of course before the evening ended, cheese, sausage and crackers were devoured along with the other refreshments! Tuesday found the two gents visiting the Fat Cat Coffee Works, wandering the streets of New Glarus, and stopping at the Bakery for a delicious Crème Horn. Tuesday night these super talented guys put on hell of a concert at the Fat Cat Coffee Works in New Glarus. As the weather was not looking promising, the gig was moved inside! A number of people were truly entertained by their great songs, beautiful voices and witty senses of humor. (Our engineer,Andrew Pulver laughed so hard, he got a side ache.) Tom started the night out with doing a few numbers from his latest CD,“Alchemy”. You can check him out at www.TOMMASON.NET. Tom, being the perfect gentleman, did my very favoriteTom Mason song,“Chano Pozo’s Shoes”and“IThought I Heard aTrain”. It wasn’t long after this that he had the whole crowd singing along to his“Pirate Song”. Entertained we were, as Tom picked away at his dobroe, electric guitar and even pounded out “The World Was Drunk” on the piano. If the crowd wasn’t wound up enough from Tom’s performance, Phil Lee came aboard and did a couple of his unique songs. I don’t know what is funnier, Phil’s songs or his comments in between and facial expressions. Anyway,Phil played some songs from his latest CD,‘So Long, It’s Been Good To KnowYou”CD. Tom joined in and together it was a hoot! “25 Mexicans” was a real favorite of the crowd, and their rendition of “Where a Rat’s Lips Have Touched”had terrific crowd participation. Sitting amongst the crown was our very own Green County Celebrity,Jimmy Voegeli,who just happened to be featured on the last cover of the Americana Gazette. You know Phil and Tom recognized the dude and immediately called him up to play along on a couple of tunes. Jimmy was more than delighted to do so. It was a super night. Great music, tons of laughs, great food and coffee,and CD sales were plummeting.I too laughed so hard over the last two days that my face was starting to hurt! Check out Phil Lee at www.PHILLEE1.COM. The next day Andy took the boys around Monroe and showed them the highlights of
Green County!!! Friday evening found Andy and I seated at the Café Carpe in Ft.Atkinson to catch their last local show before they separated company and each took their own path for more shows in Minnesota and Michigan. The Americana Gazette wishes to thank these two talented southern gentlemen for the great entertainment and words of wisdom shared. Phil and Tom said they had a great time here, good food,Tom enjoyed the bike trail, appreciative fans, terrific coffee and conversation at the Fat Cat, breath taking scenery, and the staff at the Chalet Landhaus was friendly and helpful. They also expressed thanks to our American Gazette staff,Andrew and Rob for being superb helpers in setting up and tearing down equipment. They said they would love to come back anytime. If you are looking for some great entertainment, these guys can carry it off!!! Story & photos by: Andy & Joyce Ziehli FOR MORE INFORMATION ON PHIL LEE AND TOM MASON, PLEASE READ ON FROM SOME INFORMATION I PULLED FROM THEIR WEBSITE BIOS: If Phil Lee was as good at knife-throwing as he is at songwriting he would be on the David Letterman show three times a week. He may very well be that good at it – he practices enough - but listening to any one of his excellent CDs, including this new one, has great rewards and fewer risks - at least for the audience. Phil has never feared, personally or lyrically, to scamper out on a limb with a gleam in his eye and a hacksaw in his hand. Sometimes a club owner or promoter will “suggest” that certain of his songs might ruffle a local feather or two but danged if he won’t have those very birds squarely in his corner before the night is done. Charm, guts and great material can get you a long way. Like Wile E. Coyote, he has a knack for recovering from the most explosive circumstances but unlike that hapless canine he usually ends up on top and grinning.This has been of immense help in his previous incarnations as a truck driver, roadie, huckster and bon vivant. Phil Lee likes to say that“at a hundred, my age, weight and IQ have all averaged out.” Maybe so but if that’s true he’s sure getting maximum output in all three areas.He writes constantly,eats a sensible diet and,peripatetic as hell, he won’t hesitate to haul out of his Nashville habitations in his pickup for a gig in Wisconsin on a Friday, cannonball from there to Missouri on Saturday and hit Indiana on Sunday - after church of course. Phil Lee writes intelligent songs full of wit, humor and grace that blend sizzling Dylanesque rock and roll, country and western, mid-sixties British Invasion and medicine show sounds that end up being utterly unique and sung in a voice that can shoot straight through to your heart. His new album is called So Long, It’s Been Good To Know You and he calls it his “first posthumous release.“ There’s nothing wrong with putting out a record posthumously except that it raises certain logistical problems when it comes to touring.And there’s also the teeny tiniest little glitch in the truth in w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
advertising area,since Phil Lee is most definitely still very much among the quick. Maybe he’s just thinking five or six decades ahead – and it’s even money even then. His guitar player/producer/accomplice/crony Richard Bennett dubbed him“the Don Rickles of Rock”and true,Phil will sometimes fan his quills porcupine-style as a situational barometer. But he doesn’t do it much these days; no need. When you make records as good as Phil Lee does, winning friends and influencing people is a cinch. Rick Allen October 3 2008 www.PHILLEE1.COM. Tom Mason is a true renaissance man. Life is a department store and Tom Mason is running up and down the aisles filling his pockets.A fine guitarist, a sizzling slide player and multi-instrumentalist, a seasoned actor, and a passionate songwriter, Mason is above all an entertainer, eager to share his lust for life every time he straps on a guitar or hits the stage..Since arriving in Nashville in 1993,Mason has not only established himself as a favorite in nightclubs and studios, he’s also become a sought after actor in theater and film. With his new CD Alchemy, Tom Mason draws on all his talents to create a work filled with magic. As a solo artist, Mason has released three CD’s “Where Shadows Fall”, the instrumental “A Slide Guitar Christmas”, and the brand new "Alchemy".He has also released numerous collaborative CD’s, including two by the Big Happy on Western Beat Records and one with Swampgrass, and has been featured on such compilations as “For Kate’s Sake: An Americana Christmas”,“The Other Side: Music of East Nashville”, and “Yuletide from the Other Side. In addition to being a solo artist and bandleader, Tom Mason has played lead guitar for a multitude of artists. Recently he’s been touring the US and Europe with Phil Lee,and frequently plays with Last Train Home, Supe Granda (of The Ozark Mountain Daredevils), and his wife,Australian Pru Clearwater.. In June of 2009 Tom Mason performed in greater Los Angeles in a critically acclaimed production of the Broadway musical “Ring of Fire:The Music of Johnny Cash”, a show with which he toured the country in 2007/2008. Earlier in the year he played Clarence (brother of the king) and Derby in Nashville Shakespeare Festival’s "Richard III" in a production in which the Yorks and the Lancasters are competing performers on a Vaudeville stage.As a frequent member of Nashville’s Actor’s Bridge Ensemble,Tom has had roles in Mary Zimmerman’s "Arabian Nights" and "Metamorphoses", "American Duet", "How I Learned to Drive", and as the Stage Manager in "Our Town". In 2007 he was a guest artist at the Eugene O’NeillTheater Center during their Cabaret Conference.
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the Telluride Band Contest, Struthers and her band, the Bootleggers (P.J. George, Ward Stout and Dave Goldenberg), now join the celebrated company of renowned platinum-selling artists and past winners the Dixie Chicks and Nickel Creek. In addition to critical acclaim and recognition, a slot on 2011’s main stage is among her winnings in this incredible honor. Struthers also placed in the final round of the Troubadour Songwriter Contest out of hundreds of her peers,becoming the only artist to place so highly in both theTroubadour and Band Competitions. Truly an artist that radiates authenticity, Nora Jane Struthers presents an impressive debut.It's classic Americana at its finest from a hardworking artist who simply loves what she does. Her traditional look and sound is refreshing, and perhaps that is where her true gift lies. Nora Jane and I discussed her new CD and other topics during our recent conversation. Joyce: Hi Nora. How are you doing today and where are you at? Nora: I’m fine. I’m actually in New Jersey. I’m a brand new aunt, my sister just had a baby and I’m actually on “baby duty” in 20 minutes. I’m so excited. Joyce: How exciting. Well I won’t keep you long as I know attending the baby will probably be more fun for you than this interview. (We both laugh.) Let’s start out with you telling me a little bit about your childhood, music in your family, who were your musical inspirations. Nora: Well, I grew up singing with my Dad. He’s from your neck of the woods. He grew up in Minneapolis. During the ‘60’s he played with several folk groups and bluegrass bands in the Minneapolis area. For job reasons we moved around a little bit, then I grew up in New Jersey. There was a lot of music around me when I was growing up. I had lots of influences because of the groups Dad was playing with. I didn’t grow up as a young'un really playing instruments. I didn’t start playing guitar until I was about 15 years old, but I was singing harmony since I could talk basically. That’s where my music, my touch stone started. Singing harmony is my favorite thing to do. When I was in college and after college my Dad and I started performing around New York City and New Jersey a little bit, in what we called our duo, Dirt Road Sweethearts. We performed mostly traditional music, lots of duets, Stanley Brothers stuff, and old folk songs and ballads. That was really a lot of fun. We did do a few originals, mostly kept it traditional though. Joyce: Nora is this your first CD release? Nora: This is my first solo – song writer CD. Right before I moved to Nashville in the summer of 2008,my Dad and I recorded an album together that was really just an honest record of what we sound like when we perform together. We had a few microphones set up and we sang around the kitchen table. Joyce: Do you write by yourself or do you co-write?
Tom Mason’s most recent film role was as Shams in Pouria Montazeri’s Shams and Rumi:The Fragrance of Axis Mundi, a visually stunning film about the Persian poet Rumi’s mystical transformation. Other roles have included kidnappers, drug dealers, the devil, and Dolly Parton’s Dobro player in a lifetime television movie.
Nora: 11 songs on this CD I wrote by myself and since then I’ve been doing a fair amount of co-writing. Actually of the 11 songs on this CD, I wrote 9 of these songs in the first 3 months I was in Nashville. For me it’s fun to know I’m writing for a specific project. I like the challenge.
Joyce: Tell me about your songs, do you have any specific stories on how these songs came about? For example, your song,“Thistle”?
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Nora: “Thistle” was one I wrote when I was teaching English in Brooklyn, New York and I wrote it during one of my lunch breaks. I had just finished teaching “Pride and Prejudice”. I was thinking of the Victorian marital customs, how hard it would have been in that type of society, not having control over who you were going to be married to. This was very upsetting to me. Joyce: Nora, do you have a favorite song on this CD? Nora: Why yes I do. “Look Out On The Mountain” is my favorite because I draw a lot of inspiration from literature and works of art. This is the first song that I wrote that I didn’t derive from anything but my own head. That one is really my own. Sometimes I’m borrowing a little piece of things for my songs and I’m fine with that as well. Joyce: What are some future goals for your career? Nora: I love writing. That’s what I want to do and I love to perform. I’d like to continue to do both and hopefully one or the other or both will work out so I can make a living in Nashville. Joyce: Nora are you working any other job right now or just doing the music scene? Nora: I’m working full time on my music right now. I have started my own record label and touring company, so that keeps me very busy. Joyce: Wow, you are busy. If and when you have time to relax, what do you like to do? Nora: I love to hike. Joyce: I bet you are thinking about songs to write while you hike? Nora: Yup! It gets my creative juices flowing. I also love to read and play music. Joyce: Well, speaking of relaxing, I had better cut this off as I think your“baby duty”time is coming up. You enjoy your stay in New Jersey and spoil that baby. Good luck to you and your future endeavors. Nora: Thank you so much. Joyce: Hopefully we will run into you at the Americana Music Conference in September. Nora: Yea, I’m actually doing a showcase for them. Joyce: OK, it’s a date. Check out her new CD and her website at www.norajanestruthers.com . Information obtained from website. Story by: Joyce Ziehli Photos supplied.
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and kids,which in turn resulted in a call to the local sheriff. As Basie held the neighbors hostage in their home, the sheriff arrived to find his tail wagging uncontrollably. Upon the sheriff’s returning Basie to John, Basie is now under house arrest ,and he will be spending a little more time on the chain since this latest adventure. Be sure to stop in at the Fat Cat for a delicious beverage and a snack and check with John to see what Basie’s latest murder plot has been. Let’s hope Basie doesn’t partner up with Satchmo, poor John won’t have a chance. Stay tuned for further adventures of Satchmo and Basie… Story by: Joyce Ziehli • Photos supplied.
WISCONSIN MUSIC & ART 18
BASTILLE DAY in Belleville, Wisconsin
It was an unbearable hot humid day, but the show must go on! Belleville was celebrating Bastille Day. Exactly what is Bastille Day? Well according to Wikipedia, Bastille Day is the French national holiday which is celebrated on the 14th of July each year. In France, it is formally called La Fête Nationale (The National Celebration) and commonly le quatorze juillet (the fourteenth of July). It commemorates the 1790 Fête de la Fédération, held on the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789; the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille fortress-prison was seen as a symbol of the uprising of the modern nation, and of the reconciliation of all the French inside the constitutional monarchy which preceded the First Republic, during the French Revolution. Now the celebration in Belleville consisted of a great bunch of talented musicians, locally and from Nashville, TN and some delicious food entrees to munch on while taking in the days activities. Hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken and steak sandwiches and even some fresh grilled salmon were available to wet your appetite. And being so hot, what better to wash this down with some ice cold beer or Mike’s Lemonade! Music started around 2:00 P.M. in the beautiful historic Library Park with Whitney Mann and The Boys. Whitney Mann is a singer/songwriter based in Madison, WI who is equally inspired by Willie Nelson and Ingrid Michelson. She won a MAMA (Madison Area Music Award) this year for best new Americana Artist. Mann sings Country/Americana music in the Emmylou Harris/Gillian Welch vain. Her original songs are heartfelt and deeply personal. Her fine two piece band is the perfect choice for her deep country sound. Next up was Marques Bovre. Marques is based out of Madison, but has many ties to Belleville/Paoli where he was born and raised. Many people came out to greet him and listen to his music and of course to pick up some of his CD’s. Many of his fans from all over Southern Wisconsin showed up as well. Bovre had not played in Belleville for quite some time and this was a real treat to our locals. His music is best described as Indie Rock which suits his vocal style well. Always the top flight entertainer, Bovre did not disappoint the crowd on Saturday. The Francois Family Band was up next and what a great job they did. People never grow tired of hearing this group play. Family and friends cheered on and toe tapping was apparent as you looked around the area. This family of talented musicians each took center stage in singing and playing. There classic Country songs and new country had people dancing throughout their show. Belleville residents really miss Jerry Francois, and listening to his family brings back lots of memories for many folks in the area. Seven piece Amber Skies put on quite the show as well. What a variety of music they can perform! For such a large group, the musical balance was incredible. The song selection and versatility of the band is incredible. I am a little partial because this is my husband’s band, but I thought they sounded extremely well! Those two Rupnow girls can really sing! The headliners for the evening were the nationally known duo of Kristi Rose
and Fats Kaplin who came here all the way from Nashville, TN to perform at Bastille Day. About Kristi Rose Fats Kaplin Kristi Rose and Fats Kaplin have long been revered as artists of “distinctive personal approach” Kristi Rose as a singer with a voice that can “sing the stars from the heavens” has been compared to artists ranging from Wanda Jackson to Patti Smith. Fats, as a “brilliant multi-instrumentalist” has been sought over the years by artists as diverse as The Tractors,The Manhattan Transfer, Pure Prairie League, Emmy Lou Harris, Nanci Griffith, The Mavericks, Suzy Boggus, Elvis Costello, The Judds, Buddy Miller, Jason Ringenberg, (with and w/o the Scorchers) and in his own Americana chart topping band, Kane-Welch-Kaplin, as well as many, many more. Together, Fats and Kristi Rose have created a musical genre, (and way of life) known as Pulp Country. It is a world of cinematic proportion that blends music that has been described as “Soultwang”, “Coltrane Meets Country” and an “eclectic walk on the wild side” They write “splendid originals” of “the hooch-soaked, heartbroke netherworld” They have released two critically acclaimed albums, “This Is Pulp Country!” and “Kristi Rose, Live In Holland”, have several self released EPs and in addition, Fats has released 2 CDs,“The Fatman Cometh” and “Fats Kaplin’s World of Wonder” on which Kristi Rose is featured.They have taken Pulp Country on the road, both as a band and as a duo to thunderous response, playing stages as diverse as Lincoln Center, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, major festivals and venues in Europe, as well as honkytonks and legendary rock clubs. Onstage, (and all the world is one) Kristi Rose and Fats, in stark southern gothic style, with lone electric guitar, fiddle, and a voice that gives cry to the heavens, conjure up the thinly veiled lives that we must all lead. Read more: http://www.myspace.com/kristirosefatskaplin#ixzz0u8wbazO2 It was a great day of entertainment. Thank you to all who came out and survived the hot sunny day and the vicious mosquitoes that made their grand appearance around 9:30ish!!!! Yipes!! Story and photos by: Joyce Ziehli
Americana Music alive & well in Wisconsin Americana Music is alive and well in Wisconsin. From the local artists and bands that play and make a living doing so, to the weekend warriors, and the clubs, coffeehouses, and festivals that host these fine acts. The sweet smell of Americana Music lives and breathes here in the north. Wisconsin has been home to many famous musicians both alive and deceased. Les Paul, Bill Miller, Michael Martin Murphey, Glenn Worf, Pee Wee King, Dave Dudley,The BoDeans,Tracy Nelson, Bobby Hatfield, Steve Miller, Boz Skaggs, Ben
Sidran, and Richard Davis just to name a few. Southern Wisconsin hosts many Americana Acts. Beth Kille, Briana Hardyman, Robert J. and the Rowdy Prairie Dogs, Jerry Grothues, Mark Croft, Sean Michael Dargan, Jessi Lynn, Kia Fowler, Aaron Williams and the Hoodoo, Dirt & Sunshine, Whitney Mann, Dear August, the Dirty Shirts, and many others. The Northern half of the state has the Desperate Otto’s, Pat Watters Band, Copper Box, The Bar Tab Band, and the Steel Bridge Festival in Sturgeon Bay. Yes Wisconsin is an Americana Mecca! Along with all of the wonderful acts and bands Wisconsin also has a large amount of venues for touring Americana Acts to play. They include, the Café Carpe, High Noon Saloon,The Barrymore Theater, Big Top Chautauqua, and Shank Hall. Well over a hundred clubs and coffee houses book local Americana artists throughout the year. The festival season during summer months provides a healthy dose of music for everyone’s tastes in-
Green County, Wisconsin, a Hotbed of Americana Music & Art. The absolute best kept secret in music has got to be Green County Wisconsin! There is no where more creative to visit or work out of. Now I might be a little prejudice because I live here, but according to all my friends from Nashville who visit here “we got it going on!” The music here has a long and colorful past. There have always been great bands and musical artists in Green County for well over 150 years. For example, world-renowned polka king Roger Bright was from New Glarus. Gary Hendrickson and Bill Gempeler have played on Grammy-nominated albums. Andy Anderson, Don Ward, and Jerry Francois played in Nashville and opened for some of the greats in country music in the 1960s. Tommy James (of Shondells fame) lived in Monroe. Mort Armstrong and the Horse Feathers Band and Bill Stocker and his Hard Times Band toured the circuit playing country and country-rock with some of the greats of that style. Dave Chaffee played with Steve Miller and Boz Scaggs when they were located in Madison. Yes, Green County boasts much more than cheese and cows.
cluding the giant of them all Summerfest in Milwaukee. Brat Fest in Madison is growing larger every year with plenty of great live music. As I mentioned earlier the Steel Bridge Festival in Sturgeon Bay brings in songwriters from all over the world to take part in a week long songwriting fest. Pat McDonald is the host and founder of this event. He brings in great writers like Jackson Browne to listen and help aspiring writers get the knowledge and the exposure they need to further their careers. The NSAI chapters are in Wisconsin especially the Madison Chapter has a healthy membership and offers help and mentorship to aspiring songwriters. Yes Wisconsin is an Americana/Music Mecca in the north! And yes we also have the best Beer, Cheese, and Sausage you’ll ever taste. So make Wisconsin a music vacation destination, a place to come to unwind, and a must stop on any musical trip you take. You won’t be sorry!!! Andy Ziehli
the Swiss, German, and Norwegian immigrants who blended their native music together at house parties, taverns, and barn raisings. The mixture of the Swiss and German polkas with the Norwegian fiddle-driven ballads made for a new hybrid musical form that people still enjoy today. After the Civil War, the banjo and mandolin made their way north and entered the local music stew. As radio came about, western music, with its guitars, also influenced the regional musicians and became a big part of local bands and orchestras. Bands from hamlets such as Blanchardville, Argyle, Belleville, Monticello, Albany, Juda, New Glarus, and Brodhead started trading members and the musical styles transformed with each new combination. Monroe musicians joined these bands and started making inroads to the bigger cities like Rockford, Madison, Janesville, Chicago, and Milwaukee. There are lots of live music venues hosting local, regional, and national acts in Green County. Cheese Days is attended by over 50,000 people every two years. The Monroe Arts Center hosts concerts, outdoor weekly music events happen throughout the county during the summer months. East Nashville musicians Eric Brace and Peter Cooper play in New Glarus and Belleville each year. Phil Lee,Tom Mason, Fats Kaplin, Kristi Rose,Tim Carroll, Paul Griffith, and Jim Gray also make the trip to Green County to play. Lodging in Green County is plentiful with fine hotels like the Chalet Landaus and Barnaby Guesthouse in New Glarus. There are many fine hotels, bed & breakfasts, and camping spots throughout Green County. The food here is unbelievable. From local diners, to fine gourmet dining establishments, Green County is home to the best eats in Wisconsin. The New Glarus Hotel, Glarner Stube, and The Dining Room all are some of the finest dining establishments you will ever visit. We also have the best beer in the state with New Glarus Beer. This award winning beer can only be bought in Wisconsin. Spotted Cow is world famous for its taste and color. We also have fine wineries here. Broadjam founder and President Roy Elkins makes Green County his home. Broadjam is a web community dedicated to both indie musicians and fans
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of indie music. You can promote your band or music by joining a social network where you can win prizes and explore licensing opportunities in TV and film. Find new independent music and collaborate with other indie musicians and fans. They support the top indie bands of the world! There are fantastic graphic and folk artists who call Green County their home. Mauro Magellan and Ric Genthe design CD jackets, brochures, and create unbelievable design work. Magellan is also a world class drummer having played on many platinum and gold recordings. Jonathon Wilde calls Green County his home. He is a world renowned wildlife artist. Billy and Wendy Jo Schmidt own and operate Sugar River Gallery where you can fine some of the finest jewelry, photography, and gifts in the area. Billy is also a fantastic songwriter, musician, and record producer. Also located in Green County are three fantastic recording studios. Billy Schmidt has his personal studio that he also records local artists at, Sugar River Studios owned by myself and my wife Joyce in Belleville is a well equipped analog and digital recording studio specializing in acoustic/americana/indie, and blues music. Sugar River Studio also features vintage tube gear and guitar amps. Sound Lab Studios owned by Patrick Bodell in Monroe features audio and high def video production, along with recording for bands and commercial voice overs. Patrick is a fantastic arranger and producer, along with being one of the best bass players you will ever fine.
What we have going on is a wonderful music and arts community. A place where the arts are appreciated, promoted, and encouraged. No community in Green County does this better than New Glarus, Americaâ€™s Little Switzerland. A healthy music scene with live music venues, great local artists, a songwriting community, monthly songwriting mentoring sessions, and festivals; the village is a true treasure to behold. Itâ€™s authentic Swiss architecture, music, food, and inhabitants make it a wonderful place to visit and hear great music. Local favorites include the Rain Dogs and The Jimmyâ€™s playing original blues and rock, Beth Kille and Matt Belknap playing original Indie acoustic music, Amber Skies playing Americana/Country/Rock, Greenfield Brothers playing Classic Country, Electric Blue playing great Rock & Roll, and Zwiefel Brothers playing polkas. Last but not least is the fantastic scenery and outdoor activities you will experience in Green County. There are bike and hiking trails, breath taking country views, beautiful architecture, rock formations, and plenty of water to fish or just sit by and enjoy! Each community holds their own local summer and winter festivals so there is something to do in Green County all year long. Story by: Andy Ziehli 21
Good n Loud Music
3 for 1 Good n Loud Music has been a staple in the Madison Music community since 1976. It is owned and operated by Steve and Chris Liethen, two of the nicest most knowledgeable people you will ever meet in the music industry. The Liethen’s are very community minded supporting many charitable organizations including the MAMA’s.
Good n Loud Music is the last “Mom and Pop” music store in Madison. Good n Loud offers new and used musical instruments of all types and price ranges. Their music lessons are the best you can get in this area. They have a staff of qualified teachers who are working musicians themselves.
Edtronics is owned and operated by ace repair tech Ed Larson out of his home shop in Oregon,Wisconsin. Ed has been repairing amps and guitars for over 20 years. He is the go to guy in amp repair in Southern Wisconsin! I use him and have for over 15 years. The quality of his work speaks for itself! Professional artists and touring musicians seek him out to repair or consult on repairs of their instruments and amps. Ed started his journey into amp and guitar repair at Dave’s Guitar shop in LaCrosse.There he was able to observe and get hands on experience fixing and working on all types of tube amps and vintage instruments. Edtronics specializes in setup and repairs for all Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Electric Basses, Tube and Solid State Amplifiers and Effects.They stock new tubes and all the needed parts and supplies to get your gear fixed up, tuned up or biased up, whatever you need. They perform all manner of Guitar Setups, Fretwork and Electronic repairs on Guitars, Amplifiers, Microphones, Mixers, Effects and all types of Musical Industry Equipment They are open by appointment and located in Oregon, WI. Please call Ed @ 608.347.5398 or email@example.com By: Andy Ziehli
Lane’s Lutherie is a full service stringed instrument repair shop and retail store in Madison WI. Owner Lane Venden is well known throughout the area as a fine and capable multi-instrumentalist and luthier. You will find a warm, comfortable and quiet atmosphere when you to come in and try Lane’s growing selection of fine instruments & bows. Repairs of all types are available on all stringed instruments, and student instruments are available for rent or sale. Lane's Lutherie is an Authorized Service Center for both Martin & Taylor Guitars. Lane Venden has over 20 years experience as a professional luthier.He was accredited through the luthier program at Red Wing, Minnesota in 1987, then moved to Madison, Wisconsin immediately after to begin his career in Lutherie. In 2002 Lane began his entrepreneurial adventure by opening his own business inside Madison Music, a premiere guitar store. Five years later he took the next step and expanded his shop by moving into a bigger space. When the pros need their acoustic instruments setup or readjusted they call Lane. He is honest and timely in his repairs. He also does electric instrument repairs and setup. He has two very qualified repair techs besides himself doing the hands on work. Lane by far is one of the most reliable instrument repair people in Southern Wisconsin,
They offer a huge drum and percussion section with some of the top names in percussion today including, DW, Ludwig, and Taye. Their drum section is managed by Brent King who is a world class percussionist and drummer. They offer a full line of bass, keyboards, guitars, band instruments, accessories, p.a. gear, and recording equipment, both new and used. Good n Loud also has a large instrument rental business that offers many different types of ways to obtain the instrument or amp of your dreams. In this day of the “mega” music store and the on-line giants it’s nice to be able to go into a store where they know your name, enjoy working with you, you get to talk with people who are truly knowledgeable about their products and the industry, and not pushy sellers. The Liethen’s and their staff are shinning examples of what music stores used to be like when I was growing up. They realize that half the adventure of buying a new instrument is the “hunt” for it. This is a “no” pressure store! Next time you need strings, cords, or are looking for a new instrument or amp please check out Good n Loud Music in Madison. Their prices are very, very competitive, and the customer services are top flight. By: Andy Ziehli
You can contact Lane at Lane's Lutherie & Violins, 4269 W. Beltline Highway, Suite B, Madison, WI 53711, (608)442-0315 or at Lane@LanesLutherie.com By: Andy Ziehli
8 SECONDS RIDING THE BULL!!!?
NO, it was more like 8 seconds of “SHOOTING THE BULL” with Crystal after her infamous Bull Toss! You may think you’ve seen everything, but you really haven’t! I was enjoying some fine music during the Community Music Festival in New Glarus and I happened to turn around to check things out. I took a peek out of the tent and wow – there was my friend Crystal riding the mechanical bull. What a sight this was!! Actually she was pretty good. Those kids didn’t have anything on her technique. So if you are around the New Glarus area and you happen to run into her, tell her you enjoyed her “classy photo in the Americana Gazette” – no bull!!!!!! By: Joyce Ziehli • Photo supplied.
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"Our Old Town Hall On The Village Green"
In small towns all across America there is a special spot known as the village green,the village square or the commons.Whichever name is attached to it,it is the focal point of the community. In our small town of Belleville (population of about 2000) the space is known as the library park. The correct title is John Frederick Park after the founder of the town.Because the building in the center of the square housed the library for 83 years it became known as the library park. The village itself was surveyed,platted,and recorded at the county court house in 1851.The founding fathers laid out a square block of land in the center of the town for use as public grounds. Before the site was laid out it was known as an important trail for Indian travel many years before any white man made his presence. On November 28, 1878 Mr. Henry Storey, owner of the general store, called a meeting of some of his friends in Belleville to organize a library association. They chose the name Belleville Lyceum Library.At the first meeting in December they all met to mark the books. There were thirty–three volumes from the old school library,Henry donated 26 volumes,J.W. Parks donated sixteen and other people in the community donated one or two. For a time the books were discharged from Dr.Wheelwrights office.At a later date they were moved to the upper room of Mr.Story’s store.He also rented the room to the village fathers for the village board meetings. In November of 1893 the board bought the first chemical hand-drawn fire pumper with no place to store it. They then decided that a building was needed for all the village purposes and plans were made to build a building that would house the village hall, library, jail, and fire station.The building was to be built in the village square. A brick building 36 x 36 was erected at a cost of $2,000.There were two rooms upstairs for library and village board meetings.There was space downstairs for two cells and the fire vehicle. The first room of the upper floor of the building was reserved for meetings.The second room was reserved for the library.There was a counter that separated the two rooms.No one was allowed in the library but the librarian.You could go to the counter and tell the librarian that you would like a book. She would select one she felt was suitable for you to read and charge it out to you. Sometime later the room was opened up and you could choose your own book. At some point in time the village board moved their meetings to other quarters and the library was given both rooms. During the 1930’s the jail downstairs was a great stopover for the“Knights of the Road”as they were called.These were transients who took to the road in hopes of finding a job somewhere since jobs were scarce during the Depression.They were allowed to stay one night and cooking privileges were allowed. One year a mental patient had run away from the hospital and was found in the area.He was held for a time in a cell in the jail. Most of the time if a cell was occupied it was usually by w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
some inebriated soul sleeping it off after a Saturday night caper. In 1923 a new fire station was built to house the more modern equipment that was used, and sometime in the 1950’s or 60’s the jail cells were removed.This left the bottom floor of the building to be used as storage.The library still remained upstairs. Through the 1940’s and 1950’s free movies were held every Saturday night in the summer. An outside wall of the building was fitted with a large screen and someone in the community with a film projector showed movies to the public sitting on blankets and chairs in the park. In 1978 a new building was built about a block away to be used as the library and village hall.This new building was all on one level. The building in the park was now completely vacant after 84 years of service to the community. Today the park and the building are once again in use due to a committee of citizens.In the 1980’s a park and building restoration group was formed.Their purpose was to bring the park back to its early 1900’s appearance.The fountain was restored,the gazebo rebuilt,and the old village hall basement was refurbished for use. It is now a fine meeting room for groups to use.The upstairs is used for storage by the Historical Society and Community Club. The building and grounds are now on the Department of Interior’s National Register of Historic Places. This is our little bit of“Americana”in the Midwest state of WI. Story by:Rosemary Ziehli • Photos supplied.
SUZY BOGGUSS In the spring of 2011 Suzy will release what she calls her "sixth grade songbook." This American folk collection will include a CD with classics such as "Shenandoah" and "The Banks of the Ohio," as well as a hard cover companion book that includes the history of the songs, Suzy's personal stories relating to each, and the complete sheet music.
Red Beet Records ERIC BRACE and Songwriter PETER COOPER of East Nashville Work With Tom T. Hall & Others on New Project "Songs of Fox Hollow" ….And I quote from Eric Brace,“TheTomT.Hall project is a perfect example of why I wanted to move to Nashville. This could only have happened here. Peter found the perfect list of people to re-record "Songs of Fox Hollow" and I feel honored to be a part of it. There are plenty of musical surprises on there, and I believe we did Tom T. and Dixie proud with these new versions. I'm also thrilled that it's going to come out on Red Beet Records,and we hope it's going to be a co-release with the Country Music Hall of Fame.”
Country to the Core
Andy Anderson has been a musician and guitar player since the late 1950’s. Growing up in Blanchardville he entered the service and was sent to Germany where a chance roommate assignment had him sharing quarters with Jim Reeves lead guitar player who had also been called up for duty and sent overseas. Anderson kept asking him to play some music, but he refused. Finally one day after Anderson had bugged him enough he relented and said “I’ll show you three chords so you can make your own music!” He did and the rest is history. Anderson fronted the Frontiersmen, a five piece Country band that wore matching tailored suits with fringe and all. They played local honky tonks for many years and then upgraded to the Super Club Circuit. The band was together for nine years, and opened for and backed up Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Sonny James, Dottie West, Charlie Pride, Del Reeves, Waylon Jennings, Jeanie Seely, Johnny Russell, and many others. They were the first choice of many Wisconsin promoters and talent buyers in opening and backing traveling country artists in the 1960’s. Today Anderson hosts a jam in the winter months in Texas, and plays a few jobs here and there with his wife Jeannie. He also plays at the annual Pec Jam which will be held this August 21st in Blanchardville,so you can check out this talented man. It is rumored that the remaining members of the Frontiersmen will be getting back together to play at this year’s jam! AG: How long have you been a mainstay in Country Music? Anderson: All my life! (He laughs) AG: How old were you when you started playing guitar?
This project came about when in June, Peter and Eric gathered some musical friends together at Tom T. and Dixie Hall's studio to record new versions of songs from Tom T.'s classic "Songs of Fox Hollow" album.Patty Griffin,Buddy Miller,Jim Lauderdale,Elizabeth Cook, Tim Carroll, Bobby Bare, Pedal Steel Hall of Famer Lloyd Green and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Duane Eddy were among those who contributed to this project. This project will be released sometime in 2011. Peter and Eric also recorded songs, and Tom T. sang with Fayssoux McLean and Peter on a new song called "I MadeA Friend of a FlowerToday." That one was written byTomT.and Dixie. TheAmericana Gazette is excited about this project and will be waiting patiently to get our hands on a copy of this. We will keep you informed and let you know when it will be released. Til then…. Story by: Joyce Ziehli
Anderson: I was 18 years old and in the service. I was rooming with Jim Reeves lead guitar player. He taught me G C D and he said “sing Frauline to that. You’ll hear the changes and then you can leave me alone!” So that’s how I got started. My fingers used to turn green when I was learning to play! AG: After Germany did you move back to Blanchardville? Anderson: No I moved to Madison and started working. I met a girl from Belleville named Jeannie Wells and I married her and we lived outside of Belleville for awhile. I met a guy named Wayne Owens who played lead guitar and we formed a duo and played for a few years. We used to play jobs for five bucks a night and all the beer we could drink. I don’t remember how I moved on to another guitar player from Madison named Johnny Klang but we soon were working together. He had a cousin who could play a little bass. It wasn’t long before we swapped him off for a kid we taught to play bass and got a drummer named Don continued on page 33
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What’s New With KATHY MATTEA? It’s been a few issues since we mentioned what’s going on in Kathy’s life so I checked in with her publicist to see what she was up to. Here is what her publicist,Don London had to share: "Coal Country Music", the companion CD to the documentary film "Coal Country", continues to climb on the Americana Music charts. Kathy contributed a song to the compilation, which features 19 artists including John Prine,Bonnie Raitt,TomT Hall, Justin Townes Earle, Jean Ritchie, Natalie Merchant and Willie Nelson. Order a copy from www.coalcountrymusic.com, and help save the mountains! Let's talk about.....the music biz. Kathy and songwriter husband JonVezner recently shared stories and insights about their musical careers for Belmont University's "Insider's View" discussion series, hosted by Harry Chapman. Other recent series guests have included producer MarkWright,and artists Amy Grant and Vince Gill. And plans are in the works for Kathy to return to the Belmont campus next fall to present her "My Coal Journey" multimedia program for the school's environmental and sustainability study course. And about.....Appalachia. Kathy will also present "My Coal Journey" for the Spring Convocation at Berea College in Kentucky on April 7, 2011. This year's speaker is Kathy's friend and collaborator, Silas House,author of the recent nonfiction collection "Something's Rising". The cast gathers for a bow on the Ryman stage at the conclusion of "Music Saves Mountains": L-R Stuart Duncan (fiddle), Brandon Young, Patty Loveless,Alison Krauss, Buddy Miller (guitar), Patty Griffin,Byron House (bass) Big Kenny,Emmylou Harris,Dave Matthews with new BFF,Kenny Malone (drums),and Sam Bush (mandolin). BIG FUN SAVES MOUNTAINS! An incredible group of musicians and artists joined together on May 19 at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium for "Music Saves Mountains", a benefit to raise awareness and funds to curb the practice of mountaintop removal coal mining. Sponsored by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Gibson (Guitar) Foundation,this sold-out show featured a wide variety of artists and music from many genres, performing solo and in various rare collaborations, for a memorable night of music and community, in support of a great cause. For more information on how to get involved in this effort, check out www.musicsavesmountains.org. For complete tour information or other info on Kathy Mattea,check her out at www.mattea.com Info and photos supplied. w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
Marty Stuart Prepares to Release His QUINTESSENTIAL TRADITIONAL COUNTRY ALBUM GHOST TRAIN (the Studio B Sessions) August 24, 2010 Andy and I had the pleasure of attending a Marty Stuart concert at the Station Inn during last year’s Americana Music Conference. What an artist. I do not have the words to describe how talented he is and what a terrific songwriter as well. Please be sure to check out this new CD upon release!!! Grammy winner and Americana music icon Marty Stuart is set to release a traditional country album GHOST TRAIN (THE STUDIO B SESSIONS) onAugust 24,2010. With his 14th studio album, Stuart steadily continues to lead the charge in preserving the roots, culture and history of traditional country music. “What inspires me now, is traditional country music,” says Stuart. “It’s the music I most cherish, the culture in which I was raised. It’s the bedrock upon which the empire of country music is built, the empowering force that provides this genre with lasting credibility. It’s beyond trends and it’s timeless. With all that being said, I found traditional country music to be on the verge of extinction. It’s too precious to let slip away. I wanted to attempt to write a new chapter.” That new chapter is GHOST TRAIN (THE STUDIO B SESSIONS) which includes such unmitigated country staples as the male-female duet (the gorgeous,heartfelt "I Run to You," written and sung with Connie Smith), the chugging,bluesy—and spooky— fellow Mississippian Jimmie Rodgers-like train song "GhostTrain FourOh-Ten," steel guitar driven, hardcore heartbreak ballads such as "A World Without You," and "Drifting Apart,” and a no-flinching directness is front and center in the premiere of“Hangman,”a pointed,harrowing tale of an executioner's job and life that Stuart co-wrote with Johnny Cash just four days before the Man in Black passed away. As the album title denotes,GHOSTTRAIN (THE STUDIO B SESSIONS) was recorded in the legendary RCA Studio B in Nashville,where Stuart participated in his first-ever recording session at the age of 13 playing mandolin in Lester Flatt’s band. “Studio B has a profound pedigree; it’s where so much of American music’s legacy was forged, certainly country music’s,” says Stuart. “And sonically, this is a room that welcomes music. It seemed to me that in order to authentically stage a brand new traditional country music record we should bring it back to the scene of the crime.” GHOSTTRAIN (THE STUDIO B SESSIONS)TRACK LIST: 1. Branded (written by Marty Stuart) 2. Country Boy Rock & Roll (written by Don Reno) 3. Drifting Apart (written by Marty Stuart) 4. Bridge Washed Out (written by Warner Mack) 5. A World WithoutYou (written by Marty Stuart and Connie Smith) 6. Hummingbyrd (written by Marty Stuart) 7. Hangman (written by Marty Stuart and Johnny Cash) 8. GhostTrain Four-Oh-Ten (written by Marty Stuart) 9. Hard Working Man (written by Marty Stuart) 10. I RunToYou (written by Marty Stuart and Connie Smith) 11. Crazy Arms (written by Ralph E.Mooney and Charles P.Seals) 12. Porter Wagoner’s Grave (written by Marty Stuart) 13. Little Heartbreaker (written by Marty Stuart and Ralph E.Mooney) 14. Mississippi Railroad Blues (written by Marty Stuart)
Information supplied by: Mary Hilliard Harrington/Kristie Sheppard 8 •The GREENROOM Donica Christensen • Sugar Hill Records Article and photos by Joyce Ziehli. (Some photos supplied.)
Welcome To the Journey - Part 2
Coming Out... On our most recent visit to Bayfield, WI our last evening there found us sitting on the porch looking over the water at Madeline Island. From the south a cotton ball white bank of fog was slowly engulfing that strip of land. We visited and observed and before too long the island was no longer visible. Had a new guest arrived in our company they would have been unaware of the trees, lights and all the people who were hidden behind that velvet curtain. We could have shared our experience of observing it, driving around on it, taking the ferry across the water to it with our new friend but to that new set of eyes, our excited exhales could have been dismissed as gasps of fiction. But, if that new friend would have taken a seat and put his or her feet up and joined in the conversation, almost like magic the island would have revealed itself once more. I must beg your patience as I continue with my thread of thought from the last issue of the Gazette. You see, for me as I write this, the fog is thinning, and I am seeing the island for the first time myself, metaphorically speaking. After writing the last article in the Gazette I found myself stepping into the words I had written. I can be a slow learner. I also can be a man filled with doubt and fear. As I reread my own words not long ago I thought…hmmm I wrote that? Yes, Jim, you wrote that. Upon returning from Bayfield, my favorite place on earth, I was once again a changed man. A series of events that unfolded for me while I was there moved me deeply. What one might call luck I saw as the physical manifestation of my “asking” over the years Bob and I have been there. Asking, you may be wondering what I mean by that. Often as I go through my day I will feel or observe something and in response to that connection I will “ask” for it to come to me. If my asking has some juice to it, meaning if I really want it, I will “ask” with a focused energy, like when I was young and decided to see what would happen if I hovered a magnifying glass over an ant on a sunny day. Powerful stuff! At 48 I have come to be very sure of at least one thing. I am a very powerful co-creator. As I reflect over various events in my life, if I consider them deeply and honestly, I can usually return to the initial idea that then unfolded into that particular experience. The experiences did not just happen to me, I asked for them, or something very much like them, to come to me.
...Of the Fog thoughts I was thinking. I slowly became aware that even if I said one thing but was thinking another, the image or experience I was thinking about was showing up in my life time and time again. Hmmm thinks me. As I began to consider the amazing recent series of events in Bayfield I came to finally accept that it was nothing more than my ongoing “asking” coming to me. While I was profoundly moved by the synchronicity of it all I began to realize that these were not random acts. Over the years my thoughts and “asking” were focused on each of the pieces of this recent experience. I was simply so happy and relaxed being in this place I love so much I was now allowing the events to come to me. There was no work involved at all. My only“work”was the willingness to allow what I had asked for to come to me. I have become a conscious participant in the co-creative process. As I consider what a conscious co-creator might be I am also aware that I have for much of my life participated in the co-creating experience unconsciously. There have been many times that I did not pay attention to my feelings when observing or interacting with something that had my attention. I would simply follow my feelings rather than consider what they might be trying to tell me. If the feeling were negative, I would often react with an outward burst of energy. A harsh word, an unkind look or at the very least a string of thoughts in my head that were one after the other filled with negative intention.
My “asking” would usually take one of two forms. Either, I want that, or I don’t want that. After many years of participating in this co-creative effort I have begun to understand the power of my focus and my feelings. I often wondered why when I observed or felt something that caused negative feelings within me, for example anger, fear, anxiety,depression,confusion,indifference etc.,and I would say or ‘ask” I don’t want that, I would continue to focus my attention on that particular thing or event. Why would I keep my attention focused on something I don’t want? Even more peculiar to me was the realization that even if I no longer was observing the unwanted thing but continued to think about it, before too long something very much like what I was thinking about showed up in my life. I began to realize that the words I spoke did not have nearly as much influence on my life as the
My feelings were my indicator that at that moment I was involved in the co-creative process. I was focused. What I have learned is I have the choice where my attention gets placed. No one other than me can take my attention from one place of focus and place it on another. It’s similar to being in a very dark room filled with many things I like and also many things I do not like. The mystery is I am not aware what the objects in the room are so I have yet to discover my preference about them. My focused attention is like shining a flashlight around this darkened room. The first illuminated object is a set of drums. I like drums! My feelings rise and I feel good. My attention, or spot light, now shifts to a view of a lake. I love water! I feel very good! Next my focus flash light finds a car with a flat tire. My feelings sink as I then begin to attach all the feelings of frustration and anxiety that a flat tire can offer. Each of these illuminated objects or experiences can provide the seed of a co-creative experience. If upon focusing on the flat tire experience I decide that somehow this event was providing me information, and I chose to look for what was possibly good about this experience;I have now shifted the experience from one of frustration to one continued on page 33
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A Mother’s Love for Her Son, HIS ROOM A SHRINE Back in the late 1920’s when my dad entered his teenage years, he was sent to work as a hired man on a farm near Verona. It was the custom at that time that if a family had a “surplus”of sons that one or two would be farmed out to other farms and the remaining sons stayed on the family farm to work with/for their dad. It was also the custom that the dad and not the son got the wages. My dad often talked about those days with mixed feelings. He admitted resentment to his own father,but he also had so many good memories of working for Oscar and Alice. That experience developed into a life time friendship, and it extended over to my becoming their friends, too. Oscar and Alice later moved from that Verona farm to a farm they purchased on highway 92 between Brooklyn and Belleville. They had one son,and he graduated from Belleville High School and was an excellent athlete. After high school he planned to go to Platteville for his college. But these were war years, and young men were usually drafted into the army right out of high school. But because he was a farmer’s son and an only son he would not be drafted. Much to the shock of his parents the son entered the army, and unfortunately he died in 1944 on a battlefield in Belgium. His mother never accepted the news of his death. She always insisted she would be seeing him again“some day”. No one ever questioned her to that meaning. She was bedridden for months after the news of his death arrived.Friends and family and her husband tried in all ways to reach her, but she resisted any efforts to do so. Eventually she got up and went through the motions of life. She had many nightmares and she was often fighting Hitler in her dreams. If she spoke of her son, it was always in the present tense. He was just away for a time. Oscar decided a change in their life might help, and he sold the farm, and they moved first to Brooklyn, and then they bought a house in Evansville. The moves did help, and Alice became part of the living, and she was very social and active in her new church. Her old church held too many memories for her. Oscar did not attend the new church with her, and she rarely attended his church with him. Memorial Day was a particularly bad day for Alice. There were too many reminders of dead service men and women. Living in town was bad, for she could hear the marching bands and taps and the gun salutes honoring the local service men and women that had been killed fighting for democracy. Oscar took her to friends that lived on a farm near Brooklyn,and Alice loved to walk and look for wild flowers in nearby woods and fields. Her friends were happy to have her, for she was a great delight to be around—you just had to be careful to control what you might say to remind her of her son and of Memorial Day. I remember sitting a few rows behind her in the movie theater in Evansville, and when the previews of the coming attraction were on the screen,a new World War II movie was to be the next week’s feature. I saw Alice bow her head low into her lap and cover her ears while the preview was on the screen. I saw her wipe her eyes of their tears when she sat up again and looked at the screen. My parents stayed in touch with them throughout all the years. I remember with great pain our first visit after the news of the son’s death. I remember the haunted look in her face and how thin she had become. I remember many visits to their home, and I fondly recall their visits to us. We moved to her husband’s family home near Dayton. She had the most beautiful laugh;she always had on many pieces of jewelry---large pieces for she was a tall woman. Oscar was shorter than the average man, and she was taller than the average woman. You could not help but notice them as the walked together because of the difference in height between the two. There was never a doubt how much they loved each other. I know it pained him they could not talk about the son or mention anything because she would not allow it. The son had won a Purple Heart, but Alice sent it back to the army, and later Oscar found a way to secretly get it back, and he stored it in his bank box, which I discovered after his death. As time went on her Brooklyn farm friends also moved to the city, and so we took over hosting her on Memorial Day. We added to the day’s activity a ride in the countryside avoiding all towns so she would not be facing any Memorial Day celebration. She loved to ride and look at things around her. We packed a picnic lunch and ate at a roadside somewhere on our travels. w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
As it is, time takes a toll, and suddenly Oscar faced health problems. He asked me if I would help Alice with the“book work”,and he asked me to take him to visit a religious shrine in CentralWisconsin. It gave him comfort in visiting there especially because he was facing surgery. It was a great day with lots of joy and hope and love among the five of us in that car. I suspect that I had in some way become the substitute son. Occasionally Alice would compare me in some way with him. She was starting at least to talk about him in small doses. Sad to report, Oscar suffered a bad stroke right after his surgery, and Alice tried to care for him at home, but she finally had to admit him to a nursing home. Oscar was fine mentally, and he wanted to go over“his books”with me which I gladly did. It was on one of those visits that he gave me his key to his bank box,and thus it was I found that Purple Heart and also pictures of the son’s grave in Belgium. A relative had taken the picture on a visit and apparently had secretly given the picture to Oscar. After Oscar’s death Alice depended more and more upon her circle of friends. She seemed to live well independently, and she loved our visits, and so enjoyed it when we went to get her and take her places or brought her to our house for gatherings and visits. She did not believe in doctors, and so when health issues came up it was difficult to see her declining especially mentally. One day friends found her hiding in the attic of her house. She told them some strangers had moved into her house,and she had to hide in the attic for protection. Her sisters got the power of attorney for me, and Alice lived out her life in a nursing home becoming more and more withdrawn in to her own world until she left to join that son and husband once more. It was then when I entered her empty house for the first time that I made the discovery: She had a room upstairs that had become a shrine to her son. The room was exactly the way it would have been the day he left for the army. It was a room from 1942. His letters to her were on the bed stand. His clothes hung in the closet,his school books and personal sports affects on tables and dressers throughout the room. The bed was made with great care, and windows were covered with the same curtains that were on his windows the day he left for the army. While it was a different house, she had recreated it exactly as from the house the boy had grown up in. I discovered through notes she had written that she often went to that room and sat and rocked for hours no doubt praying that he would come home and walk into that room and find his mother waiting for him. I discovered a pile of notes indicating he had sent her a War Bond each month during his time in the army. She had not cashed them in. However, he had a life insurance policy that sent her a small $50 check a month. She did cash them, and she often told us that she bought things for herself with that money because it felt then like a gift from him. Until I sold the house some time later and hired a professional sale’s group to handle the sale of the household items, I found myself entering that room and feeling like I was in a shrine. I did not touch or move a thing. It would stay that way until we had to clean out the house. Please don’t think badly about this woman. She faced her great loss the only way she could. She was a normal loving happy person in all other ways, but like many other mothers she had a great personal tragedy that could not and would not go away,and her shrine helped her cope and survive. The last thing I did with my power of attorney was to contact grave stone engravers, and I had an inscription put on the back of Alice and Oscar’s stone: "Son Maroy Died in W.W.II 1944". In that way they were back together again. Written by: Bob Hoffman • Photos supplied.
Six Shooter Records Just Northeast of us here in Southern Wisconsin lays Toronto, Canada home of one very cool indie record label,Six Shooter Records. Six Shooter Records is an independent record label, based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The music label was founded by Shauna de Cartier in 2000. Founder Shauna de Cartier says she is motivated by "the art, rather than the commerce”. The label comes from a core value that Shauna holds about the importance of art in our society. I had met some staffers of Six Shooter Records last fall at the Americana Music Association Conference and enjoyed visiting with them. I personally like Amelia Curran and Justin Rutledge two of the many artists on Six Shooter. Their music is incredible. By far two of the best artists I have ever heard. Shauna de Cartier was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to talk to me about Six Shooter Records. It was a wonderfully enjoyable conversation with a very bright, driven, label executive. No fuzzy answers, just honest to the point in her responses. Shauna is a leading example of how to start and run the business of your dreams. She has definitely taken the predominantly man’s world of record label ownership to a new level. Her business savvy and sense of community is making Six Shooter Records a force to be reckoned with in the music industry. Here is a listing of Six Shooter artists and management clients: Label and Management Roster:Amelia Curran; Captain Tractor; Chris Wynters; Christine Fellows; Elliott Brood; Ford Pier; Jenn Grant; Justin Rutledge; Luke Doucet; Martin Tielli; Melissa McClelland;NQ Arbuckle;Valery Gore;Veal,Wendy McNeill.Management Roster: Amelia Curran (Six Shooter); Christine Fellows (Six Shooter); Hawksley Workman (Universal); Jenn Grant (Six Shooter),Justin Rutledge (Six Shooter);Luke Doucet (Six Shooter); Martin Tielli (Six Shooter); Melissa McClelland (Six Shooter); Rheostatics (True North); RoyalWood (Dead Daisy);Shout Out Out Out Out (NormalsWelcome);Veal (Six Shooter); Wet Secrets AG: How did Six Shooter Records come about? Shauna: I started Six Shooter in 2000. This is our tenth year. I was an artist’s manager and I was putting out records anyway. So I started a label and my first release was Luke Doucet, his first solo album Hello Manitoba. AG: With your artist management were you just managing local acts or were you doing it on a regional level? Shauna: I was pretty new to it. I had only been managing acts for a couple of years, but I was managing on a national level. AG: Did you go to college for artist management or music business? Shauna: Not for this in general. I do have an MBA and I had worked in the non-profit area as a theater manager. I had a lot of experience in marketing and management from previous work. It was an easy transition to move into artist management. AG: In Canada do you wear a lot of hats such as booking agent, producer, etc? Shauna: In Canada most of the times these are separate entities. There are some managers who do everything for their clients. Because Canada is such a smaller market than the US or Europe you have to be able to handle everything that comes your way. Management and label owner is much more common than manager and booking agent. That’s why I have an artist management company and Six Shooter Records. I have been structured as that since my second year of operation. I am a member of the board of CIMA (Canadian Independent Music Association) which is largely record labels. AG: When you sign acts is it usually a one album deal, and then see how they sell? Shauna: The way I do it now is that I look at them as an artist management deal first. I do manage artists that are not on my label.That is because they immediately don’t fit or they are signed to a different label. I generally don’t sign artists to my label that I don’t manage. What we look for is great artists that I’m convinced are the real deals. The kind of artists that could not or would not be anything but musicians the rest of their lives.
The kind that have staying power. I like artisst that are very strong lyrically. I can’t suffer bad lyrics. I know that it is not fashionable in the current markets,but I like artists that can play their instruments really, really well. AG: In Canada do you have problems with major labels trying to “steal” you artists? Shauna: I find that the way the major labels are structured now they are more interested in buying your independent label than stealing your artists. I’m distributed by Warner Brothers and it is a great relationship. They have shown some interest in some of my artists, and have even given me money to promote these artists. Because I am the manager of theses artists I’m not misaligned that way. If a bigger company wants to work with one of my artists and it is the best thing for that artist, though sometimes it is not that I am in support of them. If an artist is signed by a major label that works for Six Shooter too because we have the back catalog of that artist. When you don’t have that and a major label takes an artist away from you, it is a drag! For me because of our structure that is not really a problem. It aligns you and the artist together. All my deals with the artists are 50/50 deals. I still front all the money. The sprit of the deal is that when the record recoups the expense we each profit 50/50 together for the rest of time. What that structure does is supports a great collaborative teamwork approach to their careers and how we are going to do things. I am rarely in conflict with an artist on my label because of this. What we have at Six Shooter is the value of community. I create a lot of areas where artists collaborate together and become friends. It’s really a great feeling to have this kind of relationship with the artists and artists to artist. AG: Are you the only woman in Canada that heads a record label? Shauna: There are a lot of woman in Canada that work in the music industry, but most are managers. The ones that have very active labels as I do such as my friend Sue who manages Blue Rodeo;they operate their own labels in the US with no other artist signed to them. There is a woman in Calgary Dawn Lokes who has a label called Saved by Radio and a label called Saved by Vinyl. Currently she is not as active as I am. She is though very busy with the vinyl side of her business. I think I’m pretty much it. AG: So what made you want to get into the music business? Shauna: Well it’s a long story. I had this great job as the marketing manager at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton. It was a 60,000 capacity stadium. I was working on my MBA and I was taking an entrepreneur class which I was addicted to. In one crazy week I got four job offers and I was not even looking for a job at the time. That never happens to anyone! I decided that I better take a closer look at what I wanted to do with my life so I took some time to reflect. I realized that (A) I wanted to work for myself, and (B) I wanted to work in the arts. continued on page 33
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Fanny’s House of Music
...and very cool vintage clothing!
It’s not very often when I walk into a music store that women’s vintage clothing is also a staple of the store’s inventory.Well in reality it has never happened until I entered Fanny’s in East Nashville in the spring of 2009. Needless to say Joyce was very excited because it gave her something to do while I shopped for the next big deal! Fanny’s House of Music located at 1101 Holly Street in East Nashville, just a short stroll from the Five Points area is well worth the trip to visit. Ever since it has opened it has created the kind of“buzz”most retailers’wish they could have. Fanny’s is the kind of music store most of us“boomers”grew up with. You know the mom & pop store where they gave lessons, had cool old guitars and amps at affordable prices, and the kind of place you wish you could own someday. Along with their great selection of instruments they also have vintage women’s clothing, locally made fashions, and jewelry. Forget the mall, come here instead. The store has a large ever changing inventory of instruments and amps. Gibson,Fender,and Kustom tuck and roll amps from the 60’s find their way into the store on a regular basis. Cool vintage guitar lines like Tiesco, Hagstrom, Harmony, Kay, and Fender are always showing up to be sold or traded. They also take in consignment instruments to sell. You don’t have to be a Country musician to shop here. On the contrary, this is more of a folky/indie music store. The owners Leigh Maples and Pamela Cole welcome every genera of musician and clothes hound to their store. The store has a large ever changing inventory of instruments and amps. Both Maples and Cole have worked in the Music industry in Nashville. Maples attended Belmont University and has performed and recorded with many top artists. Pamela Cole has worked in music publishing,record labelA&R development andArtist Management and is a Belmont University graduate with a Music Business degree. The concept of the store came from the women’s non-ability to find a music store they felt comfortable going to. In a recent article in the Nashville Scene, Maples related her frustration“As a bassist, it became increasingly hard for me to find in music stores an instrument that would both suit my needs and was also comfortable,” Maples said.“Nothing against any other music store where I’ve shopped before,but it just became harder and also I found that it wasn’t always the warmest environment.Both Pamela and I had talked a long time about possibly going into business,so we just felt that the time was right now for a different type of music store,and especially one here in East Nashville.”
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Fanny’s has a special program called“Kid’s Rock Band,” a six-week course with students assigned to a group and instructed as a whole ensemble.Such elements as basic rhythm,chord placements, groove and learning to perform together will be part of the program and students can name the band,pick the songs and hold a performance at the store. The other side of the store is its vintage clothing. The fashions on display are very colorful and interesting to say the least (don’t forget this writer is a 52 year old northern boy)! Joyce found them to be exciting and affordable! I did find a cool pair of boots with rhinestones on but Joyce would not wear them! No worry though, Joyce did find something to purchase! The idea of a“one stop”shopping experience for musicians is a fantastic idea. Younger musicians will find visiting Fanny’s House of music very pleasurable and us“old”guys will also find it a“cool”time! The pairs focus on the neighborhood’s large community of singers, songwriters and instrumentalists who live and work in East Nashville also had a hand in opening the store. There is no place in the immediate area to shop for instruments or stage clothing. Maples commented in the same Nashville scene article that “we decided that we would create a music store that would be a bit different in its operation.We’re really interested in making things family-friendly, and encouraging more participation by both people in the community and our customers.” Judging from the crowded store I have visited on numerous occasions, the pair have been very successful in their plan and dream. So next time you are in Nashville Check out Fanny’s and the whole neighborhood. (You can find Fanny’s House of Music on the web at fannyshouseofmusic.com,on myspace, and facebook. You can give them a call at 615- 750-5746) Story by:Andy Ziehli • Photos by: Paul Griffith w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
A recent trip across most of the length of Wisconsin from home to Bayfield reminded me on what a beautiful state we have. Wisconsin the Badger State, the 30th State, the state with Forward as its motto,the Progressive State,and I would add Wisconsin,a very green state. The greens this year seem more lush than usual.The trees are full of leaves, the pine trees of all varieties green in various hues, the corn tall and extremely green,the soy bean fields another rich green,pastures and hay fields more green. The occasional golden grain fields only highlight the green more. Our many hills and valleys and streams and lakes only add to the beauty of Wisconsin.
Do you realize that Belleville is located in a valley? Come east on highway W and on the last big hill as you come from the west, and you can spot the big valley in which Belleville rests. Another great view of that valley is to come from the west on Tunnel Road, and at the top of the hill that takes you down to the abandoned railroad tracks is a perfect view of that valley. If you are traveling on either road during the early morning, you might see pockets of fog hanging over parts of the valley. The name Wisconsin comes from Native Americans living here. It was the name given to the big river they called the Meskousing River. The French changed the spelling to Ouisconsin, which became easy to put into English as Wisconsin. Let’s assume someone asked you to tell them what to see and do in their visit here. Obviously you would encourage them to travel both north and south and east and west through Wisconsin.That will give the visitor a great look at the variety of land formations and vegetation. What else would you suggest to them? I would suggest the visitor visit the drift less area of southwest Wisconsin; I would suggest they spend a day or two in Madison and the same with Milwaukee. I would suggest a visit to Lake Geneva, Baraboo, the Dells, any city or town on Lake Michigan. I would certainly tell them to visit Door County and Bayfield County. Douglas,Brown,and Lacrosse Counties are must-sees.See how the list and visit can grow? A couple acquaintances are planning what they call “stayvactions”. They are simply taking a day trip now and then all summer long. They will leave early in the morning and return that night avoiding lodging costs. One is planning those excursions around good spots for homemade pie. Now isn’t that a great family! On Wisconsin! As I thought about our state, I listed mentally the names of famous people born and/or raised here: SpencerTracey,Fredric March,Agnes Moorehead,Orson Wells,Liberace,Les Paul, Jane Smiley, August Derleth, the Ringling Brothers, Bob Uecker, Don Ameche, Jeanne Dixon,Chris Farley,Woody Herman,Allen Ludden,Frank Lloyd Wright,and Georgia O”Keeffe just to start a list. When you think of Wisconsin you think of the Packers, the Bucks, the Brewers, and, of course, the Badgers. It is amazing that in some part of the country there is little known about our state. We were invited to a wedding a few summers ago. At the reception I was standing next to a man that turned out to be the husband of the woman that performed the wedding ceremony that day. After he found out that I had lived my entire life here, he told me that he had never been to Wisconsin before (they lived in Chicago), and he has some
image of a backwoods area almost primitive in his view. But after this, he added that he would be coming back to visit as often as possible. He was overwhelmed with the hills, valleys, the greens, and the people. When I was teaching, a colleague told of a cousin and family in Chicago that did not visit here because they were afraid of the wild life and savages that lurked in our woods and forests. They were also afraid of cows! I have been lucky enough to attend two Rose Bowl games featuring the Badgers. On both occasions I ran into people on streets or at the game that had no clue where Wisconsin was or what would be found if they went there. They usually mentioned they knew about the Packers and that was it. In a mall a young kid followed me around asking all about the Packers, his favorite team even though he lived in L.A. On NewYear’s Eve,I was having supper in a restaurant near our hotel. I was wearing a Wisconsin sweat shirt. The waiter asked what that meant and why was I wearing it. I asked him if he knew about the Rose Bowl, and he said that he did. I told him we were one of the teams in the Rose Bowl, and his smart remark was that we were going to lose. You can be sure his tip decreased on the spot. But now looking back maybe we are lucky that we are pretty much unknown to a lot of people. We don’t need them. Let them think they live in the land of milk and honey, but in reality we live in the land of milk and honey. On Wisconsin! And if you are not already full of this Wisconsin stuff, try to last through this last paragraph. I completed a new book entitled SWEET AND SOUR PIE,A WISCONSIN BOYHOOD by Dave Crehore. The story takes place on the shores of Lake Michigan. It is a quick and easy read of short chapters detailing various memories he has from his boyhood growing up in Wisconsin in the 1950’s. It was a very enjoyable read, and I found that I could relate to most of his memories. Try it. It is available through the library system----and Wisconsin has a great library system, too. On Wisconsin! Written by: Bob Hoffman w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
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Peter Cooper ♪♪♪♪♪ The Lloyd Green Album Style: Folk/Americana/Country Red Beet Records Peter Cooper is one of the brightest shinning lights in Americana Music today! His songwriting and vocal style are unique in the best possible way! What a better way to add to the mix than to have Lloyd Green play on your new CD. For those of you who are not familiar with Lloyd Green shame on you! Go directly to the web and listen and read everything you can about this gentleman and I do mean gentleman. Lloyd Green wrote the book on Steel Guitar playing! He is by far the best that has ever been and I don’t hear anybody coming up that is even close. This is not Cooper and Green’s first time recording together, and let’s hope it is not their last. This CD is filled with wonderful songs both Cooper originals and fantastic covers that showcase this pairs talents! Cooper knows how to pick songs and how to deliver them right to your heart. Green’s playing just adds to the flavoring to make it perfect. The CD features songs by Rodney Crowell,Todd Snider,Tom T. Hall and other great writers besides Cooper. Cooper and Snider's I got a lot of love is a hilarious song. Crowell’s Tulsa Queen is as strong a version as Emmylou Harris’s. The most thought provoking song on the CD is Tom T. Halls Mama bake a pie, Daddy kill a chicken. A very poignant anti war song about a vet coming home who lost his legs. It is just as thought provocative toady as it was when it was written during Vietnam. Cooper’s delivery of this classic is spellbinding. My favorite cut is a Cooper original,in fact the first Peter Cooper song I ever heard him play, Gospel Song. It is one of my favorite songs of all time. My next favorite song on the CD is Dumb Luck by Cooper. It is not often that you can put yourself into a song and feel honest about it, but these two tunes do it to me every time I hear them. Green’s playing is stellar! To hear him play makes one want to weep as he bends notes and slides in perfect pitch to ad his magic to each song. To see Green play live is something you will never forget. His simple setup of one neck, four knee levers, three pedals, and a fender tube amp put the gear hounds to shame. It’s not the gear that makes him sound great, it’s his talent! Just listen to this CD and I know you will agree.
Kaia Fowler ♪♪♪♪♪ Seams of My Heart
The Farewell Drifters Yellow Tag Monday’s
Style: Americana / Folk Independent Release by Kaia Fowler
Style: Bluegrass Independent Release by the Farewell Drifters
This is the first release by Kaia Fowler, whom moved to Whitewater in 2003 and it’s a good one. Fowler has been making the Folk circuit in South East Wisconsin for the past couple years, slowly making a name for herself. Seams of My Heart is a flawless CD, one of the best local CD’s I have heard in a long time. Recorded by Pat Lilley at Nexus Studios in Waukesha, this CD is well put together with fantastically written songs. Outstanding cuts include Ask the night, Let him be, and Feelin Alright which is my favorite cut of the 12 on this CD. Each song is very well written, with a true authenticity of life to them. You can picture yourself or someone you know in each story line. When a CD is sparsely orchestrated as Seams of my Heart is the lyrics need to help carry the load and they do. Fowler is a tremendous lyricist. Her lyrics paint pictures and her musical notes add the color to her songs. She wrote all the songs on this CD, and she deserves all the credit for creating such works of art. Helping Fowler out on this recording were Randy Sabien on fiddle and mandolin, Paul Bast on resonator guitar, Jeremy Ruetebuch on Jamba drum, Sam Steffke on keyboards, and Kendra Steube on cello. Each of theses fine musicians adds their own flavor to this musical mix with fantastic results. I really really like this CD. I have seen Fowler live and her performances are true to this recording. There were not a lot of studio tricks here. Just great songs, performed by great musicians and that equals a great recording. Watch for Fowler playing in your area. She deserves a shot at bigger things. This CD should do the trick. Review by: Andy Ziehli
This band rocks! Okay they roll too with their incredible picking and singing. The Farewell Drifters are one of the top up and coming Bluegrass bands in Nashville. The five members are all accomplished players and vocalists. Mandolinist Josh Britt has turned into quite a songwriter over the past couple of years. Nine of the 14 tracks here were written or co-written by Britt. Lead vocalist Zach Bevill wrote or co-wrote six of the songs here too. This is a unit built for the long haul! The CD is filled with what the Farewell Drifters do best and that is picking and singing. The vocals rival rock superstars the Eagles in their complexity and clear tones. Now I know Bluegrass purists don’t like to hear that but let’s give credit where credit is do. Theses boys can sing! Outstanding cuts are the whole CD. There is not one song better than another which is a statement in its self. New addition Christian Sedelmyer on fiddle is incredible. Banjo picker Trevor Brandt left the group after this was recorded to pursue a life outside of music. It’s too bad because he was a hell of a banjo picker. Bassist Dean Marold plays flawlessly here and really anchors the Farewell Drifters sound. The Britt boys Josh and Clayton are utterly fantastic pickers. Clayton reminds me of a young Clarence White in his style and speed. If you love Bluegrass in the traditional since there is plenty of that here for you, but if you also like a little modernness to your grass that’s included t00! Search and find this CD and make it part of your collection. It’s the whole package just like the Farewell Drifters themselves!!! Review by: Andy Ziehli continued on page 31
DAN BAIRD and HOMEMADE SIN
Featuring Dan Baird, Mauro Magellan and Keith Christopher – former members of the Georgia Satellites and Warner E. Hodges, lead guitar player of Jason and the Scorchers!
This CD is a must to every CD collection! Review by:Andy Ziehli
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FRIDAY, AUGUST 27, 2010 THE DRY BEAN 5264 VERONA ROAD MADISON, WI
SATURDAY, AUGUST 28, 2010 KNUT’S BAR 206 E. BELOIT STREET ORFORDVILLE, WI.
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Eric Brace & Peter Cooper The Master Sessions
Style: Folk/Americana Red Beet Records As I said in another review for another artist the CD’s just keep getting better! The new CD from Eric Brace & Peter Cooper, “The Master Sessions” features Mike Auldridge on Dobro from the Seldom Scene and Lloyd Green on Steel Guitar. Two hero’s of Brace’s and Coopers, and soon to be hero’s of everyone who hears this CD!
Anne McCue ♪♪♪♪♪ Broken Promise Land Style: : Americana/Country-Rock Anne McCue grew up in Australia, but her music is as Americana as it gets these days. She was raised in a family of musicians and that is apparent not only in her technical skills on the guitar, but also in her understanding and appreciation of the artists that have inspired and motivated her. Her first band was an indie hard-rock band in Australia, but you wouldn’t guess it listening to her latest effort Broken Promise Land. She is now one of the most talented driven women in the world of country rock, and people have taken notice including Lucinda Williams, who has called McCue her favorite new singer. On Broken Promise Land, McCue is mindful of those who have come before her, but manages not to patronize any one musician or style. The album starts with Don’t Go to Texas (Without Me),which is an upbeat, easily-to-listen-to song that engages the listener, softening them up for the more open bluesy songs that follow.This is the most poppy song on the album. It is reminiscent of a Texan version of Sheryl Crow with a hearty dose of realism and a heavier backing band.The next song is the somber Ol’ Black Sky which starts with a subdued McCue bemoaning the track’s namesake until the bluesrock guitars hit the pedal and pick up the pace driving home McCue’s angst. McCue has a beautiful voice that sounds a bit like Gillian Welch or a more intense straightforward Emmylou Harris. Her voice is her weapon of choice, but she manages to reveal herself just as much through her guitar which,on many of the songs,tends to gain momentum as the song progresses. Her voice as melodic as it is also has a kind of melancholy quality to it, and combined with the raw sound she achieves gives “Broken Promise Land”a surprisingly personal edge to it.
Flynnville Train Redemption
Style: Southern Rock Next Evolution Records Flynnville Train is a distinctly southern band.Their particular brand of country rock is clearly influenced by the classics, like Lynryd Skynrd as well as modern country music.There is a sense of nostalgia to their music, and it seems like these guys would have been just as happy if they had come along twenty or thirty years ago. This album consists primarily of first-take recordings, so the songs almost sound live which seems to be an environment in which Flynnville Train would thrive. From Middletown, Indiana, Flynnville Train lifts the listener up and drops them smack-dab in the sweat-soaked South,then takes a hard turn toward Nashville with their country and blues-inspired rock. Leaving the station more than a decade ago with miles and miles of road behind them, and hours upon hours seated at the writing table or standing on stage, the four men aboard Flynnville Train are Brian Flynn (lead vocals), Brent Flynn (lead guitar/vocals),Damon Michael (Bass),Tommy Bales (Drums). The guitar parts are pretty standard. There are a few surprising twists and turns, but they are few and far between. Most of the songs on Redemption are rough-and-tumble jams about good old boys and down home American values.This album takes the route that many country artists take,catering to the blue-collar sensibilities of the majority of their listeners. You do get the sense that these guys really mean it.There are some feeble attempts at political statements,but for the most part Flynnville Train sticks to what they know, which is good ole country-fried rock and roll music. Give them a listen for yourself.
Brace & Cooper have a knack of picking fantastic songs to perform live and record. Both are absolute solid writers in their own rights, but are clever and forthright in picking songs from other writers that showcases their talent. Their harmonies blend so well in songs like Herb Pederson’s Wait a minute, a staple of the Seldom Scene for years. Brace & Cooper have been doing this song in their live shows for quite a long time, and it’s great to see them record it. They cover Tom T. Halls I flew over Our House Last Night which Brace has played for years in Last Train Home. Another triumph for the duo! It does not matter who is singing lead on a song, they are both capable. Brace’s voice is strong and clear on this CD. It is an instrument in its own right. The deep baritone rings loud and forceful making sure you pay attention to the song. Cooper’s voice gets better every time I hear him. It has warmth to it that puts you at ease and stays with you long after the song is finished. His vocal style lends itself to singing perfect harmonies. Auldridge’s Dobro playing is stellar. His addition to this CD was a brilliant stroke of genius. His playing style adds perfectly to Braces & Coopers vocals. What can you say about Lloyd Green’s playing that has not already been said? Green is a true master in every sense of the word! His fills and solos are silky magic to this CD. My favorite cut on the CD is Big Steve. A song every musician/bartender/doorman will appreciate. Its clever storyline rings true for all of you who have ever been one of the last people to leave after the band is done. This CD is one of the top 10 CD’s I have reviewed this year. It is one of the best recordings I have heard. Brace & Cooper are a force in Americana Music today both as soloist and as duo partners. A true homerun here! Make plans to buy it!!! Review by:Andy Ziehli
Reviewed by: Joe Lowery McCue also has an ability to take the listener to a specific place, which, unless you’re Bob Dylan or Steve Earle is not as easy as it might seem.Another one of the album’s highlights is the somber, slyly sexy Motorcycle Dream. This is one of many songs that sound like she could be right there in the room with you and the song wouldn’t sound much different. This is because Anne McCue is a talented musician who is passionate about what she does. On Broken Promise Land she makes sure that everyone knows it. Review by: Joe Lowery
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One of the job offers was managing my friend’s band. They had asked me many times in the past to manage them but I was always too busy,it was not enough money, and I was to insecure to take on that task. Realizing that was the best fit for me. Everyone thought I was crazy because I turned down some really big well paying jobs for that one. I really have never looked back from that. My first job was working for a theater and I loved it. I was my job and my job was me. I did not want anything else. I later moved on to more corporate jobs and did very well in them, but working for myself and in the arts is the best fit for me. I get a tremendous amount of fulfillment out of what I am doing and I feel as if I am really building something here at Six Shooter Records. AG: How many employees work at Six Shooter? Shauna: There are six of us here. AG: Did you grow up in a musical household? Shauna: I play music, but I would not say that I grew up in a musical household. I am the only one of my five brothers and sisters that does play. It’s a very liberal household to grow up in where the arts were valued and enjoyed. AG: How hard is it to break an artist today? Shauna: It’s impossible!!! (she laughs) It’s very hard. Our artists tour extensively. In the US it is just about impossible to get touring going there. Even in Europe it’s easier to get touring going and exposure for artists. America is a tough nut to crack! Our artists as I said earlier tour,tour,tour. That’s the hard way but we get a lot of good press because of this and the caliber of music we put out. It is very high! So we tend to get great reviews. Four star reviews are the norm for a Six Shooter Record. We are continually nominated for awards and we win a lot of awards. We get a tremendous amount of support from the press. AG: Once you have broken an artist in Canada do you get television exposure or is usually just radio? Shauna: We are very blessed to have a national radio station CVC which plays Canadian artists all the time. They play all our artists which really helps. There are two stations CVC 1 and CVC 2 which is the station that really is very helpful to Six Shooter Records. They seem to like our artists and their music. College and Community stations also tend to play our music a lot. We have had some success in the US withTripleA,Americana,and Non-Commercial stations playing Six Shooter artists too. AG: What’s the future look like for Six Shooter Records? Shauna: Well I can’t say better, because I don’t think it can get any better than it has been going for us. What we are already doing is top caliber. We are really hoping to penetrate the US more in the future. It’s a funny thing living in Canada and in the shadow of the US as a bigger sibling and market to crack. You really have to make it there if you want to make it big anywhere else. So we are focused on that. We have the right artists and caliber of music to do that, its just going to take time. We are ready for that challenge now. AG:Thanks Shauna for your time. We here at the Americana Gazette love Six Shooter artists Justin Rutledge and Amelia Curran. They are fantastic acts! Shauna: Thank you. Thank you too for loving our artists!
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of gratitude. The small shift in my focus or attention had the power to steer me to a place of feeling better about it all. There is value to the adage of making lemonade out of lemons.
Wilkinson. That’s how the Frontiersmen Started. Later on we added a steel player named Tony Burke. Tony was one of those guys who always played in pitch. He was never off. (Anderson then gave me the picture of the band)
The clarity I feel about my power to create and direct my life experience is the fog I find myself coming out of.The times that I find myself saying,“I don’t want more of that,”are now times that I deeply appreciate. I realize this contrasting experience is a wonderful friend. If I can not judge the experience but rather appreciate my feelings about it, I then have a powerful ally in my creative process. If I continue to welcome all experiences, then evaluate how they make me feel, I become a clearer co-creator of my life. If I follow what feels good, for example, what makes me feel happy, content, inspired, generous or excited then I discover an unfolding of events that will bring to me more of those type of experiences. The unfolding of events in Bayfield meant a great deal to me, and to only me. To Bob and friends Joe and Jim those events were interesting or amusing. To me, they were amazing. Inside of me an expansion took place that continues to feel wonderful. I bet if I asked the others today to recall said events they would be hard pressed to recall the events at all. It was the physical manifestation of what I had been asking for unfolding right in front of me. To them they were just this and that. That’s a good thing! It proved to me that I can “ask” for many things to be a part of my life and in my asking I am not taking from anyone else. My “asking” has all it needs to come to me if it continues to be something that feels good,and will not impact the“asking”of Bob,Joe or Jim. They are “asking” for different things in different ways that only they are deeply connected to. I found great inspiration in my clarity that there is enough of everything to allow me to experiences my“asking”again and again. My life is an ongoing ever expanding experience. What joy I find in considering that I have what I need built within me to continue to experience a life made up of my dreams and desires. All I need to do is express the desire, “ask”, and then observe what is before me while allowing, not resisting, the unfolding of events that create a clear and well lit path full of my desires. You may wonder why I am moved to offer this consideration in a publication like the Americana Gazette. My hunch is that you dear reader are on the same sort of journey. The musicians, artists, business people and all others who have found this publication are more than likely already aware of the creative process. My hope is that if you find yourself stuck or in a place where things are not feeling so good you might have here a reminder or perhaps a first glimpse at a way to experience some relief. Your creative efforts in all their variety and form bring joy and employment and insight and a myriad of other thoughts and feelings to those that receive it. My hope is that all of us can have a new awareness of our powerful selves. We can live the life of our dreams, create the vision of our imagination, and experience unending pleasure in our lives. The journey provides ongoing information for us as we travel from desire to experience. Be easy about it. Don’t make a big deal about it. Seek relief when feeling overwhelmed and remember that you can not do it wrong. There is always another opportunity to consider where our attention is placed and we get to decide if we want to head in that direction or chose again.
Story by: Andy Ziehli • Photos supplied. Happily, the rudder is in our hands. Written by: Jim Smith w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
AG: Wow you guys are all dressed up! Anderson: That’s how we dressed. We tried to put some class into Country Music. We had matching jackets in red, blue, and buckskin with gold fringes on our pants. I don’t know why I have a white coat on in this picture, because I don’t recall owning a white coat! My brother’s wife started making uniforms for us with short jackets like Buck Owens had. Our buckskin uniforms had moccasins and raccoon skin caps. I’ll never forget the night we opened a show at the Orpheum in Madison for Johnny Russell. He came out on stage and took one look at us in our outfits and went “Holy God!” We tried to have a more uptown image than the other bands that were playing out at the time. We wanted to set ourselves apart. Not that we were better just a little different than most of the bands. AG: Did you guys play full-time or did you have day jobs too? Anderson: We all had day jobs. We played two to three nights a week. We were playing all the local beer joints and honkytonks. One night I said“boys we are going to take our music uptown.” They all said “that will never work”. So we started working the Supper Club circuit and did so the last six years or so of our playing. We didn’t work many honky tonks after that. We would never play the same place more than once a month so that the crowd would not tire of us. AG: What year did you start the Frontiersmen? Anderson: It was 1961. We played until 1970. We were fortunate that we got to work with great local promoters like Bill McMann at WIBU,Skip Nelson in Madison,and Jimmy Jay out of Beloit. All these guys had us opening and or backing single country artists when they came through to play shows. We had to learn their songs to back them. We did an awful lot of backup work for many years. We had a very good show routine. I had gone to Chicago to see a concert and was very intrigued by the entertaining the act was doing, and how the crowd was really getting into them. Working with the acts that were coming through from Nashville I noticed too that there was just as much joking and entertaining as song playing. We took our ques from that, did our best and developed a routine and show that we did nightly. We just did not play songs, we entertained. (Anderson then showed me a picture of a bus with a huge dent in it) AG: You had a bus! Anderson: We had a bus. We were going to Nashville for our first Disc Jockey conference and a woman came across two lanes of traffic and hit the bus in the third lane under the driver’s window denting the hell out of it. Our first trip to Nashville was in a dented crashed bus! We got the bus fixed and used it for many years. AG: Back in the 60’s when you were working the circuits around here was there a lot of competition? Anderson: There were a lot of different bands. If we would have stayed with the honky tonks we would have been competing for a lot of jobs. One band that we always went to see on our nights off was Jerry Francois and Donny Ward playing at Johnny’s Hillbilly Heaven. I just loved their harmony and they had Billy Wayne Hamilton on steel guitar. He had played steel with George Jones. Nobody around here could play like Billy, and no one sang like Jerry and Donny together. One night Billy and a bunch of us were in Tony’s basement pretty full and he was trying to teach us the Nashville Numbering system. Needless to say we were all to full to comprehend what he was saying and I don’t think he even remembered trying to teach us! AG: You played with the Frontiersmen until 1970. Then you went to Wyoming? continued on backcover
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World and Cashbox in 1967, was one of the top five finalists in the Country Music Association's "Instrumentalist Of The Year" award in 1973 and 1974 and received the "Most Valuable Player" award by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (N.A.R.A.S) in 1978 and 1979. He was elected into the "Steel Guitar Hall of Fame" in St. Louis, Missouri in 1988. In the late 1980's,before an ear infection forced him into semi-retirement, Lloyd Green did session work with artists like Ricky Skaggs, Lorrie Morgan, the Whites and Nancy Griffith, and performed occasional concerts and
McInerney (from Nanci Griffith's Blue Moon Orchestra) is on drums and Richard Bennett plays guitar. Kenny Chesney sings harmony with us on the first song, the old Seldom Scene (Mike's former band) classic, "Wait A Minute." These CD’s have a scheduled release date of approximately the first week in September 2010. No specific date yet. Please be watching for these. Many of our readers are familiar with Peter Cooper and Eric Brace from past stories, so you know these new CD’s will be top notch! Andy and listened to both of them and they are incredible. Story by: Joyce Ziehli Info and photos supplied by Peter Cooper and the Lloyd Green Tribute Website
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water. I was not impressed, that situation could have been handled much differently. AW: Are you sick of friends asking for tickets for sold out shows? Steel Guitar Shows around the country. After 2001, Lloyd made a phenomenal musical comeback which was not only enthusiastically acclaimed by the Steel Guitar community but also very welcome by those audiences who appreciate the individual style and musical inventiveness in comparison to the technically perfect but "uniform" sounds mostly coming out of the Nashville recording studios these days. The comeback included appearances at the Grand Ole Opry as well as the production of an instrumental video, together with Grand Ole Opry staff player Tommy White ("An Evening Of E-9th") and his fantastic new CD album "Lloyd Green - Revisited" in 2003. He also returned to session work in the studio, playing for today's top stars like Alan Jackson and Steve Wariner.Especially his hauntingly beautiful playing on Alan Jackson's "Remember When" brought back memories of the days when the personal creativity and style of a musician made the difference between a record soon to be forgotten and one that is likely to become a classic. On February 18,2006,Lloyd was the first member of the famous Nashville "A Team" of studio musicians and session players, to be featured in a new series of events, hosted by the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee. The presentation featured Lloyd, talking about his amazing career as well as providing examples of his magic playing. Lloyd Green has played Steel Guitar and Dobro on more than 10,000 recording sessions.This means, on an average of three to four songs per session, he can be heard on more than 30,000 songs, thus making him one of the most recorded steel guitarist in the history of the instrument. THE UNTITLED CD….. No title has been figured out for the other album, but it will come out at the same time as The Lloyd Green Album.This one is the next Eric Brace & Peter Cooper album, and it features Lloyd and Dobro great Mike Auldridge. Jen Gunderman plays keyboards (as she does on the Lloyd Green album), Dave Roe plays bass, Pat
SL: Eh, when it's sold out, and if we have room I'm happy to help. My bigger issue is with people who I only know through the Majestic asking to be put on the list. If we're friends, I want to share things like sold out shows with you. If we're not, well I'm not a charity. AW:You were a full-time musician for many years and you've been a venue owner for many years now. Did being a musician prepare you for running and booking a large venue like the Majestic? Or do you think if you hit the road again to play music- would you being a venue owner help you more to handle the day to day tasks of a touring musician. Or are they completely different? SL: The two are amazingly intertwined. There is no doubt in my mind that being on the road helped me craft the artist experience at the Majestic.When we first looked at the building, the first thing I noticed was the load in and how easy it would be. I am really neurotic about things like our dressing rooms and the bathroom staying clean. At the same time, even though I wasn't also tour managing, I was settling our shows every night so I saw some of the bullshit that gives club owners and promoters a bad name. A classic example was getting charged retail price for beer, with sales tax on top of that. If I went back out on the road, I would certainly sympathize a lot more with club owners than I once did because it sucks to lose money. I wouldn't say that having been a promoter or club owner would prepare me for hitting the road again though, not nearly as much as being a musician prepared me for this. AW:This summer is turning into the summer of failed tours for big artists across the nation and summer is usually a slow time for indoor shows.Yet you recently sold out 4 shows in a row in the dead of summer. Do you think the media tends to grasp on to an idea and run with it or are you hearing a rumblings from the artist that play at the Majestic that times are hard? SL: We sell out shows because of the artists. No promoter is good enough to manufacture a fan base.So you have to treat people well enough to get people who can sell out to come play your club.That's a big thing for us, everyone no matter what leaves happy, from the lead singer to the drum tech. It's not hard. Some nice hospitality, a good meal and a clean dressing room is 99% of it. At the same time you have to be a place that people enjoy going to. Our audience gets to feel like they are at a pretty special place. Sure our drinks are a little more
expensive and we have ticket fees also, but we're always aware that people have to like going to your venue,so our prices are premium but not insulting.Our staff treats people well, our security don't beat people up, this all helps. But we're also much smaller and have to sell fewer tickets. As far as the shows that are really under performing, you have tours that are being contrived and being placed into venues that are simply much too big for them.Ticket prices are out of control and so are ticket fees. Live Nation eliminating fees for a month does nothing but tell everyone that the other 11 months out of the year you are being ripped off. Look, ticketing companies need to make money too, and consumers get that, but they also don't like being ripped off, and they are way smarter than our business gives them credit for.Then you get to the venue or arena, and you are paying $8 for a warm beer, the food stinks and in many buildings the sound does as well. I've spent $100 on a concert ticket before and had the greatest three hours of my life, but I also can't do that every weekend.There is a definite amount of money that people can spend,and a lot of people would rather take that $100 and go see five concerts at a small club. The death of the recording industry has hurt too because now artists have to make their money touring so the inventory is so high. But again, our customers are smarter than they are being given credit for.They are making decisions about how they spend their money in much more deliberate ways,but they will still spend. The Rolling Stones, U2, Lady Gaga; those artists are proof of that, but when you talk about American Idols Live... AW: If you could book a Majestic Theater One Day festival, 6 acts.What would your dream lineup be, today? SL:This is too easy Opening the show would be The Hold Steady, followed by Gaslight Anthem,Against Me! Band of Horses and My Morning Jacket.They would pave the way for an insane closing set with Bruce Springsteen &The E.Street Band who would play Greetings From Asbury Park through Darkness on the Edge of Town start to finish. Do I get side stages as well? AW:See a concert with- George Bush Jr.or Miss July 10'? SL: I'm engaged so Miss July would get me in trouble. Politics and policy aside, I think W. would probably be a pretty interesting guy to hang out with for a bit so he gets the easy nod. AW:Watch the movie,The Notebook with- Mel Gibson or The late Billy Mays? SL: Is Alcohol involved? If so, Mel is out... I'm not suicidal. AW:Watch a reality show about- Anna Nicole Smith or Denise Richards? SL: Is death an option? The choice of those reality shows makes me rethink my opinion on being suicidal. AW: Drive to LA with- Penn or Teller? SL: Which one is the mute? I would choose the other guy. I've only seen a movie once, but I remember thinking they were funny, but I'm into conversation so the mute's getting the greyhound bus to the coast. Written and photo by: Aaron Williams
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Brace: Well I had been in a pop band, kind of Elvis Costello-ish, with my brother. We did that for about four years. We had a lot of fun. We worked it as long as we could in D.C. It was called B-Time. He had been in what you would call a “Jam Band” today in Colorado and I was in a bluegrass band in Boston. We both moved back to D.C. about the same time. I was listening to Country and Old time music. Washington was ripe with good musicians playing that kind of music at that time. Lyle Lovett, Steve Earle, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Nanci Griffith were catching may ear at that time too. I thought this is something that I can really get a handle on. I can strum my guitar, sing the melodies, and harmonize to it. I started looking for a pedal steel player and found Dave Van Allen who became a member of Last Train Home. It was the sound I wanted. I knew I wanted to Rock, but I also wanted to play slow songs that moved people. I wanted a country edge, I wanted horns, I knew that there was more to be done with this kind of music, and that we all did not have to play the same thing. When I started Last Train Home and we played our first gig in February 1997 I wanted this band to be good! I don’t want to come out and bore people, I wanted the musicianship to be high, and I wanted people to have fun. I would write some and we would play good covers. It did not have to be about me. I did not have a vested ego in me being the star. It was and is about the music. I would look for songs by other writers that interested me, like my brother who is a great songwriter, Kevin Johnson, Carl Straub, and Scott McKnight. A lot of these people I just knew from the local scene. The band just had fun from the very beginning, and we were good together. We went from playing a Tuesday night every couple of months to a Friday night every month to both Friday and Saturday nights at Iota and getting a reputation of being a fun band to see and listen too. It took a few years from 97 to 2002 before we really hit our stride and were named the Washington Area’s Entertainers of the Year in 2002. I thought it was such a nice recognition for all the hard work we put into it. We practiced all the time and really tried to make our shows special. It was a fantastic honor. This was the motivation for the decision to go full-time. We thought we’d see what the rest of the country thought of us. So we went out on short tours. There was a booking agent in San Francisco who was keeping tabs on us by looking at our sales and gigs. He called up and said “I've been watching you and I’m coming out to see you live. If I like what I see, I’ll put you on my roster.” That’s what happened and he put us on the road across the country in 2003 and 2004. We did pretty well. That was about the time I decided to move to Nashville. Now it certainly has not caught on in any other city like it did in D.C., but we have and continue to do pretty well. AG: When you started Last Train Home did you get a guarantee or did you play for tips? Brace: It was a real small amount on a Tuesday night. You played for a percentage of the door. It’s not like Nashville where you play for tips. Most of the time early on you tell all your friends to come see you and you put them on the guest list and you don’t make anything at all (laughs)!” You’re lucky if 10 people end up paying and you drink that up at the bar anyway. So w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
early on there is no promise of money, not that there is later on either! I was pretty much subsidizing the band from my salary at the Washington Post. From 96 to 2003 they paid me enough that I could pay for the recordings, pay my musicians for every gig. If we did not make enough money at the gig I could pay them the standard rate so they had cash. I did not mind doing this because I was having fun and I looked at it as an investment. AG: You moved to Nashville in 2003. Why did you do that? Brace: My bassist and drummer, Jim Gray and Marty Lynds moved here in 2002. We had all talked about getting closer and being involved in this scene. Their jobs did not hold them to D.C. Their wives came here and liked it so they bought houses here and I would come and crash on their couches for about a year until I got my own place. The cost of living was great and the opportunities for a full-time career in music were much better. I bought my own place in 2005. AG: What was your first impression when moving to Nashville? Brace: Well I had a very nice welcome wagon when I got here. Peter Cooper had written some very nice things about Last Train Home in the Tennessean. I told him that I wanted to meet him and hang out with him. My first impression was that I belonged here. I would see people in the coffee shop that I had been listening to and admired like Todd Snider and Garrison Starr, it was great! AG: What’s the biggest difference between D.C.’s music scene and the scene in East Nashville? Brace: The biggest things are in Washington even if you are a full-time musician people don’t really take you seriously. It’s like are you ever going to get a “real” job? The other thing is that Washington does not have the music infrastructure that Nashville has. It does not have the booking agents, studios, and record companies like here. That’s why people go to Nashville, New York, L.A. or Austin. Those are the two biggest differences. AG: Let’s talk about Eric Brace the songwriter. Is there a method or formula? Brace: There is usually a turn of phrase that comes into my head. I don’t know where it comes from. My song Hendersonville happens that way. I heard a melody in my head and started singing “lay me down beneath the stone.” I thought wow that’s morbid, and then the other words about Johnny and June came about. The melodic flow really catches me, and then I go from there. You just try to build on the idea from there. If you are in the right mental place and it just comes. I have sung so many other peoples songs, songs that I love I have absorbed the melodic since from those songs. Paul McCartney songs affect me that way. They are so melodic and flow so easily they just catch onto you and stay with you. I understand that melodic sense that writers like McCartney write from. I’m not saying I’m anywhere near his level, but I understand how he and other great writers put songs together.
Brace: I have a whole batch of songs that I have written over the last 20 years and I thought that they were finished. I know realize that they are not finished until I record them. Then they stay in the finally done category. A lot of songwriters say once you have released them they are not yours anymore and you can go back and rewrite them. You generally know when they are done. You can feel it. AG: What’s new with you and Last Train Home? Brace: We put out a six song EP. AG: You got a wonderful review in No Depression the other day. Brace: Yes that was a wonderful surprise. We had a lot of fun recording it. All the songs were written by great songwriters. We did not record any of my songs for this project which was okay. The EP really shows the sprit of Last Train Home. I have been writing a bunch of songs. When the CD Peter and I have coming out this fall gets released I’m going back into the studio to cut another full-length CD with Last Train Home. Because I have been in Nashville and I’m getting better known as a songwriter the next CD will be Eric Brace and Last Train Home. AG: What’s it like to go from someone who interviewed and wrote stories about music stars to being in the same sphere and recording with them like Tom T. Hall and Mike Aldridge? It has to be surreal. Brace: It is. It is unbelievable to sit in a recording studio or room and be playing with the people you grew up idolizing and making music with them. Just to say you have met them and have had a conversation with them is awestricken. It makes me glad I made the choice to move to Nashville. I get to play with my heroes! AG: What does the future hold for Eric Brace? Brace: Let’s hope it only get’s better, but I don’t know how it can. I’m sitting at Tom T. Hall’s, recorded this morning with Bobby Bare, going to Europe for a month to play festivals. I don’t think it can get any better! I’m going to keep writing songs. The one thing I promised myself was that every time I made an album it would be better than the previous one. If I could not make it better I would make it different. I would try something new. I am working on a folk opera on the California Gold rush and that’s almost done. I want to challenge myself and just get better. I don’t want to put out a bunch of songs that are not as good as the others I have released. I want to keep playing with Peter, make the new Last Train Home Record, Mary Ann and I want to do another East Nashville record, I’ve got all kinds of things to keep me busy. Story by: Andy Ziehli • Photos supplied
AG: Guys like Rodney Crowell talk about the “rewriting of the song”. Do you do that?
anderson... continued from page 33 Anderson: I took a job in Jackson Hole,Wyoming and was going to retire from the music business. I wanted to spend time with my family,and I was just burnt out on music. I had my flat top in the back seat of the car and a real estate agent saw it and asked if I played. I told him just for myself. He then proceeded to contact the local bandleader and told him I played guitar and sang. His name was Jack May. He came to where I was working and asked if I played lead guitar. I told him that I did not play lead, I played rhythm and sang. He said would you mind coming down and audition for us. I told him that I did not audition, because I just did not want to make music at that point. I thought if I came across kind of arrogant he would leave me alone. I had never been that rude to anyone in my life before. I was trying to chase him off. A week later he came back and said “I would really like you to come down and sit in with us.” I said “isn’t sitting in auditioning?” This went on every week for 5 weeks. He just kept coming back and trying to get me to play. Finally the sixth week he said“since you don’t want to play would you help me find someone”. I said“sure”, but I was new to town and did not know anyone. He came back the next week again. Jack said“would you mind filling in until I find somebody?” I said“yes I will, but you best be looking for someone.” and I was filling in for the next four years. Every night I asked him if he found someone else yet. He was a terrific Sax player. The group was a great bunch of guys to work with. We never rehearsed. We learned all our songs on stage. I go back and see Jack when I can and he is not playing anymore, but always tells me my job is still waiting for me. AG: Where did you go from Wyoming? Anderson: I went to Colorado and then Arkansas and played a little with a guy from church and husband and wife bass player and drummer. We worked once a week for awhile. Then I retired playing until I retired from the Parks Service and Jeannie and I started Feather River. Feather River played mostly early shows 7:00 – 10:00 and afternoon shows for an hour or so. We did this in Texas for quite a few years. The place where we stay has so many great musicians it’s hard not to jam a little. I host the jams now and watch the others play most of the time. We still play a little here in Wisconsin for private things. AG: Do your kids play music? Anderson: My one boy is into Jazz guitar. It’s fun to listen to him play. I’m glad he likes music. My other boy does not play, which is okay too. They are both talented kids! AG: So after playing all these years do you have any final thoughts about playing? Anderson: I have made such great friends and the people at the shows were always so nice. I got to meet many of the people I admired in the music business and make music with them. Playing music with Jeanie is and was the best you can ask for. Being on a stage with the lights and sound is incredible. I’ve been very lucky and blessed to be able to make music as long as I have been able to. I would like to mention that Bobby Hodge really deserves credit for bringing Country Music to the forefront in Madison. He played night after night by himself at his bar banging out Country tunes. All the other great acts locally back then to deserve credit for forging ahead and making Country music so popular around here. If it wasn’t for those folks, guys like me would not have had the opportunity to do what we did. Story by:Andy Ziehli Photo supplied.
Published on Nov 12, 2010
Published on Nov 12, 2010
The Americana Gazette is a print and online interactive FREE music and arts publication. Each bi-monthly issue features Americana, Blue Gras...