MERICANA GAZETT E A December / January 2012
Briana Hardyman Dan Baird Chatham Street - Christal Prout Sam Llanas Elizabeth Brink - The Brink Lounge Gretchen Peters Richie Owens The Kentucky HeadHunters Marybeth Mattson Rex & Coffee - Warner & Deb Hodges Pets Bob's Guitar Corner Panda Productions
AMERICANA GAZETTE Half Notes End of the Year Rap up 2011 First let me say thank you to all our great readers and followers of the Americana Gazette, without you we would not exist and would not have had the wonderful year that we had. We are so blessed to have the wonderful staff we have that truly makes the Americana Gazette what it is. Our staff work long hours for very little pay to make this publication come to life each issue and we are truly thankful that they want to be part of it. We have added new writers this year which bring new ideas and thoughts to each issue. Anne Miller,Travis Cooper, and Celia Carr welcome aboard! Ann Gravel Sullivan has returned as a writer after a short absence due to her real job and we are glad to have her back. Our existing staff Bob Hoffman, Jim Smith, Rosemary Ziehli, Rob Kosmeder, Frye Gaillard, Ric Genthe, and Litt Dubay are the best people you could ever have to work with. They help keep us “sane” in this crazy world. We would also like to thank our printers at The Print Register Center in Brodhead WI. Their continual support and guidance cannot be measured. Lastly but surely not the least we want to thank all the businesses that allow us to display the Americana Gazette so our readers can pick it up. This year was a year filled with unbelievably super music that hit the stratosphere in the Americana genera. I received more top shelf CD releases than ever before. The quality of Americana Music continues to rise. It’s just not from the existing artists, but also from new artists. It just keeps getting better! Joyce and I saw some incredible live shows this year, both locally and in Nashville. Let’s start locally with Briana Hardyman (our cover girl). Briana and her guitar playing partner Doug Sies are always a treat to see live. The shows get even better when they are joined by Jim Smith, Mark Gruenenfelder, and Kyle Scott. It is Americana at its best. Whitney Mann is another wonderful performer that you all must go out and see. Her voice is pure country and well worth the time to go to Madison to see perform. Beth Kille, the best songwriter around is never a bad ticket. She just gets better every time I hear her sing! The Rain dogs rock! Marc, John,Tony, and Lindsey are the very best at what they do, bar music. Their originals rock and their covers roll. For a great time check these guys out! Marc Barnaby also does a solo gig and it is very intimate and wonderful to see and hear. The MAMA’s is always a treat featuring the best of local musicians. Hat’s off to Rick, Roy, and the rest of the board for putting on such a wonderful program and show. From Nashville and playing locally Phil Lee made four trips to play and was a hit each and every time especially when he backed up Rosemary Ziehli (My Mom) yodeling at our company picnic! Peter Cooper, Eric Brace, Tim Carroll, Bones Hillman, and Pat McInerney came to WI and played a fantastic show at Puempel’s and a fund raiser for the Belleville Vocal Music Dept. Travis Cooper played a fantastic show at Alt’n Bachs in Madison on a cold Sunday night but showed that he is one of the best up and coming songwriters from Wisconsin trying his hand in Nashville. In Nashville we saw many great shows this past year. But the top three shows were as opposite as you can see. The first was the Bluefield’s at the Mercy Lounge.This was one of the best Rock & Roll shows I have ever seen.
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Warner Hodges, Joe Blanton, and Dan Baird wrote great songs and played without any fear of the unknown and rocked Nashville like it hasn’t been rocked in years. The next was Jon Byrd’s CD release party at the Station Inn in October. Jon is one of the best Americana Songwriters today and his CD release party was quite an event. We saw tons of our friends there and met many new ones. The music was wonderful and the show fantastic. Tom Mason and friends at the Family Wash during the AMA conference this past October was an incredible both musically and entertainment wise. Mason with his Blue Buccaneer’s Band with special guests Fats Kaplin and Phil Lee was a hoot! Pirate Music with great Americana Songs at its best. We were invited to and attendedTomT.Hall’s 75th birthday celebration at the Country Music Hall of Fame, where also was the CD release party for the Songs of Fox Hollow CD Eric Brace and Peter Cooper produced.
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Americana Gazette TABLE OF CONTENTS WHERE TO LOOK 4
Litt DuBay’s Slant
Women In The Round Christal Prout
10 CD Reviews Copper Box - Chelsea Crowell Ted Hefko - Bobby Messano 11 CD Reviews Amelia White - Travis Cooper Gretchen Peters - Dang-It-Bobby's 12 A Pet Note Warner & Deb Hodge's Dogs 13 Billy Dean 13 Bob’s Guitar Corner 14 Elizabeth Brink & The Brink Lounge 16 Briana Hardyman 18 Panda Productions 19 Yodeling: Rosemary's Story 19 Celia's Column 20 Dan Baird 22 God Smiled Today: Jim Smith's Story 22 Girls Rock Camp 23 Crime & Punishment: Bob Hoffman's Story 24 Robert’s Ramblings 25 MaryBeth Mattson 26 Richie Owens 28 Andy's Top CD's for 2011 The Americana Gazette is printed by: The Print Center • Brodhead, Wi. 53520 AMERICANA GAZETTE % Andy & Joyce Ziehli P.O. BOX 208 • Belleville, WI. 53508 OFFICE: 608-424-6300 Andy Cell: 608-558-8131 Joyce Cell: 608-558-8132
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by Litt DuBay
Happy Holiday’s and all that crap!!! Litt Dubay here and I’m just not feeling the Holiday groove this year. I don’t know if it’s because Scott Walker and the Fitzwhatits brothers played Scrooge and took away the joy of the holiday season or if Who Ville is just not Who Villey enough this year to lift my spirits! If I had just one wish this holiday season it would be that Santa would come to Wisconsin and kick those @&*(!^ jerks in Madison in the ass! Well Mr.I’m a Big Shot Andy Ziehli was at his normal hangout the Fat Cat in New Glarus spewing his“wisdom”about and his theory on weight loss last week and how his body is a temple. John Miller and Tom Jansen chimed in and said if that Ziehli’s body was a temple it was really very well insulated! Jansen also said that for a building that started out as a one room country shack, Ziehli’s temple had turned into a complex. Miller added that it was complex that would make the Kennedy’s jealous! Tom Mason was up here in the North Woods in November and he put on a hell of a show at Puempel’s. He was singing Pirate songs, dancing on tables, and strolling on the bar. He even got Miller up to play Congo’s on a tune. Miller hasn’t danced that much since the day the lock broke on the men’s room door at the Fat Cat! Tony DiPofi has been cutting tracks at Sugar River Productions these last few weeks and they are great. He even has a song with Latin in it. You know that forgotten language that they used to teach you in Catholic School. The one that Vatican II stopped us from learning. The one that those Waco right wing Bishops want to reinstate! Well anyway Tony started recanting his Latin phrases and Ziehli got spooked! He then told Tony he better not have opened up a gateway to hell in his studio! Tony told him not to worry, that the incantations were safe and that if Ziehli hadn’t seen the guy with the pitch fork yet he was probably okay! I don’t know about you but I sure don’t feel any safer with all those good ole Wisconsin Folks carrying concealed weapons out there. What kind of idiots passed a law allowing people who drink, drive, and consume more alcohol in one week than most of the USA does in a year to carry loaded weapons under their coats! These are the
people who voted in Scott Walker!!! We gave the world Joe McCarthy! We wear cheese on our heads and go shirtless in December in Green Bay! We’re the folks who hunt deer from cars and shoot from the road! We throw Cow Poop for distance for fun! We think a good time is stuffing our faces with fatty sausage,deep fried fish, cheese curds, and beer seven days a week, and we all have at least one relative who has been arrested for drunk driving or poaching!!! We have no right carrying hidden loaded guns in public!!! Finally I’d like to thank all the wonderful fans out there that made Litt Dubay’s column the most read piece in the Americana Gazette for the third year in a row. Apparently either you are so disturbed that you think that it is real literature or you know that it is journalism at its finest. Either way I thank you and look forward to enlightening you in 2012 with more wisdom. (A side note to my readers. If you don’t see this column in the February/March 2012 edition of the Americana Gazette it’s because the Mayan’s were right and the world ended, or it’s because the Ziehli’s found a way to break my contract.) Litt Dubay
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it gives me a chance to talk about where the songs come from. Joyce: Wow, you sound very busy. Is music your only career or do you have another job? Christal: I would like for it to be, but I do have a day job as well. Joyce: Do you wish you would have pursued this career when you were younger?
New Americana, Singer/Songwriter, Adult Contemporary In July 2011, Chatham Street hit the music scene with their debut CD,“Last One Out”,in October of 2010. Nine months later, they have received 13 songwriting awards and placements for four of those songs, and“Over Now” was just picked up in Nashville for possible movie placement. In the past six months, they’ve been invited to perform in Texas, Florida, New Jersey,Tennessee, California and more. Recently, by public vote, they were chosen to Open for John McCutcheon and Catie Curtis this September. Although “Chatham Street” is fairly new, its members have been playing music both together and separately for years. Taking the name of the street they lived on in Detroit,“Chatham Street” was formed when Christal decided to pen her own songs as “therapy for so much loss in such a short time”.And, apparently she has found her calling. Their sound has been called "New Americana" and carries multiple musical influences, from old-time gospel, bluegrass, rootsy-folk, yet has the edginess of the contemporary rock and pop music they grew up with. Christal’s vocals are a cross between Celtic and southern “down-home” and soar over Peter’s tasteful vintage guitar, sounding just like her ScottishAppalachian heritage. Together, they are a magical and refreshing combination. Songs have continued to pour out and, in less than a year, dozens more have been written. Their new CD,“All That Mattered” is now out. The first track,“White Liar”, is already a finalist in the 2011 Worldwide Singer Songwriter Contest, making this their 14th award. I had the pleasure of visiting with Christal Prout to talk about their new CD. Joyce: Hi Christal. Let’s start out by you filling me in on how you got into the music business? Christal: Sure, I grew up in the Detroit area. I did come from a fairly musical family, but not formally trained. My parents were from the Southwestern tip of Virginia, came up to the Detroit area to work in the automotive industry a number of years ago. I’m the baby of the 3 children. We’re all 11 years apart in age. I grew up around all kinds of music. My parents liked Bluegrass; Mother played Elvis Presley and we all sang and everyone played something, kind of self taught. I played clarinet all the way through school and I played a little bit of guitar in elementary school. When I graduated from school I joined a band in the Detroit area. I sang in the band and we did covers in the club scenes, w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
fe s t i va l s , etc. I wasn’t writing at all a n d never rea l l y thought about it. My husband, who is my duo partner in Chatham Street, we met young, married young, and when the kids came along we stopped playing music for awhile. ( He was playing music too.) We took time out to be “good parents”. The kids are older now,and I started writing songs 3 years ago. We decided to form a duo and made it Chatham Street, which was the street we lived on. Things have been crazy ever since. We recorded our first CD which came out in October 2010. Not quite a year later, we put out another CD. Both CD’s are all originals. It’s been great! Joyce: Do you write with your husband,or co-write with anyone? Christal: It’s just me. I don’t write with my husband Peter. I write the lyrics and chords and we work the arrangements out together. Peter does a lot with the recording, he used to be a recording engineer in the Detroit area. He has a lot of experience and it is really a great combination. Joyce: Let’s talk about your new CD,“All That Mattered”. I really love the CD and there are some unusual song titles on this. Such as “Orphan Girl” and “Ugly Girl”. Christal: Yea,“Orphan Girl” is the last song I wrote for the CD. I lost my father 10 years ago, and I lost my brother 3 years ago. My sister who is 22 years older than me actually passed away earlier this Spring of Cancer. “Orphan Girl” came about because everyone is gone in my family. I felt like an orphan one morning and that is where the song came from.
Christal: Sure, I did play a lot. But I don’t think I would have been able to deal with the family issues, the tragedies and do the music too. Songwriting is therapeutic. It helps me to work things out and gives me a chance to reflect on situations. You have to have stories to write about. Joyce: What do you and Peter do for fun? Christal: We still have a son in 10th grade. He is in marching band,so we attend a number of football games and parades to watch him. We have a daughter, too, who is now in college already! Gosh! But when we can, we still love to do things together, like camp and hike. And, just a regular old day off just hanging out with good friends over dinner and a glass of wine is a treasure. Joyce: Any words of wisdom for young people starting out in the music business? Christal: Follow your heart!!! Write from your heart!!! Songs have to be meaningful to you to be sincere. Everyone has their own story, and every story has something about it that’s worth telling, and that will be meaningful to someone else, helping them in some way. We’re all on our own journey, but we’re also all on the same journey. Joyce: Great advice. Thank you so much for talking to me. I enjoyed our visit and wish you the best in your music career. Christal: Thank you Joyce. Please be sure to check Chatham Street out at: www.chathamstreetmusic.com . Pick up there CD and give them a listen. You will be sure to enjoy!! Story by: Joyce Ziehli Photos and bio supplied by: Christal Prout and Chatham Street website. July 31, 2011 – “Over Now” is a Finalist in the 2011 Show Me
Joyce: And “Ugly Girl?”
The Music Songwriting Contest in Nashville.
Christal: “Ugly Girl”is actually taken from the Dove Soap Company. They had a “Campaign for Beauty” that went on for several years. They had one video that was very inspiring called “Amy”. This video speaks of how the beauty industry affects young girls and how it changes their lives. I think you can still see the video on YouTube.
July 26, 2011 – “Over Now” Winner in the Blooming Tunes Songwriting Contest. Selected for “Blooming Tunes – Songs from the Heartland” compilation CD.
Joyce: These are great songs, as well as“House of Fools”. Christal: Thank you. Joyce: How does your writing process work? Christal: It’s a whole combination of things. The first CD was mostly about family things. This new CD is about world issues. But all of the songs are very meaningful to me, personally, or issues I feel strongly about. Joyce: Will you be out touring to promote this new CD? Christal: We are doing a lot of playing in other states and the Washington DC and Northern Virginia area. We just played at the “Bitter End” in New York City. We played the Texas Wildflower Festival earlier this year. We’ve been really lucky to be invited. We also have just started doing house concerts. I absolutely love doing them, as
June 1, 2011 - "Over Now" Finishes 2nd Place Americana Category in 2011 Dallas Songwriters Association Songwriting Contest. April 25, 2011 - "Over Now" and "Kinder Days" are in the Final Round of The Next Movie Classic songwriting contest. April 15, 2011 - "Happy" and "Heaven Bound" are both Top Finalists in the 2011 Wildflower Music & Arts Festival songwriting contest, Texas. March 29, 2011 - "Over Now" Announced as Top Finalist in 2010 Great American Song Contest. Feb. 1, 2011 - "Over Now" Winner in 2011 Esongwriter International Songwriting Contest. Jan. 21, 2011 - "Kinder Days" places as Top 5 Finalist in 2011 Peacedriven Song Award. Jan. 8, 2011 - "Over Now" receives Honorable Mention in 2010 Great Lakes Songwriting Contest. December 3, 2010 - "Over Now" places #3 in 2010 Songwriter Universe Song Contest. November 10, 2010 - "Happy" places #7 in 2010 AcousticRoundtable Singer/Songwriter Contest
“HELLO CRUEL WORLD” BY SINGER/SONGWRITER GRETCHEN PETERS
How many of you have heard of Gretchen Peters? Gretchen Peters has been a household name in my household for nearly 30 years. I’m sure if you don’t know who I am talking about,you will after you read some background information I’ve taken from her website bio. Gretchen Peter’s has been singing, writing and playing guitar since she was a teenager, with it all starting back in the Boulder, Colorado folk circuit. She was inspired by Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and a new generation of songwriters rising out of Nashville that included Steve Earle, Nanci Griffith and Rodney Crowell, Peters relocated to Music City in the late 1980s. Initially she found Nashville inspiring.“Being in a place where you can hear so many good songwriters perform their work on just an acoustic guitar really made me understand the anatomy of songs in a way I didn’t until I moved here,” Peters relates.“Just listening closely to other people who were good at their craft shaped me as a writer.” The downside was a music business culture that typically perceived“singer”and“songwriter” as different jobs.“The either/or attitude was baffling,since all my favorite artists also wrote their own material,”Peters says.“My decision to pursue a publishing deal was based on wanting to be understood for who I am. I was afraid that if I got signed to a record deal as an artist, I’d never get to sing my own songs. I never had any aspirations of being a hit songwriter for other artists.”Nonetheless, Martina McBride’s 1995 recording of Peters’“Independence Day,”the gritty story of an abused woman’s revenge,made her a songwriting sensation.The performance received a“Best Country Song”Grammy nomination and won the Country Music Association’s“Song of the Year”title. After that a string of great vocalists, Pam Tillis,Trisha Yearwood, Patty Loveless, Neil Diamond, George Strait, Etta James began to record Peters’ songs. Peters also signed her own record deal, yielding her 1996 debut album The Secret of Life.The title track was cut by Faith Hill in 1999 and hit number five on the country charts. Since then Peters has recorded five other solo albums: Gretchen Peters (2001), Halcyon (2004),Trio Live (2006), Burnt Toast and Offerings (2007) and Northern Lights (2008).The compilation Circus Girl was released in 2009.And that same year Peters collaborated with one of her favorite songwriters,Tom Russell, for their One To the Heart, One To the Head. The title of Gretchen Peters’ new Hello Cruel World is a pun on the famed exit line — a joke that, like the lovely melodies and deliciously textured arrangements framing these 11 songs — sweetens this captivating music spun from a year of turmoil.The Grammy nominated singer-songwriter from Nashville calls Hello Cruel World her“most close-to-the-bone work, written at a time when I felt absolutely fearless about telling the truth.”
Ultimately Hello Cruel World details the sheer triumph of survival and of finding strength, joy and growth in everyday life despite the challenges of our increasingly complex times. Her characters, like the broken-hearted narrator of “Natural Disaster” and the human target of “Woman On the Wheel,” don’t just search for fulfillment.They take risks to find it.And none, as the album’s title implies, are ready to either surrender or, to quote the poet Dylan Thomas,“go gentle into that good night.” Peters’ warmhoney voice softens the edge of desperation in numbers like the character study “Camille,” where a gently blown muted trumpet offers shadings of cool jazz, and in “ The Matador” the earthy maturity of her phrasing injects empathy — a quality that makes all of Peters’songs ring consistently true — into a tale about the dark underbelly of love. “In 2010 the universe threw its best and its worst at me. Some of it was personal, some global.All of it seemed to demand that I redefine my ideas of permanence and reevaluate what I believe in, to literally rethink what is real.” Peters says creating Hello Cruel World “was like coming home after a long trip, unlocking the front door and putting my baggage down.Telling these stories was part of the process of stripping myself bare of all the lies, half-truths, false selves and misguided intentions we take on in the course of living. Now you know who I am talking about!! I had the opportunity to speak with this amazingly intelligent and talented woman. It was a beautiful Fall day and happened to be my 32nd Wedding Anniversary to Andy. What a special day this was for me. Thank you Gretchen for being a part of it. Joyce: Good morning Gretchen. What’s the weather like in Nashville today? Gretchen: It’s gorgeous here. It’s the most beautiful time of the year. Joyce: I’d like to start out by having you fill us in on a little background on yourself. How your musical career developed? Gretchen: I came from a family that really appreciated music. They weren’t musicians, but there was always music in my house. My parents were jazz fans,especially my Dad. I grew up just outside of Manhattan. I’m the youngest of 4 kids;I had older siblings that listened to music, especially my next oldest sister who went to Woodstock. She is 5 years older, she kind of forced her musical tastes on me, which turned out to be a good thing. It steered me towards more deeper and meaningful music that I may not have been drawn to. The first record I ever bought was a bubble gum pop single. I brought it home and my sister said,“Here’s some Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan – listen to this.” That turned out to be really important in my musical growth. w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
I started playing guitar when I was 7 years old. We had Bob Dylan song books and that’s what I learned on. Peter, Paul and Mary and anything else that had simple chords and stories, that’s what I learned on.
Gretchen: It’s being released January 31, 2012.
Joyce: Gretchen you’ve had an amazing career. You are a great singer/songwriter/musician. You are releasing a new CD soon which stems from kind of a rough year in 2010. Let’s talk about that.
Gretchen: I’ll be touring like crazy. I told my husband we better get B12 shots, we’ll be so busy. I am really looking forward to it. We will start the tour on the Delbert McClinton Cruise which will be fun and the CD is coming out in the UK at the same time.
Gretchen: It was the Charles Dickens thing. There were the best of times and there were the worst of times! My wedding in 2010 was one of the best days of my life. Not everything was a calamity. I’d say some of the events were “challenging”.
Joyce: If and when you have time to relax, what do you like to do?
Joyce: Congratulations on the marriage.You’ve been together for 20 years?
Joyce: Will you be out touring to promote this?
Gretchen: I haven’t relaxed in awhile with the new CD coming out. (laughs) I do enjoy doing Yoga. And I am a huge movie fan. I see everything worth seeing, I love independent movies. I couldn’t live in a town without a movie theatre.
Gretchen: We’ve been musical partners for 20 years. We were together for about 7, then faced reality and got married last year. We have always had a deep musical connection, we were just really great partners in every sense of the word. And Congratulations on your Wedding Anniversary!
Joyce: If you come to Madison,Wisconsin and I can’t find you, I’ll check out the theatres.
Joyce: Thank you. Let’s talk about the title track song,“Hello Cruel World”. What’s the story with this?
Joyce: I am a huge pet lover. Do you have any pets?
Gretchen: I had the title in my mind. Often times I work from the title. Actually I had 2 songs/sets of lyrics for this,, and up until the day I walked into the studio, I didn’t know which song I was going to record. I left it up in the air. I talked to my co-producers and asked which one of them they feel the most. Once we got in the studio, I felt the tone of the album take shape,and this is the one that won out. It really stems from my general outlook with the last year’s challenges. The song really wrote itself.
Gretchen: On an off day, that’s where I would be!
Gretchen: Yea, we have a beautiful black lab, named Nigel. He’s an English Lab so we gave him an English name. We are big dog people. Joyce: I may have to put him in one of the issues as the “Pet Note” sometime. Gretchen: Ok, it’s not like we don’t have any photos of him. We only have several thousand or so. Joyce: Anything else you’d like to share before I let you go? Gretchen: I am just really proud of this CD. I feel I dug deeper than ever before to make this one. Joyce: Thank you Gretchen for speaking with me. Good luck on the CD. Gretchen: Thank you Joyce.
Joyce: Another song on the CD, “Dark Angel” which features guest, Rodney Crowell; I love this song. Any story behind this one? Nigel
For more information on Gretchen Peters and to check out her music and info on the new CD, please go to: www.gretchenpeters.com Story by: Joyce Ziehli Info supplied by Gretchen Peter’s website. Photos supplied by Gretchen Peters.
Gretchen: Rodney has long been one of my songwriting idols. He’s a fearless writer. I’ve watched him over the years, and the deepening of his writing; he so inspires me. He writes with such passion.As we get older, you are never going to be “new again”, but you have the opportunity to be better. I just heard his voice in this song and I called and asked if he was available to sing on this, and he was. He was gracious enough to preside over our wedding last October. He is an ordained minister and he struck the perfect note in the ceremony. I thought if he’d marry us, maybe he’d come sing with me!!! (we both laugh) He brought a lot of personality to that song. He has great ideas. Joyce: Gretchen, I’m not just going to say this because I am talking to you, but I can’t help but notice that you show such passion in your songwriting. You really put yourself into your music. Which brings me to my next question. Does this get harder as the years pass by? Gretchen:Well, thank you! One of my strengths I feel is that I’m my own audience. What I mean by this is if I can’t make myself feel something deeply, then I can’t make anyone else feel it either. I know when I’m onto something good if I make myself cry. I’m tapping into something and when it hurts, then I may just have a song there. Songwriting is such an important profession, it is a way for people to get in touch with their emotions. It does get harder as you get more proficient, there is a skill to it. If it was all just about emotion, it would be a diary. As I set my targets higher, like in this record, I wanted to write 11 or 12 great songs. I wanted to be able to visit these songs, 5, 10, 15 years from now and still want to sing them. I had to tap into my sub conscious to get this out. One benefit to being older is that as a new songwriter when things weren’t working, I’d get scared and panic, now with age and experience if I still get the feeling it’s not working, I just dismiss it. I just have to be patient and it will come. Joyce: When is this new CD going to be released? w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
new cd – DIXIE LULLABIES
Southern Rock Legends
Kentucky HeadHunters During the Americana Music Conference in Nashville, I had the pleasure of visiting with RichardYoung of the Kentucky HeadHunters. We set up a time to do an interview for the Americana Gazette to discuss the new CD they just released. Before we get into the meat of the interview, here is a little background information taken from their website. Two days after Christmas,The Kentucky HeadHunters rolled into their Practice House near their home in Edmonton, a remote area in South Central Kentucky. Built in the early 1900s, the house has no insulation, no running water, and only two small oil heaters inside.And the snow was just beginning to fall. Over the next 11 days, while Mother Nature continued to dump ice and snow across the Bluegrass State,The Kentucky HeadHunters recorded 14 new originals that would comprise their 12th release, Dixie Lullabies.“There were 30-inch icicles hanging from the eaves on the front porch,” laughs guitarist RichardYoung."We invited some friends and neighbors to hang out and party and also create some body heat. Believe me it was COLD! It was the first time the HeadHunters Richard Young (rhythm guitars / lead vocals),FredYoung (drums / vocals),Doug Phelps (bass / lead vocals) and Greg Martin (lead guitar / vocals) — had recorded a release at their infamous“Practice House,” where they — and renowned rockers Black Stone Cherry — write and rehearse unique brands of Southern Rock that reflects their charming, somewhat "off the cuff" lifestyles. Dixie Lullabies covers a vast territory,Young continues, from the way we were, the way we are and where we're headed. It's our first all originally-written studio album since 2003. Even though we tour constantly, as of late we’ve been feeling the earth move under our feet and something in the air that gave us the spirit to write and record new albums for our souls and anyone who cares to listen. The Kentucky HeadHunters have continued to blend sounds from a deep well of influences that includes Alternative, Blues, Country, English Rock, Rockabilly, Jazz, and, of course, Southern Rock. The Practice House has been at the center of the band's work since they began in 1968 as Itchy Brother.After 20 years of playing the rock club circuit in the Midwest and The Deep South, the group survived the loss of multiple rock record deals brought on by Presidential Elections, plane crashes, the death of a record executive and disco, but most of all, their ages.The train hauling the heyday of Southern rock had come and
gone. Itchy Brother never got to ride the train, but they never gave up. By 1989, the band had morphed into The Kentucky HeadHunters when they came to the attention of Mercury Records Exec Harold Shedd. "He called and said we might be cooking hamburgers next year, but we gotta do this," Young recalls. Mercury released the multi-platinum Pickin’On Nashville later that year.“It blew up like an atom bomb and changed our lives forever,”Young says.In the 20 years that followed, The Kentucky HeadHunters influenced countless artists and maintained a huge cult following by playing thousands of shows, all the while staying true to themselves. Twenty years after being the biggest thing there was, it appears the Kentucky HeadHunters are on the verge of being what they were meant to be: a slamming rock/roots band that fears no corner at any speed. Like the old blues guys, they ain’t afraid to sweat or make it moan.We should all take that lesson to heart. The HeadHunters were spurred into recording not only by musical compatriots, but also by longtime friend and fellow Kentuckian Ben Ewing, GM of Red Dirt Music, a subsidiary of Progression Music. Richard Young describes Ewing as "an entrepreneur, smartass, great guy.We need somebody like him. He's successful, and we're not, in business. We're musicians." The 14 songs on Dixie Lullabies bottle undistilled HeadHunters: from the backwoods boogie of the title cut, to the Rolling Stones-esque "Tumblin' Roses," to the loping first single "Great Acoustics" and hard-charging "Just Believe." When the band debuted several of the songs at a packed August showcase at 3rd and Lindsley in Nashville-its first date in the city in five years-Nashville music writer Holly Gleason wrote,"Twenty years after being the biggest thing there was, it appears the Kentucky HeadHunters are on the verge of being what they were meant to be: a slamming rock-roots band that fears no corner at any speed." Whatever "Dixie Lullabies" is, the album owes its life to the Practice House. "This house is the reason we're doing this," Richard Young says. "Every record we've made, that's what we were supposed to be doing at the time.This has got us back to being a roots band.We're not chasing our tail anymore for anybody." Richard Young was a delight to speak with and I could have talked to him for hours. In fact we did talk for quite sometime and here is a little bit of how our conversation went: w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
Joyce: Good morning Richard. I absolutely love your new CD,“Dixie Lullabies”. Quite an interesting story about the old farmhouse where you recorded it? It was released the middle of October, correct?
Richard: Yup. It’s very earthy sounding and that’s what we wanted it to be. All through this period, we’ve had this old farmhouse. My Grandmother gave us (my and Fred’s Grandma) this in ’68. We’ve been using it all this time and have created and written every song here for the Itchy Brother Band and the HeadHunters. Joyce, we had a band called the Itchy Brothers and it morphed into the Kentucky HeadHunters. I guess being from Kentucky, we weren’t very educated on the recording techniques. I didn’t want to know. I wanted it to be like Christmas morning. I just wanted to get in there and play and then hear it back. We didn’t really want to know all that knob twitting stuff, we had enough trouble trying to get our amps to sound good. It’s like everything else in life, if you know too much about it, it’s not as much fun! I think there’s a certain amount of not knowing a lot about something that makes it more interesting and exciting. We wanted to record all our lives. In the early ‘90’s we could have brought in Atlantic Records but we didn’t want other people there when we were recording. There’s something that the HeadHunters do. On occasion it shows up on stage; we call it “Who we are when you’re not looking.” It’s just something we do. We may start seriously writing about 5:00 or 6:00 P.M., then about 11:00 P.M. after a few drinks and everybody loosens up, we kind of drop that and everyone becomes who we really are. This album was made in the Music House without having a music company looking over our shoulders, and this allowed us to be able to record this record freely. There were no expectations to be met. We wrote songs we wanted to play and did it for fun. That’s basically our first album we made for ourselves. What we did was that we got back to who we really were. Industry sometimes makes you try to compete. We don’t like to compete. We just like to make our music and have people like it! We all wanted to be all natural and make the record and people are loving it.
going it alone
Joyce: Well you did a fine job. It’s a great CD. I think you found your niche. Richard: You could say we refound ourselves. I guess we kind of got off the beaten path. I think all the records the HeadHunters made were what we had to do at that particular time. And that worked for that period of time. We ran the gambit on all that now. We are all 55 or 56 years old and want to get back to making music the way we like to make it. We are like teenagers again. Back in charge of ourselves. Joyce: Good for you. Richard: Timing is another important aspect. We’ve been setting around for a few years waiting for the right time to put out a new CD. We started seeing guys like Robert Plant put out a CD, then John Paul Jones playing Bluegrass, roots guys coming out of the woodwork, country music even had a couple of cats show up. It made us realize it was time to do it. Joyce: Richard, will you be out touring to promote this new CD? Richard: We’ve been on the road since March of this year. We have quite a few gigs booked. Every November is the month that we take completely off because I’m a big outdoorsman. I hunt. I disappear in the woods for about 30 days. (laughs) That starts next Saturday. I’ll be a hard man to catch. However, we are doing some shows later in November. I will have to come out of the woods for these.
All Wisconsinites know the distinct sound of the BoDeans music and their lead vocalist Sammy Llanas. They are a Wisconsin Band! Their music is Midwestern strong and true. The reason for this is that they had great writers in Llanas and Kurt Neumann After over 25 years of playing together Llanas and Neumann decided to go their separate ways with Neumann playing with a reconfigured BoDeans and Llanas hitting the road solo. Llanas,a wonderfully lyrical writer,has penned a new album of music that is both heartfelt and dynamic. It’s not the “rocking” sound his fans have grown accustomed to; rather it is an introspective trip through the softer side of Llanas. 4 A.M is filled with great songs that will touch you as a listener and fan in ways the BoDeans music never could. It is stripped down musically, but built up lyrically and gives Llanas a perfect launch pad for his solo career.
Joyce: Well Richard, I wish you guys the best with this new CD and your future endeavors. Thank you so much for taking the time out to speak with me. I’m sure people will be happy to see you guys are coming back out with this new CD.
I met with Sammy at the Americana Music Conference this past October and had a wonderful interview and conversation. We talked at length about his new music, his start in music, and his life as a musician. The one thing that came across in the interview that really touched me was that after all these years of making music Sammy still loves to create new sounds and textures. A little mellower, a little wiser, and a little more focused on what is important in his life 4 A.M. shows a master at work.
Richard: Thank you Joyce for helping to promote us.
AG: Did you grow up in Milwaukee?
Joyce: Some good old Wisconsin Cheese and Sausage is on the way.
Llanas: No I grew up in Waukesha. I moved to Milwaukee when I was about 25. It was about 1986-87 and I’ve been there since.
Richard: I look forward to getting it. Bye Joyce. AG: You recorded this album in Milwaukee. For more information on this CD and the Kentucky HeadHunters please visit: http://kentuckyheadhunters.com . I also wanted to mention that this CD, Dixie Lullabies was produced by the Kentucky HeadHunters, Wayd Battle and Richie Owens. (Please check out our story on Richie Owens also included in this issue.) Story by: Joyce Ziehli Photos supplied. Bio information taken from the Kentucky HeadHunters website.
Llanas: Yes I did. I used Milwaukee musicians except for Bukka Allen. I knew all these guys for a longtime. AG: This Album is very mellow compared to your earlier work. You even cut a Jules Shear song that Cindy Lauper had a hit with “All through the night”. Llanas:Very mellow! I always loved that song. It really fit in the whole mood of the album. When I set out to do something on my own I wanted it to be very un-BoDean like. I had done that before. I wanted this to be different, to be mine. I did not make this record knowing or planning to leave the BoDeans, which just happened in the continued on page 31
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CD Review Copper Box ♪♪♪♪♪ People Change Independent Release Country/Americana Copper Box is a great band and are out of the Fox Valley in Middle Wisconsin. They have been playing the Beer Tent/Festival circuit for years and doing quite well at it. They are the type of band that is a sure crowd pleaser. I have seen them live many times and have always enjoyed their live shows and music. CD showcases is what they do best; they play great music. One thing that sets Copper Box off from the rest of the Wisconsin bands is their instrumentation. You don’t find many rock bands with an accordion as their main instrument! Danny Jerbek is a fine songwriter and a fine accordion player. He wrote seven of the twelve songs on this CD. The other five range from Pee Wee King’s Tennessee Waltz (another WI accordion player), Sonny Landreth's Cajun The Flame will never die, Los Lobos Corrido #1 to the traditional Celtic song the “Irish Washerwoman”. Joining Jerbek is his sister Michelle on Sax and acoustic guitars/vocals, Kevin Junemann on bass/ukulele, and Jason Van Ryzin on drums and percussion. The original songs are well written and the covers well played.
I love this CD!!! It’s everything that is right about Americana Music today without the over production and faded rock star trappings so much of the mainstream music has. This is the future of Americana Music. More is less production with only the truth shining through. All you young folks out there who want in the game take a listen to this CD. This is how it’s done! You established artists who can’t seem to think out of the box take a listen too! Crystal City is the mark you should strive for! As I said earlier “This CD Rocks!!!” Review by:Andy Ziehli
Ted Hefko and the Thousandaires ♪♪♪♪♪ If I walked on water Independent Release Ted Hefko and the Thousandaires are a Blues/Jazz/Bebop/Band out of New York. Ted Hefko grew up in Wisconsin, learning his love of music from the diverse artists in his father's collection: Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, Fela Kuti and Albert King (among others). With schooling on both guitar and tenor sax, Hefko began playing out in high school. After school Hefko headed down to New Orleans and obtained a degree in Jazz Saxophone from the University of New Orleans, going on to study with Hannah Jon Taylor. This is a very good CD with great original songs. I’m not big into Jazz but I easily fell under the Band’s influence and soon found myself tapping my foot and snapping my fingers to the infectious beat of this record. I have to tell you that all the songs are top rate and very well constructed. The band is tight and the solos are all very impressive. Hefko is an excellent Sax player and has a voice that fits this music to a T!!! I was very impressed by guitarist’s Luca Benedetti’s style and phrasing. The recordings are raw and to the point. No gimmicks, No note shifting unless the musicians are doing it themselves. Though not a technical masterpiece it is a perfect recording capturing a great band playing live in the studio who knows their chops. Though not the usual music I listen too I really enjoyed this CD and think you will too! I loved the songs Greyhound Couch,Trust my Gut, and my favorite Get on the Train and ride. This is a nice break from a long day! It’s a well put together CD with great songs done by a great band! www.ted.hefko.net Review by: Andy Ziehli
This is a great start if you are not familiar with Copper Box. They are great musicians and deserve the fine reputation that they have putting on dynamite shows throughout the Midwest. It is a fine addition to any collection of music that you may have. It rocks. It swings, it’s soulful, and it’s good times in a small package. You won’t go wrong buying this CD!
Bobby Messano ♪♪♪♪♪ That’s why I don’t sing the Blues Prince Frog Records Blues
Review by:Andy Ziehli Bobby Messano is a journeyman guitar player who plays the Blues like he owns them. On ‘That’s why I don’t sing the Blues” Messano travels the Blues Highway between hard driving Blues Rock, Acoustic Resonator Guitar Blues, to good ole Boogie Woogie.
Chelsea Crowell ♪♪♪♪♪ Crystal City Cleft Music Country/Americana This is Chelsea Crowell’s second CD. I loved her first CD and could not wait to hear this one! I was not disappointed!!! This CD rocks!!! Crowell has grown as a writer and vocalist on Crystal City. The songs are full out well written stories put to music. You can close your eyes and see every note. Full of angst, heartache and gut wrenching pain. The way a great record should sound! No sugar coating here! The CD starts off with “Move on” a poem set to music it seems. It’s simple and hard hitting. The second cut“I’m gonna freeze”is a rocker that shows this lady knows how to pick up the tempo when she needs to! “Don’t talk about the girl” is a mid tempo rocker that makes you tap your foot and puts a little lift in your step. “Remind Me” is a classic No Depression heartbreaker. Crowell shows depth in her writing on this CD. She is her own woman. It also shows that she is not a clone of her parents. Her styling and approach to music is her own! I love CD’s that make me think a little. I also like songs that can be adapted to literary works or as poems and these songs meet these criteria. Chelsea Crowell is on the road to bigger and better things. Her songs may not be mainstream in their styling or content, but they sure are in purity and depth.
Messano is a master musician who is able to have other great musicians gravitating to him and join him on his musical journey! Joining Messano on this CD our Steve Geller on Bass, Joey Banks drums, Jimmy Voegeli on keys, and the Amateur horns Pete Ross, Chad Whittinghill, and Bryan Husk. These fine musicians just add to the excitement and flavor of this CD. Messano’s ability to be a chameleon and adapt to multiple styles and forms of the Blues is very impressive. His guitar playing style is augmented by his barrel house vocals making this CD a top pick. My favorite songs on this CD are That’s why I don’t sing the Blues (the title cut), Blue Freddie, No Soul City, and Nickels & Dimes. All these songs are exceptionally played and well written songs. The production team of Geoff Wilbourn and Jack Letourneau did a fantastic job, letting Messano do what he does best and capturing each and every moment flawlessly. They should be commended for not “over” producing as so many of today’s hot shot producers do. This is a fantastically well recorded and produced CD showing one of the top Bluesmen today in his natural element. Playing great music!!! Review by:Andy Ziehli
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Amelia White ♪♪♪♪♪ Beautiful and Wild Independent Release Country/Americana Amelia White is an artist from East Nashville. She is a fantastic songwriter and performer. On this CD she is backed by some very top notch musicians. Marco Giovino drums, Ron Eaff bass, Doug Lancio guitars, Joe McMahan guitars, and Billy Earheart keys. These folks bring Beautiful & Wild alive with moving textures and phrasing. The songs on Beautiful & Wild show the wide breadth of material Amelia White is capable of covering. From slow burning rockers to straight Americana she can do it all. She wrote or co-wrote 10 of the eleven songs on this CD. The recordings are near perfect in form and representation of this fine collection of songs. It is always a joy to listen to songs cut in East Nashville. The songs are never over produced or slick in production. Just gutsy fantastic music by truly talented people and this CD does not disappointment. My favorite cuts on this CD are Lonely Sound,Beautiful and Wild,Molten Fire,and Rider Ghost. These songs to me really represented White’s ability to transcend music genera lines and appeal to the masses, and they are damn good songs! If I had to compare White’s style I would say Lucinda Williams without the hype. A great songwriter, great communicator, and great stylists that truly represent the fine music recorded and preserved here. This is a wonderfully entertaining CD and I really, really enjoyed it! Contact white at ameliawhite.com and get yourself a copy of Beautiful and Wild. You won’t be sorry!!!! The album comes out Feb. 28th in the U.S... but Jan. 23rd in UK/Europe Review by: Andy Ziehli
Travis Cooper ♪♪♪♪♪ Drifters & Dreamers Independent Release Alt-Country & Americana Travis Cooper is a fine young singer songwriter originally from Portage,WI now living in Nashville. This is his second CD and it’s a really good one!!! Cooper takes you on a musical legacy with this CD. It is filled with songs that tell stories about interesting characters, lost loves, and life’s journeys. Drifters & Dreamers is the kind of CD you put on when you are ready to kick back and have a beer or two before you go out for the evening. Not too fast and not to slow just right for getting ready to howl. There are many great songs on this CD. My favorites are Something as Pretty, Losers Lament, Fiddler Jones, Face in the gravel, Shall we rise, and Jesus walk with me. These songs show the depth Cooper can write and play in. His slide playing is strong and compliments his superb vocals. His finger picking is as good as it gets. He is backed by some fine musicians who interpret Cooper’s songs very well. Cooper shows his strengths on Drifters & Dreamers. He’s not a flashy guy, but he’s the kind of musician who will be around for a long time to come. He plays to his strengths and shows no signs of weakness! I‘m sure you’ll be hearing a lot of Travis Cooper in the future in Americana Music, both as an artist and song writer. Review by: Andy Ziehli
The Dang It Bobby’s ♪♪♪♪♪ Big Trouble Independent Release Country/Americana
enough angst in his voice to make this New York band sound like they came out of a more rural setting. The recording of the CD is raw. The engineering of this CD is simple and to the point. No wild effects, doubling, or spacey echoes here. The music was captured in a true to life way. It almost sounds as if the Dang It Bobby’s are playing in your living room. My favorite cuts on this CD are Middle Ground, Michelle, ad Sack,Whiskey Strut, and Road Kill Jerky. This is a fine collection of Bluegrass tinged music;think Old Crow Medicine Show meets Five Chinese Brothers. New York musicians always have a different way of expressing classic Country/Folk/Bluegrass music than the rest of the country and on this CD that works real well. I really enjoyed this CD!!! It’s a keeper!!! www.thedang-itbobbys.com Review by:Andy Ziehli
Gretchen Peters ♪♪♪♪♪ Hello Cruel World Style: Folk-Americana Scarlet Letter Records Like many other Country/Americana fans,I first became aware of Gretchen Peters back in the mid-90s when Martina McBride cut “Independence Day,” a Peter’s song that was both intelligent and brave, tackling the unexpected subject of domestic abuse. Other writers have done it both before and since – Marshall Chapman, Matraca Berg, the Dixie Chicks – but nobody has done it with a greater sense of truth, and at a time when lyrical ambition seemed to be receding from the country charts, here was “Independence Day” climbing toward the top. In the fifteen or so years since that triumph Peters has continued to carve her own niche as one of the most lyrical of Nashville’s songwriters. She’s a poet first (which is, in fact, how her writing began) and she wraps her words in a folk-music sound that’s both gentle and edgy. Her latest CD,“Hello Cruel World,” is perhaps her best, which is high praise indeed. Filled with songs written against the turbulence of 2010 – the Gulf Coast oil spill,the Nashville floods – the album represents Peters at her most reflective. On the surface, it is dark, songs of families coming apart, the haunting memories of lost love – and yet as the title song suggests, Peters finds hope in the sheer fact of survival, a triumph of perseverance and courage. All eleven cuts are so lyrically intense that each could be an essay in itself. I think my favorite may be “Dark Angel,” a duet sung with Rodney Crowell, exploring the intertwining themes of religion and love. And if there is no hereafter And there is only here Life is still a beautiful disaster Ah but we both know that my dear As the album unfolds, there are gritty story songs adding blood and guts to Peters’ ruminations about permanence and truth.“Five Minutes” tells the story of a waitress remembering a man in Texas, a lover from the days when she was young, and the owner of a restaurant who wants to take his place. But something inside me just withers up and dies to make love to him and only see your face.“Camille,” written with Matraca Berg and Suzy Bogguss, tells of a woman trying to dull her pain through a string of brief encounters in her bed, and “Idlewild,” written against the backdrop of Peters’ childhood, recounts her own and the country’s loss of innocence. But perhaps the most powerful song of all is “The Matador,” an ode to love and beauty and art, so poetic that it put me in the mind of Leonard Cohen. Peters, however, doesn’t need to be compared to other writers, for she is fully and completely herself, and with the backing here of some of Nashville’s finest musicians – including Will Kimbrough,John Gardner, and Peters’ husband, Barry Walsh – the Americana world is the richer for her presence. Review by: Frye Gaillard
The Dang It Bobby’s is an area band out of New York. Kris Bauman and guitarist Luca Benedetti formed the Band in 2004, the two Brooklyn based musicians distill classic Country and Bluegrass music, ferment it with modern indie sounds and age it with the intricate harmonies from the Golden Era of Jazz, and in other words they play really cool music!!! Big Trouble is a fun filled 13 song CD. The songs are well written and the instrumentation is very high. The players are all well accomplished on their instruments making this CD a joy to listen to. Bauman is a great vocalist for this style of music. He has just 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
The Story of Two Full Blooded, 100 % North American Yard Dogs REX & COFFEE - adorable dogs of Warner & Deb Hodges, Nashville, TN
Deb and Warner
ber and has been living in Nashville with the Hodges for 11 years. Coffee provides undying devotion in turn for the wonderful life the Hodges have provided her. (At least this is what she told me. Coffee is even Warner’s protector. Once on a construction job site, a friend of Warner’s had been accosted earlier in the day by some sort of maniac. This friend,Joseph was showing Warner how the guy had grabbed him. At this point, Coffee came unglued until Joseph finally released Warner. Joseph thinks she is a “BAD” dog, but she is wonderful. I can vouch for that!!!! (They are both wonderful and I think they love me too)
Now Warner and Deb Hodges are great friends of Andy and me. You probably have read stories about Warner in this magazine many times. Rock Star Warner, the greatest guitar player in the world, playing lead guitar with Jason and the Scorchers, Dan Baird and Homemade Sin and now in The Bluefields! Deb is the woman that stands beside Warner (not behind) and is responsible for taking care of all his band business, besides being a wonderful wife, mother, grandma and friend! When I was visiting them recently, I had the honor of spending a little time with their two dogs, Rex and Coffee. Since Warner, Deb and Andy were busy solving the world problems, I had myself a little chat with these two critters and here is their story. Coffee and Rex are both rescue dogs. I’m not sure if they rescued Warner and Deb, or Warner and Deb rescued them? Coffee is a Beagle/Lab Mix and is madly in love with Warner. If she were human, you might even call her a stalker. I think she has him confused. Is he her Daddy, her boyfriend or a fellow pack member? She definitely knows though that Deb is the Alpha male in this house. Coffee is truly a treasured family mem-
Now there is the other little fellow, Rex. Rex is a Dachshund/Wire Haired Terrier Mix that literally fit in the palm of a hand when their daughter Emelia brought him home. When Emelia picked him up, the other little children threw tantrums because they couldn’t have him. The Dachshund Rescue Alliance even came and checked out their house twice before the would let them have him. Rex is a true Rock Star like his Dad,Warner. Rex is about 6 years old and likes to sit on your lap whenever possible. He’s not a yappy dog and he likes to play. If he does let out a bark it is usually for a good reason. In fact he really is probably just asking if he can lick you or if you would please pet him. After Emilia left for college, Warner started taking Rex to work with him in the truck. Both dogs feel that it is their truck and if it moves they are SUPPOSED to be in it! I’m surprised they even let Warner drive it. Yup, these dogs have the life. They are loved and well cared for – no wonder they chose to live with Warner and Deb. And now they have a new addition to the family. Warner and Deb have a new grandbaby. Congratulations!! Enjoy the lovely photos of Coffee and Rex. In Warner’s own words,“They are both Full Blooded, 100% North American Yard Dogs. I love my dogs! This is about as good as it gets!!!!” Info supplied by: Warner and Deb Hodges Photos by: Joyce Ziehli w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
Bob’s Guitar Corner Welcome to the first of a series of guitar lesson for beginners. Let’s start with the guitar pick.This is the guitarist tool for playing rhythm and single note picking. There are a variety of pick shapes and thickness’available.You should try some different ones to see what feels best for you. I prefer a heavier beveled pick with a rounded point.The way I see it is, pointed pick=pointed sound, round pick=round sound. It all really comes down to personal preference.A good place to start with holding the pick is to close your pick hand (like a loose fist). Grasp the pick between your thumb and index finger.You want the feeling of having a firm grasp but still being relaxed. One idea I try to convey to my students about this is to imagine you have a grasshopper in your hand. You don’t want to kill the grasshopper, but you don’t want it to get away.You might want to even just practice holding the pick on a regular basis while doing something mindless such as watching TV, or riding the bus.The next thing you need to start doing is on the open strings of your guitar (one string at a time) is to slowly swing the pick with down and up motions on a single string.This is called alternate picking which is probably the most common and useful of all the picking techniques out there.You can develop a practice routine with this by starting on the first string(thinnest),and alternating downup strokes for 30 seconds on each string till you get to the sixth string (thickest). Do this slowly so as to develop control and even picking like a metronome. Remember, slower is faster. Once you get this try alternating between 2 adjacent strings. Start on the second string with a down pick, then an up pick on the first string. Repeat till bedtime. This is not intended to take the place of a teacher. No book or article will ever be able to do that. Find a teacher that can help you achieve the goals you have for your enjoyment of playing music.
Billy Dean joins Kenny Rogers on 2011"Christmas & Hits Tour"
Bob Westfall is a multi-instrumentalist,songwriter,performer,recording artist,producer, and has been teaching guitar, mandolin and other string instruments for 30 years. For contact or lessons email to firstname.lastname@example.org
GRAMMY Award-winning country music star Billy Dean will join country legend Kenny Rogers to “jingle all the way” from Columbus, Ohio to Westbury, New York on Rogers' 30th "Christmas and Hits Tour" kicking off the day after Thanksgiving. The country stars will perform a mixture of holiday classics and their respective hits throughout 16 cities for the“Christmas in America”themed tour. The tour makes every concert a unique experience for each city by inviting local children’s choirs to accompany the duo on stage for the show. Dean believes this is a heartwarming aspect of the tour and the part that he enjoys most. “A big highlight is getting to rehearse each day with the local kids who join the show,”says Dean.“To use Kenny's words,‘it's not Christmas until the choir sings.'" 2011 KENNY ROGERS "CHRISTMAS AND HITS TOUR" DATES: Dec. 7 – Fayetteville,AR – Walton Arts Center’s Baum Walker Hall Dec. 8 & 9 – Lake Charles, LA – L’Auberge du Lac Hotel & Casino – Event Center Dec. 10 – Choctaw, MS – The Arena at Golden Moon Hotel & Casino Dec. 14 – Bowling Green, OH – Bowling Green State University – Stroh Center Dec. 16 – Easton, PA – State Theatre Center for the Arts Dec. 17 – Mashantucket, CT – MGM Grand at Foxwoods – MGM Grand Theater Dec. 19 – New Brunswick, NJ – State Theatre Dec. 20 – Verona, NY – Turning Stone Casino – Event Center Dec. 21 – Buffalo, NY – Kleinhans Music Hall Dec. 22 – Schenectady, NY – Proctors Theatre Dec. 23 – Westbury, NY – NYCB Theatre at Westbury Info supplied by: Absolute Publicity, Inc. 2607 Westwood Drive Nashville,TN 37204
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Looking for a Great Venue to See Some Awesome Music? Visit THE BRINK LOUNGE in Madison and Say, “HELLO” to Elizabeth Brink!
The Brink lounge hosts a variety of musical artists five nights a week,Tuesday through Saturday, booked as far out as into next may, though there are still openings available before then and an eclectic schedule of events from weddings to business meetings to fund-raisers and everything in between. There have been a host of venues in Madison, on the isthmus, even Club de Wash, the Whitehorse Inn who have served these communities and found themselves on the brink, but the Brink, is just on the verge....
AM: So how did the idea of the Brink get born to you and Curt?
I popped into the Brink a little earlier than Elizabeth and I had planned, and I was surprised by an eclectic group of folks gathering, laughing, groups growing as they gathered awaiting the music. Some enjoying pizzas, someone strumming a guitar in the corner, that must have been the entertainment for the evening, national artist, David Wilcox. There is a very nice green room off the main stage in the nightclub,but David felt very comfortable relaxing in the lounge and preparing for his concert – which was very well attended. Rock and roll played on the sound system. It was a surprisingly mature audience, made me feel like I’m too young for my 9:30 bed time. It was a more mature audience on this evening, but generally we cater to people of all ages and seem to appeal to a variety of musical tastes. The Brink has a square bar. While the Good Lord may not have intended for us to hang around in bars, if he had, he would have intended us to all hang around at square or Ushaped bars, so we could look across at the other people doing what we are doing and measure ourselves against them. Elizabeth did things owners do, she lit some candles to set a welcoming atmosphere, she visited with her guests and invited their feedback, they seemed to feel important.The Brink seemed enormous. We are spacious in that we have numerous areas for hosting private and semi=private groups. The Brink has been the Brink for almost 6 years. Curt developed the Old Buy and Sell Shop for Jim and Marlene Korb intending to make a destination entertainment venue, and he's done just that. The Brink hosts 7-8 bands a week, which may draw 50-100 guests during the week, and up to 200 on weekends with additional people at the various events scheduled. AM:What does the world you move in already know about you that I don't? EB: All the music that comes in comes through me, and I promote them all and my business as a result.
EB:Well, Curt developed this building, as I said, with the intent to host music, and I thought, well, if I'm going to do this, I'll have to be involved full time. AM:What did you do before this? EB: I'm a retired elementary school teacher. AM: No kidding? What grade? EB: I taught fourth grade in Belleville, that's where I grew up. AM: So how does a retired elementary school teacher grow a passion in the music promotion business? EB:This probably answers your question better: I have always been involved with music in one way or another, from band to choir to ballroom dancing and participating in the Nutcracker Ballet to simply going out to hear great music. Very early on I became aware that there is such amazing talent,locally and regionally and became excited about becoming a part of the local music by supporting it as much as possible. I depend a lot on social media, I've developed our website, which has our extensive calendar of events. AM:Are you a musician? EB: No, but I played in the high school band, in fact, my high school band director plays here on the fourth Thursday of every month with the Madison Jazz Orchestra. AM:Who was that, what did he play? EB: Bill Grahn, he played saxophone, always a woodwind artist.
AM: Is there a house band? AM: It's a broad variety of music you host here.Tell me about that. EB: No, there really isn't. Aaron Williams and the Hoodoo play on the first and third Wednesdays of the month, Mary Gaines and Chris Wagoner play regularly, dueling pianos are here regularly, Harmonious Wail...we have a lot of regulars, and a lot of regulars who gather and organize evenings of entertainment, but no real house band.
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AM: It seems like sometimes you should put the phone down though, doesn't it? EB: Booking the music is really my baby, and I saw who it was, and thought, "Oh, I've got to take this call!" AM:What's coming up at the Brink? EB: Well I'm looking forward to our Holiday Extravaganza, which is a formal event- black tie optional- on December 17th. AM: So share with us a little more about you, while growing up, what did you want to be? EB: Oh, I wanted to be a schoolteacher! AM:What's your favorite style of music? EB:There are too many to choose, I love everything, I love rock and roll and I love gypsy swing, and I love jazz! In fact I serve on the Jazz at Five Board of Directors. AM:What have you been listening to in your free time? EB: In the car, I've been listening to Adell, I listen to Roger Whitaker, I love the Beatles, I listen to the Statler Brothers. each other; itâ€™s begun to take some of the pressure off me. A couple of examples are MadToast Live,hosted by Chris Wagoner and Mary Gaines who present shows with different performers twice monthly and podcast each concert. Another example is Beth Killeâ€™s Chick Singer Nights. There are others as well and they have been very successful.
AM: Of all the groups you've welcomed at the Brink, was there any one who surprised you?
AM: How far out is the venue booked?
AM: Elizabeth, tell me three things which you are NOT?
EB: I am booking in May, but I have some availability between now and May.
EB: Bored, Sedentary, and I'm never without people I enjoy being around. I love doing this, and I've never met a musician I didn't like. I don't sit still long, if I need a re-charge of my batteries, I'll take a drive or hike.
AM:What's the best thing about running a music venue? EB: It's seeing so many people supporting local music, there is just so much talent- it's a totally amazing wealth of talent. Plus, I get to choose the music that plays at our venue.
EB:Walan St. Palan and the Magic Elves did a Christmas show, it was like a mad cabaret, it was absolutely hilarious!
AM:What's the worst thing?
AM: Okay, the speed round: Cake or Pie?
EB: Oh, that I can't get back to everybody who requests dates to play here. I try to stay as connected to the musicians as I can, I used to have time to sit down and write them all a thank you note after they were here, but they've gotten to be too many to be able to do that anymore.
EB: I'm not much of a dessert eater, but cake.
AM: How do you do this? How do you be a music promoter?
AM: Morning person, or night owl?
EB: I sort though the various requests, fit my event schedule with the different time slots and genres, book the music and advertise the dates. When I need to take time off, I do. We have a great staff who keep things under control. I'm pretty active,I hike,love to play golf, and I spend a few weeks each winter in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. AM: Do you have family there? EB: I have a sister there, I go stay with her. AM:What about the rest of your family, are they nearby? EB: I have one son in Manhattan and two sons, 1 stepson and their wives and 4 grandchildren living in New Glarus and Madison. I absolutely love being near them. AM: So you grew up in Belleville, and lived in New Glarus, and now you spend your time on the isthmus, how do you feel about being a business owner on the isthmus in Madison? EB: It can be hectic and exciting at the same time. We really enjoy so many different groups of people though,we have a lot of fund-raisers,people bring there business meetings here, we are booked with numerous weddings, sometimes Friday and Saturday on the same weekend throughout the year. There are so many different kinds of events that happen here, not just the music. AM: How do manage all of that? EB: For some of the larger events, that are hosted by us, such as our Holiday Extravaganza, I have the support of a good group of girlfriends who will come and help out! I really work hard to promote our business, and that means promoting all of the events that take place here. All I really need is my phone and my computer, and I can get it done! I've booked bands from a cruise ship in Alaska, from a hospital bed once. w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
EB: Well I've made the transition. When I was a schoolteacher, I was a morning person, but now I have to be a night owl! AM:What's your guiltiest pleasure? EB: I enjoy a fine glass of red wine! Elizabeth and I shared a visit for a while longer after my interview questions were satisfied. She shared about herself generously and I really enjoyed getting to know her. The Brink is an all-purpose events site and you should make time to enjoy some local musical talent there soon. Elizabeth's passion is based on an amazing wealth of talent, and we should all take her lead and support it! You may wonder, dear reader if controversy and edgy expose are in my repertoire of writing genre- and that would be a fair question. But honestto-Pete, that publisher of mine keeps handing me interviewee after interviewee who are just about the nicest folks you ever want to meet. There just don't seem to be any seedy folks with questionable morals and checkered pasts that Madame Jayzee means to introduce me to, or maybe she's just keeping them all to herself. The Brink Lounge 701 E Washington Ave, Madison,WI 53703 http://www.thebrinklounge.com Story by:Anne Miller Read more from Anne at her website: takeascavengerhunt.com
Get Ready Nashville…
BRIANA HARDYMAN Will Be Coming Back Better and Stronger Than Ever Andy and I have been following Briana Hardyman’s career over the past couple of years. We try to go see her perform when we can and hope that after you read this story, you will go see her too and check her out on the web! Andy did a story on Briana awhile back in the Americana Gazette and here is an insert from that former article: “Hardyman is a very eclectic musician and writer.She favors Bonnie Raitt style vocals in some songs, and then sounds like a young Loretta Lynn in another.”Americana Gazette, 2008. Singer/songwriter Briana Hardyman has been compared to a diverse range of artists such as Stevie Nicks, Emmylou Harris, Jennifer Nettles, Bonnie Raitt, and Lucinda Williams. Hardyman delivers emotionally injected, rootsy songs and performances with hints of blues,soul,folk,and country.A natural entertainer,Hardyman was formerly trained as an actor before dedicating herself to the craft of songwriting. A calm, charismatic performer, Briana touches a breadth of listeners in a personal-yet universal, sensitive-yet powerful, and gentle-yet stirring manner.Americana Gazette senior writer Andy Ziehli called her stage presence “awe striking” following an intimate blues club performance.“Hardyman has a beautiful deep, full of emotion delivery, and every tune that she leads is a spirited journey. After a brief period in New York City, Briana ended up in Nashville,TN where she had been actively performing and writing since 2006. Following many performances throughout the Southern USA in 2007/2008,
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Hardyman spent the latter part of 2008 touring the UK. Hardyman is currently back in Wisconsin performing with a variety of musicians, including Doug Sies, lead guitar and vocals,Jim Smith,drums and vocals,and Mark Gruenenfelder,Bass and vocals, and Kyle Scott to name a few. One night after a busy day at my regular job, I met Briana at our local Culver’s. We sat outside on a table in the cool Fall air and Briana updated me on what was happening in her life and we talked about her latest CD. We laughed a lot as well, but didn’t ever get around to having any custard – what’s wrong with us? Joyce: Well, Briana, what’s going on in your life and what’s new in your music career these days? Briana: I’m working on my latest project; we’ve got the first song that we demoed in Andy’s studio,“Scars”. We’ve been writing away in the studio, and booking gigs for the 2012 year. We’ve got the Green County Fair coming up on July 20, 2012. That’s kind of a big one for us. We are excited.
up for your round. There are so many people and I was so intimidated by the whole scene of it. But then I started realizing, what do I care, what if they boo me? I’m living on my own, I don’t care – my car just broke down and I need to move on. It was hard. My first paying playing job was at a bar on a Thursday night in Crossville,TN. I was working a regular job at 7:00 A.M. and would drive a 3 hour round trip to play then have to get up and go to work again the next day. For me I had a fair share of hard knocks. Working on that duo project in Nashville was great training and eventually led me to doing my solo career. I’m happy with this choice. Actually the biggest break I got was when I moved back to Wisconsin and some random person I had worked with in Nashville asked me to play a gig in Nashville. He took me around to some record labels. It was amazing to see all this stuff. Nothing ever came out of it, but it sure was amazing!!! Joyce: Do you prefer writing alone or co-writing?
Joyce: Wow that sounds great. Let’s talk about this new CD you have out. How have sales been? Briana: Sales aren’t as good without you selling them for us. (laughs) I was impressed with you that night at the Fat Cat Coffee House. You just have a way about you. You can really sell CD’s. This CD is a compilation of basically all my favorite stuff, my original stuff over the years. From 2006 when I first recorded in Madison before I moved to Nashville, there is one song from there. A few songs from when I was in a duo project in Nashville, and these songs from the latest CD that I toured with over in England. And then one new original song. It’s actually kind of nice to look back over the years and rather than be embarrassed and thinking oh my gosh, I sounded like crapp back then,Wow, look at what I’ve done. This is where I was then and who I was, and who I eventually became and who I am becoming! Joyce: Do you have enough songs for another CD ready? Briana: Oh yea! I have enough for another CD. The songs that I write are almost like people’s kids. They always think their kids are so darn cute. Not always! Then I write a song and think that song is really good. I wait a few days and go back to listen to it and think that song really sucks.
Briana: I do co-write a lot with Doug. I don’t belong to any songwriting groups. I like to co-write with people if I know them. I enjoy writing with someone who understands what I am saying and we are on the same track, otherwise it gets kind of awkward. Doug is not a lyricist, but he’ll write guitar parts, and I get the feeling for it. This makes the hardest part of my job done. I got the motion, because he already painted the picture. Joyce: Co-writing songs is kind of like being married? Briana: I’ll need your advice on that!! (laughing) Joyce: What are your future goals, 5/10/15 years from now? Briana: My immediate goals are to play more recognizable shows, like the Green County Fair, the Star Spangled celebration. I’d like to have people really want to listen to our songs. Have an album that’s organic, the way people envisioned it. 5 years down the road, I’d like songs on the radio. A career just doing music, playing gigs that I am proud of and to make a comfortable living. Touring England was a lot of fun. People are so appreciative and they really listen to our songs. I like this. Joyce: Any advice to young people getting into the music business?
Joyce: Do you change it then? Briana: Some people do,but I usually don’t. Changes happen by mistake. For instance,I will be going over a song at practice and Doug might play a different (wrong) chord and I think that sounds a lot better. I make changes that way. I believe that once a song is born and has lived, if it doesn’t work, that’s what it was. Joyce: “Scars”– I absolutely love that song. Tell me what it is about, how did you come up with the lyrics?
Briana: First I’d say really start listening to other people who you admire and be objective about yourself. I always remind my mom about this story. I started singing in the Catholic Church. I would be so scared and I would look over to her from the choir for support and she’d be making faces, have big eyes. I guess this was her way of being objective. (we both laugh) Don’t head down to Nashville all full of yourself, you will be quickly deflated. There are tons of talented people down there trying to make it. You have to love music and be passionate about your music!
Briana: Well, cause I’m a moody woman. (we both laugh; Briana is one of the kindest sweetest people I know. I don’t think she has a mean bone in her body.) I just starting getting serious with my boyfriend (who is my fiancé now.)
Joyce: In your free time, any hobbies or what do you like to do to relax?
Joyce: Congrats!!!!!! (time out for a hug)
Briana: I’m a nerd. I like to read biographies on any type of important figures in history. I watch documentaries. I love to cook and bake. My Grandma taught me all the basics in this area.
Briana: Thank you. Well, when you get serious, that’s when you really start to get to know each other. I don’t know, maybe it’s just a woman thing or just a me thing. There’s certain things that some guys say that are just so stupid. Then you say to them, “Why did you even say that?” Then you get touchy about it. And so there were things that he (the fiancé) would say and I would not even be thinking and I would react right away. Just probably because it was a long 4 years in Nashville and being on my own and then learning to have some armor,and now to let someone in,there’s all these touchy spots. So he was almost testing me all the time to see what he could do. It was like poking at me and I’d say “ouch – that’s not a good place to hit.” So one day I was just messing around on the guitar and ended up writing a song and came up with the lines for “Scars”. Joyce: Is playing around here in Wisconsin a lot different than playing the venues in Nashville?
Joyce: What types of music do you listen to? Briana: I love Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams, Roy Orbison and Tom Petty. Joyce: In your dream world, where would the perfect venue be for playing a job and with whom would you like to share the stage with? Briana: Wow,this is a great question! Probably Austin City Limits with Lucinda Williams. Joyce: Briana this interview has been great and I could keep you here all night asking questions, but I will let you go now. Thank you ever so much and good luck in your music career. Briana: Thank you Joyce.
Briana: I’m happier being back here because of the community;the people that I make music with, Doug, Jim, Mark, Kyle and all the other supportive people like you and Andy. It’s all the people that I trust. It took a long time to get anywhere in Nashville. It took me about a year before I went to any of the song writing sessions. That’s where you all wait around all night to get w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
Please go check out Briana when she is playing in your area and check her out on the internet at HYPERLINK "http://www.myspace.com/brianalynnhardyman" www.myspace.com/brianalynnhardyman! Story and photos by: Joyce Ziehli
Resting among the beautiful rolling hills of Hendersonville,TN Panda Productions was started by Dan Drilling in 1992. Since that time, and many recordings and countless demos later, Dan has continued to bring the years of experience, high quality gear, and a studio that is made to promote creativity and artistry in a professional, yet all set in a very relaxed atmosphere. Dan took some time in between recording projects to talk about what’s been happening out at Panda. AG-Good to see ya Dan. So what was it that first brought you to Nashville? Dan- I had come from Illinois and had run the gamunt of playing clubs there. I had played in a club there and ironically the mirror that was hanging in the club that I looked into the first night I played, was the same one I looked into 5 years later when I was ready to leave. I got tired of the club circuit and wanted to make a serious living at it. I gave my 2 week notice and left for Nashville. AG-You began touring with Randy Travis for the classic 'Storms Of Life' tour. How did that come about? Dan-I hung out a club called the Stagecoach on Murfreesboro Road. Randy's piano player liked how I played and thought I would be a good fit.And then from Randy, I went on to play the Grand OIe Opry with Jimmy C. Newman in 1990.And I still do. AG-What brought on the decision to start Panda Productions? Dan- I just didn't want my career to be hinged on one guy, whoever I was playing with. I wanted to be independent of that. So in June of 1992, I started to build Panda Productions. AG- So describe some of the advantages a studio like this brings to the artist who may be shopping different kinds of studios to do their project? Dan- Well, I don't have the overhead that the big studios have, so I can keep the costs down there. It’s really turnkey type operations in a lot of studios. Get them in and out and hope the client is happy in the end. And some places can be very intimidating. Panda is a really comfortable place to record. I have much of the same kind of gear that the big time studios have. Aside from Blackbird and Ocean Way, obviously. And with the new console I just added, the quality will be so much better than a Pro Tools setup with a computer at home. It stays warmer and richer sounding as it goes to the digital mix down and mastering. AG- So not only having great gear and knowing how to use it,you also bring the knowledge of helping out with arrangements as well for the client, if they need it, right? Dan-90% is knowing what you need in preproduction. Knowing the quality of players the client may need. If you have great studio players involved, they come in knowing what to do for the track after they hear the demo,and they sort of 'produce' themselves to a degree.And they can be open to ideas and thoughts. Same with the engineer. AG- Is it hard to balance the difference between artists who may be seeking perfection in the studio vs. those who may want a more raw mix?
the artist have to have their homework done in preproduction.The vision should be decided upon before any tracks are laid down. My studio guys I use are going to bring a 'polish' just in the way they play naturally. It’s really in the mix down that decides how raw it will be. I don't deal with sloppiness in a studio performance (laughs). There’s a big difference in sloppiness and a 'wide open' type of mix. AG-How critical is it for studios to utilize the current gear coming out, while still using the 'old standards'? Dan- There’s a lot of great new stuff out there. Lawson is building great microphones now.Some of the quality in certain newer gear has suffered,compared to the older,vintage gear. But, it’s not always 'old is best'. AG- What are some of the mixing trends in Americana music that you like when you listen to some of the new records? Dan- I like the 'wide open' feel to it.The feeling where anything goes.The fact there isn't so much a right or wrong of doing it.There’s no strict industry standard. If it’s good, it’s good. AG- Anything you don't like? Dan-Some production on some records can be a bit questionable to me… coming from a Nashville guy, ya know? (laughs). I was taught to be a kind of 'color in the box' kind of engineer. But since I've done a few Americana records now, its gotten to be fun for me. For me, the big thing can be the drum sound. I try and find the happy medium between a slightly more polished drum sound and the rawer one. Going for a more 'roomier' sound, if you will. AG-You've also diversified to include movies and film, mixing voice overs and sound track music.Tell us how that’s been going. Dan- (laughs) It’s a lot of fun. But can be very tedious.The actors do their work in L.A. and send it here. Its funny hearing folks like Rob Schneider laugh in between takes as they're doing the voices on animated things. It’s a lot of work to dig through many takes.It can add up to 12 hours to get a 20 minute segment.Very tedious,but fun when it all comes together. AG-Without revealing too many secrets, are there any recording philosophies that you live by from record to record? Dan-Get it right, however long it takes.You just can't put a timetable on being creative. From the singing to the final mix down ,its all critical in the creative process. Its done when it all feels right. It can be just as important to get away from it for a while.That might be the big secret, staying away and coming back with a fresh perspective.Take a motorcycle ride, and be sure to bring your brains back with ya! (laughs) Check out Dan's studio at pandaproductionsofnashville.com for recording packages and sound clips. Story and photo by: Travis Cooper
Dan-Not if you know in preproduction what the client wants. Both the engineer and
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YODEL ay -HEE –HOO This past year, on the 4th of July weekend, my son Andy and his wife Joyce invited a few friends and family to their home for a get-together. Their friend Phil Lee, the entertainer, was in town and spent the weekend with them. Marc Barnaby brought his family, including his parents from New York State. We were joined by Andy’s siblings and a few friends from Belleville and New Glarus. It was a great gathering. In late afternoon we were entertained by Marc and Phil. Marc sang an original song he had written about his daughters (of whom he is very proud) and he accompanied Phil on the guitar. Phil, with his quick wit and his sanguine personality, was great both singing, playing the guitar and harmonica. At some point in the program he asked if anyone would like to sing.There was utter silence.Then a voice in the crowd spoke (it was Joyce) “Andy’s mom can yodel.” And so I did, much to everyone’s amazement especially my husbands. First I did a cowboy yodel and then I did a Swiss or Alpine yodel. I have always known how to yodel. It started when I was a kid.When we would have get-togethers my mom and my aunts would sing, play the guitar and accordion and they all knew how to yodel. I would be in the background imitating them and yodel to myself. It didn’t seem hard to do.When I was a kid I would go to movies that Judy Canova was in and listen to her.Then I would come home, watch myself in the mirror and see if I could do the same thing. Judy Canova is best remembered as a comic actress. By the time she was 12 she and her brother and sister were performing together in an act known as the Three Georgia Crackers.They told jokes and sang songs on the radio in Jacksonville, Fla. Later she was in movies and that is where I heard her yodeling. She had her own radio show. She was also a recording artist in the 1940’s and 50’s. The English word for yodel is derived from a German word Jodeln.The alpine style of this has been the biggest influence on today’s style of yodeling.This style of yodeling was used in Alpine folk music in the Central Alps as a means of communication between the herders and their stock and between people who lived valleys apart.The year 1545 is the earliest date mentioning yodeling. It was described as a call from a cowherd from Appended which is a canton in Switzerland. Every year, in June, over 15,000 professional yodelers meet in Biel, Switzerland at Switzerland’s biggest Jodlerfest.
CELIA: Greetings! It’s November again (at least it was when I wrote this), and that means NaNoWriMo! Thirty days and nights of literary abandon.In other words, absolute insanity, reliance on Halloween candy for fuel and motivation, long nights, an excess of plot bunnies, and utter mayhem. Hooray! Even though NaNoWriMo is ultimately a writefest, lots of Wrimos listen to music while they write, and the clever folks at the Office of Letters and Light have even included a spot on the author info bit of your dashboard in which to inscribe (I’m feeling like using epic words randomly today, don’t judge me) your favorite noveling music. The question is,is the music a help or a hindrance? If you know the lyrics to the songs you’re listening to, you tend to sing along, which makes it pretty hard to keep typing (unless you’re the super-duper best multitasker in the world, in which case I envy you a lot. Would you please lend me your brain?). Then again, music can be inspirational and can get you un-stuck from writer’sblock.Any fellow Wrimos out there (or even non-wrimos, I suppose)? Which side do you hail from? Is it terrible that the Procrastination Station is hosting a CD swap (which I believe is an annual occurrence)? Should this sort of thing be encouraged? (I hope you can tell that I’m trying to be funny.) It feels like there should be a ‘tune in next week for….’ sort of thing here. Hmm… NaNo-rant aside, is anybody else sort-of dreading winter? It’s supposed to be quiet snowy this year… I think I’d like it to stay colorful… Alas.Would that I could change the seasons. And now for a drastic change of topic: Pandora radio. I’ve personally sort-of fallen in love with this sight (www.pandora.com). For those who don’t know, Pandora is an online radio thingy where you make an account (free, as long as you’re willing to listen to some pretty short adds every now and again), and then you can listen to the music you like. One types in a song title, artist, or composer that one likes, even genres (yes, we’re switching to the ‘one’ point of view.Why? Because it’s fun!), and the website will play songs that it thinks you will like (it picks the songs because they have similar traits, for example, acoustic guitar or breathy vocals).You can create all the stations your heart desires for the low, low price of absolutely nothing! (Yes, I stole that from the BBC advert.). Anyhoo, hopefully you’ll go check that out.Also, Hard Times Come Again No More got stuck in my head recently. When it’s sung more quickly than usual, it almost sounds cheerful.To conclude the randomness, porcupine. Written by: Celia Carr
recording of Chime Bells learned to yodel by listening to Jimmy Rodgers. One of the great country legends of the 1950’s Hank Snow was known as the Yodeling Ranger in Canada where he performed for many years and said he learned to yodel by listening to Jimmy Rodger’s records. Lovesick Blues is a song that has been sung by many fine artists such as Glen Campbell, Patsy Cline, Slim Whitman, Linda Ronstadt and George Strait but the version most remembered by people is the recording by Hank Williams in 1948. There were female vocalists who had their own distinctive way to yodel such as the De Zurik sisters. They became stars on the National Barn Dance and the Grand ole Opry radio shows in the 40’s. Patsy Montana will always be remembered for her signature song “ I Want To Be A Cowboy Sweetheart” and the yodeling that went with it. This was again made popular by Lee Ann Rimes in the 1990’s. The trend for yodeling and country music lasted through the 1940’s but by the 1950’s it became few and far between to hear an entertainer yodeling in country western music.
Yodeling made its’ way to the United States around 1815. It was brought to this country by German and Swiss immigrants. In the area of the country where I live the Alpine or Swiss style of yodeling is extremely popular.There are yodel contests and festivals throughout the year. Riley Puckett, a blind singer from Georgia, was the first to record a country yodel. It was a top country hit that year and the song was “Rock all Babies to Sleep.” This was around 1924. In 1926 Jimmy Rodgers, Father of Country Music, released a recording of his famous song BLUE YODEL. It was an instant success and the craze for yodeling in the United States was on its way. Jimmy Rodgers is known for blending traditional work, blues, Hobo, and cowboy music. His style was unique and had a great influence on many country singers and yodelers.
I know I will never be another Patsy Montana or Lee Ann Rimes but on one 4th of July in Wisconsin a 76 year old grandmother had her 10 minutes of fame when she showed her family and neighbors that she had other talents beside keeping the cookie jar filled.And she reminded them that age doesn’t matter, unless you are cheese ,YODEL –ay- HEE HOO Story by: Rosemary Z Ziehli
There were and are so many great singers that can yodel. Elton Britt and his 1934 w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
Dan Baird, The Heart of Rock & Roll Dan Baird is one of the premier rockers/artists performing today. Baird fronts Dan Baird and Homemade Sin and plays bass and sings with the Bluefield’s, a super charged Rock & Roll band out of Nashville, and plays with Bobby Keys. Baird has been a musician his whole life since he saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. His guitar playing and singing is closer to Steve Marriot than John Lennon. Baird is a fantastic songwriter and song interpreter made obvious by his selection of cover tunes he plays in his live shows. Elusive is a good term to use when trying to snag an interview, Baird is not one to flaunt his stardom or his notoriety choosing to be the consummate musician and sideman, whatever the gig calls for. Joyce and I have known Baird for a few years and seen him play live many times. He is awesome to watch and listen to along with the great musicians he plays with (Warner Hodges, Mauro Magellan, Keith Christopher, Joe Blanton, Steve Gorman,Audley Freed, Bobby Keys and the list goes on). After some arm twisting by Joyce, Dan agreed to an interview and we are honored that he did! AG: How’s the weather down in Nashville? Baird: Not a cloud in the sky, 70 degrees, with a warm breeze and you? AG: It’s supposed to get down to 36 degrees tonight. Baird: Well you guys live in Extra Southern Canada what do you expect? AG: How did you get started in music? Baird: I liked it! It was immediate for me. You hit something and it went clang. I asked for drums and my folks bought me a guitar. As I followed my sense of timing I have determined that I have done very well with my timing issues and vocal pitch! I was so attracted to music. I loved the different parts, the words, the chords, rhythms just everything. I got into how vowels came out of different singers mouths, how people phrased sentences to make them work within the songs, just every part of the song. AG: Did you start out copying the Beatles and the Stones? Baird: Yea a little. They were better than I could be, but Johnny Rivers was someone you could emulate and play like him. You could sing kinda like that. He was my first big touch stone. He had a bad ass guitar player; James Burton who really rocked everything he played. That was music you could connect with. AG: You are a big fan of Steve Marriot. Baird: Yes I am. His loss is really still very sad for me. I still have his Fender Esquire and I still play it when I’m in town at gigs. He was the guy live and in person that showed me here’s what you want to do. He showed me how I should sing, not how I was singing. It needs to come out! He moved to Atlanta in 1981-82 and came out to see us play one night. He asked if he could sit in, and off course we said yes. Steve was sober which at that time was pretty
much a miracle for him. We figured out what song he was going to play “Let it Rock”. He keeps raising the key and slowing it down until he gets it where he wants it. Do you remember those old monitor amps by Phase Liner with the VU meters in them? AG: Yup Baird: Okay so we’ve got one of those running our monitors. I’ve got it set so if Rick Richards or I are eating the mic it only reads about zero. Steve gets a groove going and he walks up to the mic and let’s goes with the first line of the song. He’s about six inches off the mic and bends the needles on the amp. I just sat there and thought “oh man I got to get one of these voices”! It was someone who really knew how to do it. I must have looked like Buckwheat with my mouth wide open! You can do that? It then became my life’s mission to learn how to do that. I’ll never be able to imitate Steve, but I sure have learned how to do it with my voice. AG: How old were you when you got your first band together? w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
Baird: I was fourteen. The Flying Tigers, we were playing Quick Silver Messenger Services songs, Grateful Dead, some Stones, Cream, no Hendrix too hard, we wrote some of our own which was really horrible,and we did Brown Eyed Girl. I was in 10th grade. I was never in any bands after that until I was in my early 20’s. It was a pre-Satellites band that evolved into the Georgia Satellites. It was David Michelson, Rick Richards, Keith Christopher, and I playing Johnny Brunette songs. David had a hard time keeping tempo. He was my best friend and I had to fire him from the band. I wanted him to be as good as Doug Clifford from CCR but he wasn’t. Nothing flashy just steady, but he just could not do it. It was a shame because the original Satellites were built around David. After a lot of different bands we decided we were too old to make it and just played the stuff we liked, and then we made it! We went farther than we should have ever been able to do with the Satellites. It was fun and was hard. I had just turned 30 and everyone was real close so we had no business becoming famous rockers at that stage. AG: It was the right music at the right time. Baird: It was. There was no other stuff like it being made or recorded at that time and it struck a nerve with folks. AG: Have you always been a full-time musician? Baird: Heavens no! I was a land surveyor until the Satellites broke through. The Satellites were my first real paying gigs. I worked in a music store, did gross teenager jobs, but surveying was my real job for years.
to write a great song or sell a boat load of records? They don’t ever meet at the same point. It all depends on why you are writing that particular song. It’s the art and commerce thing. Did Prince know he was writing great songs that were going to sell, or did he just write songs for himself? You can always tell the people who are writing songs for themselves and the ones who are writing songs to make money. There’s nothing wrong with either, it’s just what you are doing at that time. Just because a song has meter and catchy words does not make it a great song. Someone telling you something that happened to them, takers you on a journey, and makes you feel it, that’s what makes a great song. If it connects with people and sells great. If not, that’s okay too if people like it and get it. AG: Are there any perfect songs out there? Baird: Yea there are. Dixie Chicken by Lowell George is a perfect song. There’s a great sing along chorus and a funny punch line in the third verse. It’s funny, believable, catchy, great groove, and great chords. Everything a great song should be. Maybelline is another fine example. AG: When you sing cover tunes, the songs you choose are not what people would think Dan Baird would cover. How does that come about? Baird: You’re right they are not what you would think I would cover. They get chosen because I can lock into emotionally and bring something out in them. Tears of a clown, American Girl, Daydream Believer, they have some connection to me and I can bring it out for others. AG: I love the way you do Tears of a clown and Hush! Baird: Thanks!
AG: Did you grow up in Atlanta? Baird: Grew up in Atlanta. I was born in San Diego. My dad was military and after he got out my folks moved back there when I was three. AG: Was your family musical?
AG: You do them so cool. After I saw you play Tears of a clown with the Jimmy’s I went home and figured it out myself. Hush though is very very cool! Joe South is the man! He’s the reason I started writing songs. I got a copy of Joe South’s Greatest Hits on8 track in the 70’s and learned every song on there. I studied them and still do.
Baird: My mom sang, my dad not so much. AG: After the Satellites made it and you are a “rich” rock star”, how did life change? Baird: I have a new set of problems vs. the regular set of problems I had to deal with my whole life! (We both laugh) AG: Did you have relatives come out of the wood work to get a piece of the action?
Baird: A great Joe South tune! Joe is the man! He’s incredibly soulful in his writing. Joe South is Jimmy Webb for the common man! AG: He is the one person on my bucket list I would love to be able to sit down and talk with. I was talking with Mike at Southern Tracks about getting together with Joe there. Mike was trying to set it up, and then he got cancer and passed away so I never got to meet Joe. Baird: He sang on the version we recorded. He’s a great guy. Pretty simple fellow, really common.
Baird: No I actually knew all my relatives. We never consistently made a boat load of money anyway. I could not fix my problems with the money I made, let alone someone else’s!
AG: When you go to write songs is there any special way to write a Dan Baird Song?
AG: Do you miss those days, the traveling the big shows?
Baird: It revolves around a line, a groove, a little melody, a lick like in Lil’Bit.
Baird: Do I miss those days? The traveling no. The Bus, that was cool. Bus life was great. You could lock yourself away in your bunk. Today would be even better with all the technology and electronics you can own.
AG: My favorite Dan Baird Song!
AG: So what’s your philosophy on songwriting? Baird: Oooh! AG: How’s that for a real in-depth hard hitting journalistic question? Baird: The song should have some intent in some way, shape, or form. You as the songwriter set the starting point and pull its intent out and follow that. AG: Do you think that young songwriters today go for more fluff than substance?
Baird:Wow! Thank you! It all came about from the guitar lick. My wife can attest to this. I played that lick over and over again for a long time, months and months until I figured out what I was going to do with it. It finally turned into something. AG: When you left the Satellites and went solo, how was that emotionally? Baird: At the time it was very freeing for me. The Satellites had become a bad box to be in. When you are the leader of a democracy and trying to make everyone happy it makes you fail. You can’t make everybody happy including yourself so it just doesn’t work! Mauro just wanted to have the world’s greatest job, Rick Price wanted all the money right now, Rick Richards wanted all the fame right now, and I want creditability amongst my peers right now, so we were not on the same page at all. Mauro was the only one who was probably reasonable about what he wanted and could have.
Baird: Well yea. It depends on what you are going to do with the song. Do you want continued on page 31
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God SMiLEd Today
Yes, importance. Why oh why are we so afraid of change? Brian Wilson was, to quote a good friend of mine, tuned in-tapped in-turned on. Brian was fully connected to his creative self and his spiritual self. At the heart of all of Brian Wilson’s music is love. Brian just wanted to make people happy, make them, yes, smile. The spiritual essence of the music of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys is what I have always connected to. Every single time I listen to a piece of music from the Beach Boys or Brian’s solo work I FEEL better. Even if I am already feeling great I always find myself feeling even better. Even the sad songs like “Till I Die”from Surf’s Up move me into a place of feelings of appreciation and that always makes me feel good.
It’s Tuesday November, 1st and I am holding in my hands something I never thought I would see in my lifetime. I actually still can not believe I am seeing what I am seeing. Somebody pinch me because if I am dreaming everything around me sure seems real. Today is a very important day. Today people all over the world will get to hear for the very first time the official release of the Beach Boys SMiLE album. I can not believe I am actually able to type those words. Yes folks. It is finally here! The Year is 1966 and the world is still wondering what happened to the Beach Boys as Pet Sounds spins on their record player. Gone are the songs about surfing and cars and in their place are tracks like“Wouldn’t It Be Nice”,“God Only Knows”,“Sloop John B.” and “Caroline, No”. Brian Wilson was on a mission. His heart was in a new and deeper place.“I wanted to create a teenage symphony to God,” said Wilson when asked about his new direction.
Brian Wilson was able to both hear and feel the vibration that is music. He was willing to hunt and explore and trust his connection to the universal vibration he called God. He was, and still is, willing to reach for the feeling first and then allow everything else to fall into place. What is finally revealed in the official release of The SMiLE Sessions is the laser sharp focus of a genius creator, creating. Brian Wilson along with his lyrists Van Dyke Parks, set out to create the most beautiful music ever heard. In my opinion they almost got there. Perhaps it is a good thing they did not. Perfection, as we all know, is impossible. Nothing ever is or ever will be perfect. The ongoing expansion of everything we know depends upon the never ending expansion of, well, everything! Brian Wilson, in my opinion, got as close to musical perfection as an artist can get. As I listen to the fragmented bits, and completed tracks that are contained on this beautiful album I quietly assemble the sounds together,layer by layer in my mind,into something beautiful for me. That is the greatest gift of the incompleteness of SMiLE. I, the listener, get to put the final pieces together in my own mind and have my own very personal spiritual experience using the framework created by Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys. Santa came early again this year!!
In his early 20’s Brian Wilson was on a very fast track of expansion. Pet Sounds was basically a Brian Wilson solo album. He created that music while the rest of the guys were out on tour bringing the music of the Beach Boys to the world. History has proven the importance of Pet Sounds. In 1995, MoJo Magazine voted it the greatest album ever made. In Rolling Stone’s list,The 500 greatest albums of all time, Pet Sounds ranked #2. Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys had created something that changed the world. And they were just getting started. SMiLE was to be the next release after Pet Sounds. The song “Good Vibrations” was released as a single in 1966 and pointed the compass toward the direction Brian and the Boys were heading. “Vibrations” was an eight month labor of love. Brian got his feet wet with Pet Sounds & Good Vibrations and was eager to explore even further the soundscape of what was possible with amazing musicians and state of the art recording gear. Enter SMiLE. In talking about the music that was to come on SMiLE, Dennis Wilson perhaps has my favorite quote of all:“In my opinion it makes Pet Sounds stink - that’s how good it is.” Care to tell us how you really feel Dennis? What I believe the second oldest of the Wilson brothers was trying to say was,“You ain’t heard nothing yet, baby.” So now we officially get to hear the groundbreaking skeleton tracks that have been assembled to resemble what might have been the official SMiLE release in 1967. The project was eventually shelved due to an ensemble of issues. Brian being a perfectionist and a visionary creator was stretching himself thin trying to get the music from his beautiful mind out and onto tape. The rest of the Beach Boys tried hard to take in and recreate what Brian was asking of them and Capitol Records was hounding Brian for the release. It all became too much and Brian just set it down. Instead of SMiLE 1967 brought us the Beach Boys album Smiley Smile. With Brian exhausted from the turmoil that surrounded his beloved “symphony to God”, the music on Smiley Smile was a shadow of the vision Brian had held. Smiley Smile contained pieces of the“symphony”but like any great work when you take parts out of the whole, it just does not make much sense. Without any kind of guide, meaning all the supporting parts of the original SMiLE project, much of Smiley Smile just seemed like the Beach Boys had gone off the deep end.
Girls Rock Camp
Since then the music of SMiLE has been passed around on cassette tapes as snippets of it somehow found their way out of the recording studio. What was heard sounded very strange because what we heard were the ideas that Brian was recording to be assembled later into his grand “symphony” that was to be SMiLE.
Girls Rock Camp Madison is an intense,one week day-camp for girls ages 8-18.Campers of all skill levels learn guitar, drums, keyboards, bass and vocals, form a band, write a song and perform at the end of week for friends, family, and hundreds of screaming fans.
But what I really want to talk about is not the technical aspects of SMiLE but rather its spiritual importance.
This group of young women –THE STARGAZERS – performed atThe High Noon Saloon in November. Check out Girl’s Rock Camp at: email@example.com
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CRIME AND PUNISHMENT No, this will not be about the great Dostoyevsky novel that is often considered the best novel ever written. But there will be a slight connection to the book when you reach the end of this. When I hear the term CRIME AND PUNISHMENT three incidents in my own life pop into my memory bank. Now I will share them with you, but only if you read this to the end, promise? My Crime and Punishment incidents all occurred during my school days. After my sixth grade year our country school closed and that fall I was transported by bus to the Brooklyn Elementary School and the 7 and 8th grade room. Some time during that 7th grade year we studied a certain poem in what was then called language class. After we had gone through the poem in class,our teacher asked us to memorize the poem,and he set a date in the future when we were to recite it to him. It never crossed my mind to not memorize it, and thus when the due date arrived,I was ready for the“test”. All through most of my school years we were seated in alphabetical order. Once language class began that day the teacher called students up to his desk to recite the poem. He called us seat-by-seat in that alphabetical order. The first person stood by his desk and stammered a few lines and stopped. It was obvious that person had not memorized the poem. The second person was called, and that student also failed. This went on until after the fifth student also failed the memorization. I would have been the next one called. The teacher was angry--mad in fact. “You will all stay in for every recess until you have learned this poem. Eighth graders you may go out to recess now.” We seventh graders sat in our desks not daring to look up or around. You could hear the clock ticking, and after what seemed like forever, the teacher asked if any of us had memorized the poem. I slowly raised my hand and I saw a couple more hands in the air. He motioned me to his desk. I easily and quickly recited the poem for him. “Good, Robert, you have paid your debt to society.” I had no clue what he meant, so I slouched back to my desk and sat down. “No, no, you can go outside to recess.” Later that day I located the term PAID YOUR DEBT TO SOCIETY in the dictionary, and I was much relieved that my “punishment” was indeed over. Every time I hear that someone has paid their debt to society, I think of the time back in seventh grade when it applied to me; well, actually only indirectly.
fate. The principal’s face was beet red when no one spoke up after his demand. “There will be no lunch until I have those basketballs back,” he shouted again. Only silence filled the room. “Okay, I assume that no girls would be involved in this, so all girls can leave.” The girls filed out, and the boys sat there silently with eyes downcast. By then other teachers had gathered in the room no doubt wondering why we were all still in our seats. The angry principal then called two male teachers to join him front of us. We were to come up one-by-one for questioning. My row was to face the principal himself. I muttered to him my innocence and lack of knowledge about anything to do with those basketballs. I was excused to my lunch break. I rapidly made my way to my locker, grabbed by paper bag lunch, and rushed out the door down to my great uncle’s gas station to have my lunch there with him. By the return time everyone was released for their lunch, and the missing basketballs had been returned. No one ever talked about it, so I have no clue to what really happened. That was the way crime and punishment was handled in those days. The third and final Crime and Punishment happened only a few weeks later from the one I just mentioned. Again it began in that assembly room as I sat in study hall. It was the practice that to leave study hall you made your way to the teacher’s desk located on a riser in front of the room. You asked for permission to leave the room, and if permission was granted, you signed out including the departure time. My destination was the wash room located in the lower lever basement area. As I was preparing to leave that bathroom and was washing my hands as part of that preparation, I reached out to the glass soap dispenser, and perhaps I pushed a bit hard for some soap, and the dispenser flew out of its holder into the air and crashed to the floor breaking into many pieces. Fear flew through my entire body. If missing basketballs was such a big crime, would not a broken soap dispenser be its equal? I bent down and picked up all the pieces of glass and threw them away. I took wet paper towels and cleaned up the soap. I washed the floor again and again until it did not seem so slippery. I am sure sweat poured off me. I knew I had been gone far too long, and I feared the teacher would soon enter the room and take me by the collar back to my seat in the study hall, and I feared what everyone sitting there would think about my crime and punishment. But no teacher appeared, and I knew I had to then go and confess my crime. I briskly walked to the principal’s office which was right across from that assembly hall. The secretary asked me what I wanted, and I told her I had to see the principal (my mind thought the dreaded principal). He heard me and called me over. I quickly confessed to my crime and explained my clean-up efforts. I took a deep breath and waited. “Thank you, Robert, for telling me. Knowing you I know you did not do it on purpose, and I appreciate your cleaning it up. Thank you. I am sure we have another one to put in its place. Now go back to study hall.” I wanted to run back! I wanted to shout my joy. But I walked back and signed in. The teacher made no note or comment on my long time away, and so as I slipped back into my assigned seat, I suddenly felt free and safe free of the punishment for my crime. And the connection to the book? A small lesson from the book is that the punishment we might give ourselves may be harsher than any punishment given out by those in authority. Our guilt can be the true punishment that we need for our crime. And if we are never caught for our crime, then the guilt is the harshest punishment that could ever be inflicted. Story by: Robert Hoffman
The second CRIME AND PUNISHMENT occurred a few years later when I was attending high school in Belleville. The school day began with all students gathering in the assembly room for roll call and announcements. Occasionally we might be called back for special assemblies at any time of the school day. On this particular day we were ordered back to the assembly room at the start of the hour lunch break. Our principal, a well known Belleville man,would often lecture us about things in those assemblies. Even when I knew he was not talking about me, I felt guilty, and I would have even confessed for something I had not done because of fear. On the day that I remember so well the principal was livid with anger. The noon hour basketballs were missing. They had not been turned in after the previous day’s noon hour activities. “You will not going to lunch until those basketball are returned or their where-abouts revealed.” I had never touched those basketballs, and I had no clue as to their location or their w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
He’s back! The first squirrel scout of the season has been back checking out the quality of things around my bird feeders. And he is a clever one at that, for he has remained on the ground sniffing around there and snacking on what he finds. The climbing of the tree and hanging upside down eating from the feeders will come later when he thinks I have mellowed enough to leave him alone. Of course,by then he will have invited a handful of his relatives to join him feasting on the food and suet at my feeders. It is only a lull before the storm! I am certain of that.
cause of my long history of being a public school teacher,and I also am interested in what music they do each week. You as a viewer have to overlook the obvious fact that the“students” are much too old to still be in high school. However, the decision this summer to search for new characters to serve as new students in the school will help make the student body more realistic. Apparently there will be a graduation of some of the characters during this season. Also disturbing to me is the focus on“meanness”. I am concerned that this focus will actually encourage bullying. The shows without a hint of meanness are shows much more realistic and enjoyable. Jane Lynch gets a lot of deserving praise for her acting in this series, but from my experience the staff, the administration, the student body, the parents, and the school boards would never allow a teacher as they write her to get away with her behavior and actions. Some or all of them would find ways to censure such a person,and he or she would soon be gone.Now they even have the members of the glee club fighting among themselves and leaving to join a rival glee club. They already used that plot in previous seasons. But if you do as I do, I record GLEE and watch the parts I want which are mainly the musical numbers. And you have to give this show credit for creating a new interest in glee clubs and similar musical groups in our schools.
The house is ready for Thanksgiving, and by the time you are reading this, the transformation to Christmas will be obvious. The staff of this newspaper will gather here at our house to celebrate another good year for Joyce and Andy and the AMERICANA GAZETTE. Congratulations to Joyce and Andy the force behind this publication, and congratulations to them because all editions are going to the State Historical Society to become part of the perYou ever have one of those horrible restaurant experiences that make manent collection there. Now all of us at the GAZETTE will belong to the ages. you positive you will never eat out again? After a recent stop at a Madison steak house our waitress said,“I guess we struck out with you There is no movie recommendation this time, but the high season of new block buster tonight." First, my selection from the menu was not available on that movies is upon us. No doubt by the next issue I will have seen a few of them, and hopenight. Only that was not relayed to me when I was handed the menu. fully I will find some of them worth recommending.So in the meantime pull out one of your Second, when my meal was delivered to the table after everyone else favorite DVDs and watch it again;maybe REARWINDOW or SINGING INTHE RAIN orTHE had been served, it was not what I had ordered. Third, my the correct SOUND OF MUSIC orTHE BIG CHILL or whatever is your favorite movie. Make it a family order came to the table just as everyone else at the table was over half night and these long cool nights will become special for you. done eating theirs, and my order was not prepared the way I ordered it. By the time I did get the correct order on the table,everyone else at Written by: Bob Hoffman the table was done or attempting to push around their last bite on the plate to pretend to still be eating so I would not be eating alone. The waitress did reduce the bill by a generous percentage,and I am not sure just where most of the blame went for the mix-ups, but I had enough apologies seemingly from the entire staff to last a life time. Sure I will I am bigger. give them another chance,but I will wait a bit before I do. I am bigger than the tired that I woke up with today. UFO Days in Belleville have come I am bigger than the sore in my feet. and gone. People have more fun over those UFO sights about 'You be bigger' our Moms taught us we should treat folks that way twenty-five years ago. Those promoting the event and those atwhen they treat us like we're litter in the street. tending all come to the day with a I am bigger than my fear of politics gone bad, light-hearted spirit and the result is a day of great fun. Friends coming for the first time and I am bigger than the sum of my debts. this year have told me they can’t wait until next year, and they already have plans to be part of more of the Now I'm taller than the curvy, slumped frame of my Dad activities than they did this year. I spent a good part of but I'm not smarter than to hedge all my bets. the day taking in money at the Senior Citizen food stand. You could never ask for an easier job serving I am wiser than I was such satisfied customers. When I was in my youth I want to recommend a good book to anyone interBut I'm more wrinkled ested in one. I just moments ago finished reading LIGHT FROM A DISTANT STAR written by Mary McAnd I don't move as fast. Garry Morris. I could not put this book down, and I I'm more worried than I was relished every single page. At times the bookTO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD came to mind.The central character in both books is a young girl, and about things with less weight both are yearning for justice. Nellie the central character in LIGHT FROMA DISTANT STAR is sensitive, smart, and plucky just as another author Lisa Unger has said of her. She is the and less worried about things in the past. kind of young woman all of us would admire and wish she was in our family. The author I still listen to the voices which give me the fits paints a town full of extremely interesting and complex characters. As a reader you have a vivid picture and understanding of every person whether a major or minor character. The and ignore the ones which make sense. author Morris offers us some chances to stop and think about how we behave,about how we judge others, and about how But now I listen to the sounds young people form their values and of the quiet and the still understanding of the world they are entering. The book shows us feel the air, if it's crisp or it's dense. what many families face in their I am bigger than mistakes I have made and I've fixed daily struggles particularly in today’s economy. The book reI am bigger than injustices done to me. minds us that a simple family of three children and two working But I had a chance to stand, and look, and find out parents is a family full of complex I am smaller than the big Gitchee Gumee. complications. I found this book one of the best that I have read this By: Anne Miller year.
I continue to hang in watching GLEE each week. I mainly do be-
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a singer – a songwriter – a poet An Interview with MARYBETH MATTSON from DOOR COUNTY, WISCONSIN
Joyce: Hi Marybeth. Tell me a little bit about your background. Where did you grow up, how did you get involved in the music business?
Joyce: Who are your musical influences and why? What types of music do you listen to?
Marybeth: Growing up we moved around quite a bit, enough that my two brothers and I were each born in a different state.Our definition of home has always been wherever together is.We spent some time each summer with our family at my grandparents’ cottage in Door County,Wisconsin. My mom and brothers moved there after I finished high school, and my grandparents retired there.When I finished college, Door County seemed like home – so here I am.
Marybeth: I really listen to a lot of different kinds of music: Joni Mitchell, Fiona Apple, Kim Richey, Cake, Nine Inch Nails,The Doors, Beck… More recently I’ve been listening to Mason Jennings, Brandi Carlile, and Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, all of whom I’ve gotten to see this year.The kinds of music I like best are lyrically interesting; the melody, the beat, they can be as catchy or strange, and as complex or simple as can be, but I’m a sucker for a good turn of phrase or a new way of looking at something. I grew up with a pretty limited selection of music for various reasons, so it’s really been only recently that I’ve been getting a musical education from the people I play with.They’ve helped me to appreciate a broader spectrum of music.Those are the people who have influenced me the most really – they’re all my family.
My family and music are like a couple going through marriage counseling. Music romances us and wants to take up all of our time, but most of us I still need a 9 to 5 to get by. I was a late bloomer to the business of music.Though I’ve loved singing all my life, and have been a poet since I was nine or ten, I didn’t have a natural ear for it. I’ve recently been informed that my mom was relieved when I finally started singing in tune...My mother,Jeanne Kuhns,recorded her third CD in 2008 and because she knew what it meant to me, she asked if I’d like to sing on a song.About a week after recording that song, something clicked in my head, and harmonies suddenly made sense.That Christmas my mom gave me her Ibanez acoustic guitar. Joyce: Do you play any instruments? If so, what and were you self taught? Marybeth: I can proudly say that I play guitar, something I couldn’t say two years ago. And, though I wish I could say that it came naturally, that I was self-taught, the truth is, it’s been hard work and I can’t thank my family and friends enough for helping me along the way.My mom gave me a few lessons when she gave me my guitar,just to give me the basics.Then I took lessons with Adam Mackintosh (The Dearest, Last Dancers), who gave me enough to think about for a year in 6 weekly lessons. But mostly I’ve learned, and continue to learn from my partner in rhyme, Seth Raddatz. I know, bad puns run in my family.
Joyce: Do you have a CD or CD’s? If so tell me a little about them. Marybeth: I’m in the process of recording my first full-length CD, which is totally an adventure.Tentatively titled Relative Hunger, it’s on schedule to be released in June of 2012. My songs are a statement of what is important to us, what we hunger for in life, and since everything’s relative,these songs are a reflection of what I’ve observed those things to be. I’ve also recorded a short collection of spoken word pieces, at least one of which I want to put on my music CD,because I think that music and poetry are complimentary to each other; they are similar and at the same time distinctly different. Joyce: Do you write your own songs or co-write with anyone? Marybeth: I do both. Mostly I write my own songs, but Seth and I have written a few together, and a few years ago I co-wrote a song called Bleed for Me with Megan Owens at the Holiday Music Motel’s Dark Songs week. I’d love to co-write more in the future, I think it’s a great way to stretch yourself in new directions, but it can be intimidating! continued on page 30
"Life and Times on the Farm"
To say that Richie Owens has a pretty deep musical heritage would be an understatement. From his great, great, great grandfather being portrayed as the fiddler in the movie,‘Cold Mountain’, to his own father being a musician and manager to Dolly Parton, who just happens to be Richie's first cousin. Over the years, when Richie wasn't making his own music,he's engineered records by the Georgia Satellites and Kentucky Headhunters and many others. He produced Dolly's 1998's album, 'Hungry Again’. He's built guitars for Dobro. He's even got his own signature mandolin for Washburn. From all this heritage, he’s forging his own way with his band, the Farm Bureau, which features Bob Ocker on lead guitar, Randy Hunt on bass, Michael Ferguson on drums, and Tommy McRae who handling rhythm guitar,keys,harmony singing and mandolin.They are creating quite a buzz here in Nashville. Blending the musical influences of the great Southern traditional melting pot,you'll hear elements of blues,bluegrass,folk and roots rock on their new CD ,’ In Farm We Trust’. Richie took time out his busy schedule to talk to the Gazette.
ing out soon.And I enjoy playing and working other people’s records. But with mine, I didn't want to have to worry about punching the buttons in the studio and recording myself. I needed to step back and be the artist for a change, instead of wearing all the hats.That’s what I love the most.
AG- Hey Richie! Just want to say congrats on putting out the new CD, 'In Farm We Trust'.When did work begin on it? Richie- Last year.We worked on it through the summer.Got finished in October.We got picked up by a larger label, e 1 Entertainment and we went for a fall release.
Richie- I've traced back the musicians in my family back to the Civil War. My grandpa was a songwriter and wrote songs for Kitty Wells. My aunts have written famous bluegrass songs, like 'Daddy Was Old Time Preacher Man' for Dolly Parton. So needless to say, songwriting is in my family's blood; poets and even authors who have written books.
AG- And you had a couple line-up changes too, right? Richie- Bob Ocker and I had a friend named Tommy McRae we had known for 20 years and we thought he would be a perfect fit; he's a utility guy who plays a bit of everything and a great harmony singer. He’s just a great addition to what we are doing. He helped bring us to the level where we are now. AG- You worked with well known producer Bil Vorndick on this record. Did you find a good chemistry working together, considering the role of producer and engineer that you've done yourself?
AG- Can you tell us a little bit on how the songwriting process goes for you? Richie-I don't try and write for the purpose of writing a hit. I don't try and write just hoping that someone in Nashville will record my song. It’s a heartfelt thing for me and I write from my own experiences.And I've been very fortunate that it seems to relate with a lot of people out there as well. AG-With some of the story songs, does that come from reading, or maybe an East Tennessee story telling tradition that gets passed down?
AG- Did the jump from playing various instruments like you do, to actually building them come naturally? Did you have family that helped you along the way in that area? Richie- I probably owe that to my father.At a young age he taught me the differences between a really good instrument as opposed to a cheap one. He encouraged me to have good ones because that in turn, would encourage me to play more. I fell in love with Dobro guitars as a kid. And my dad was good friends with Shot Jackson, who started Sho-Bud steel guitars. He built resonators called Sho-Bros.And I went down to
Richie- Well, yes...I just finished producing the new Kentucky Headhunters that’s com-
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his shop, and he was tickled by the fact that I took a little old acoustic guitar and stuck an old pie plate on the top of it.Took a butter knife and raised the strings up.So he gave me one of his, and would not let my dad pay for it, and said,'look, the way you're gonna pay this off is every summer, you're going to come down and work in my shop and you’re gonna learn how to build them. Because if you're gonna play them, you need to know all about them and how they work. From that, I fell in love with it. AG- So that eventually led to the job with Dobro? Richie-I started working on Dobros for lots of the people here in Nashville. Not many people knew much about them. I became friends with the folks at Dobro through Al Perkins, who played steel with Gram Parsons, Manassas...played with Emmylou.We became friends and he took me out to the Dobro plant. Not long after, Gibson bought Dobro and I was at a NAMM show complaining about the quality of them. Next thing I know, he calls me a week later and asks if I want to work for Dobro to get the quality of them right. Gibson was here so I ended up working with a lot of the artists.Then I worked for Crafters of Tennessee that did the guitars for Tut Taylor. I've known Tut since I was a kid. He was my Scoutmaster when I was in Boy Scouts.As a kid, I sneaked down to the Old Time Pickin' Parlor on 2nd Avenue when it was there. You could see Vassar Clements, Sam Bush, Norman Blake.John Hartford.I was lucky to be seeing that kind of stuff coming through there. Then I also started Owens guitars as well. AG-Wow! So with Dolly being family, when did the decision to start working with her come? Richie-Well, it was one of those things, around the beginning of the Farm Bureau. She had heard some of our recordings and she just fell in love with them and then she wanted us to do some demos for her on some songs she was writing. She thought they would work well. Those 2 or 3 songs turned in 30 songs. And some of those turned into the 'Hungry Again' album. AG- That was a bit of a departure for her, because that album would be the stepping stone to her going back to a more traditional sound.... Richie- Yes, that’s the record where she would go more Americana and bluegrass. It was the first record of hers in 25 years that she did all of her own songs. I really pushed for that because she’s like the female Bob Dylan as far as songwriting is concerned.You just don't hear a bad Dolly Parton song. Her songs are incredibly well written.
Richie- Absolutely. Up to that point, she was being handled by producers in town who made it too slick sounding. AG- Did she give you advice on how to handle such a tough business in a tough town? Richie- Do it because you love it. Don't do it for the money. It's feast or famine. AG-You were in Nashville hanging around a lot of up comers in the 80's when there was a great movement of alt-country, cow-punk and roots revival happening. Do you think its had an effect on where Americana music is today? Richie- No question about it. I believe that was the beginning of it.You can jump back to the Gram Parsons era, the roots rock, country rock thing that was going on. Neil Young. Chris Hillman and those people. But to me, that time in the 80's with Georgia Satellites, Jason and the Scorchers, Rank and File, a lot of those bands brought the altflavor into it.A little more punch and growl.The early 70's stuff didn't have that. It had a little more punk background that allowed the back-beat to come into it. It had a little of the attitude that the outlaw country movement of the mid-70's was bringing. AG- And it was moving from Nashville, even out to California with Dwight Yoakam and bands like the Blasters making some noise... Richie-Yeah...the Blasters.Even the band,X.Social Distortion.They had the guitars kind of thrashing but underneath it, the traditional and country elements were there. AG- Any future plans for the Farm Bureau to tour? Richie-We have quite a bit set up in touring right now.We’re going to do some dates in November.Touring all the way up to spring. AG-Has the writing continued for future albums? Richie- At the time of release with this record,we probably have 4 records worth of material still in the can. In working with the label, we had to kind of step back, breathe and let these guys find a focus with it. AG- Do you run into any barriers that may exist in or around Americana music? Maybe the too-country or too rock stigmas that still exist...? Richie-I'm not facing that because I'm blending all those things together to show what this sound is. In the past, it has been very splintered, musically dividing all the categories. More and more of the new acts are incorporating all those things into their sound. Me, I can have a bluesy slide guitar in a song with a mandolin. Or we can have a song that’s country flavored and my bass player is adding his jazz influences.And I got a drummer who’s got a backbeat that'll knock to the back of the room. I don't like the categories on music. Good music is good music. Check out Richie Owens and the Farm Bureau website at richieowens.com Story by: Travis Cooper Photos by: Some photos supplied and some by Joyce Ziehli
AG-So she liked the grittier sound?
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Andy’s Top 15 CD’s for 2011
Hey ya’ll it’s time for me to pick my favorite CD’s & EP’s for 2012 both Internationally & Locally from WI. I have never had or heard so many great CD’s in one year before. It was very, very tough picking my top 15. There is no scientific, chart rating, or payola involved in my choices. It is done by the pure enjoyment I got out of listening to them. A tie for number one this year, it was just too hard to decide! Congratulations to all the Top 15 artists. The top 15 CD’s internationally are below: Someone Else’s Time 1.The Good Intentions We hear the question often;Why buy local? Because it benefits your local economy! That's why! Every year, the holiday gift shopping season is kicked off the week followingThanksgiving,starting on "Black Friday" and continuing through December 4th. That is part of the reason that week has been titled, "Buy Local Week." The other reason is to encourage local folks to shift their spending from big box stores to neighborhood shops.Why do the shift? Holiday season money spending is the largest chunk of income for retailers in a year. If one out of ten purchases is made locally, that is 10% of the money spent locally.The number may seem small, though it can make a large impact, keeping even more of your hard earned money in the local economy. Use "Buy Local Week" as an extra push to venture into a new shop in town or simply a shop you have never been in.You never know what kind of interesting items you will find or new friends you will make! Be proud of your journey, tell friends and especially tell the workers and owners of the shops you wander into that you are making an effort for "Buy Local Week!" The official "Buy Local Week" is Friday, November 25th through Sunday December 4th. Hopefully you won't limit your local purchasing to just that week! Make an effort of stopping at the local coffee shop once a week or buying one birthday gift a month locally. Remember, every little bit helps when YOUR local economy is involved! "We are encouraging people to support friends, family members and neighbors by keeping their money local. It can be as simple as buying more locally grown food for their holiday meals or visiting one of the many great shops in town," said Renee' May, owner of Art & Soul Tattoo and Gallery.Art & Soul Tattoo and Gallery is now offering Monday and Wednesday as "Retail Only" days. For those shoppers who may be uncomfortable with getting a tattoo or others getting a tattoo, Monday and Wednesday are the days to check out Art & Soul Tattoo and Gallery.Art & Soul Tattoo and Gallery offers original artwork from over 30 artists in rural Wisconsin for your viewing and purchasing needs. Renee' May Art & Soul Tattoo and Gallery 412 2nd Street • New Glarus WI 53574 • 608.527.2727 www.artandsoultattooandgallery.com (coming soon) half notes... continued from page 2
It was a wonderful evening with great music and great friends. It was also a great evening to celebrate one of the best songwriters who has ever lived birthday. Let me tell you this eating Birthday Cake with Tom T. Hall, Miss Dixie, Bobby Bare, and Ralph Emery is quite an experience. Before I sign off I’d like to say that I’m one of the luckiest people in the world! I get to fix guitars, write songs, write stories, record music, and play live music with wonderful people. There are not many people who can say that their dreams come true, but I am one that can! I am truly blessed, and thank God every day for all that I have. I’d like to take this time to thank Joyce for all that she does to make this publication and my life the best that it can be! She works long days and nights to make sure that the quality of the Americana Gazette never slips. She networks like a demon, and gets people to agree to interviews larger publications only wish that they could land. She is a confidant to many singers and performers. She helps people make connections, and she is a trusted advisor. Mostly though she is the rock that the Americana Gazette is built on. Without her guidance, understanding, and thoughtfulness this publication would never have existed. Once a “big time” music exec told her that she could not be on a non-profit music board because nobody knew who she was. I saw that same big time music exec turn tail and leave a Nashville event when he saw her talking to other music notables that had ignored him. Thank you Joyce for all you do to make the Americana Gazette what it is! That guy may think no one knows you but 25,000 readers worldwide do!
Jon Byrd 2. I love Songs from Fox Hollow 3.The Blue Buccaneer
Down at the Well of Wishes Eric Brace, Peter Cooper, & Others Tom Mason
4.Hooba Dooba 5.Salvage & Drift
6.The Story Teller 7.Top Hat Crown & the Clapmaster’s Son 8.Gin 9.Kicking the Beehive 10.Echo Boom 11.The Dream Fields 12.When you walk in the room 13.KMAG YOYO 14.Ready for Confetti
Todd Snider Band of Heathens Krisiti Rose & Fats Kaplin Susan Werner The Farewell Drifters Matracia Berg Jackie DeShannon Hayes Carll Robert Earl Keen
My Local Top 5 CD’s of the year were: 1.Evening Flood 2.Middle of America 3.The Western Sky 4.A little girl & a whole lot of soul 5.Point Five
Mark Croft The Whiskey Farm Whitney Mann Briana Hardyman Point Five
My Favorite 15 Songs of 2011 1.Train Wreck 2.KMAG YOYO 3.We go together 4.Medicine Man 5.Everybody Loves a Drinken Man 6.The Queen of the Spanish Main 7.Play a Train Song 8.Codien 9.Cry it out 10.Gin 11.I made a friend of a flower today 12.Train to Birmingham 13.Your husband is cheating on us 14.True Love Never Dies Dawned On Me 15.I once Knew a Woman
The Bluefield’s Hayes Carll Farewell Drifters Band of Heathens Good Intentions Tom Mason Robert Earl Keen Jason Isbell Paul Brady Krisiti Rose & Fats Kaplin Fayssoux Starling McLean & Tom T. Hall John Haitt Matracia Berg Cody Canada & The Departed Wilco John Byrd
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The small town studio with the big sound!
Sugar River Studios specializes in demo, single, and EP recording. Our hearts and ears are in Americana/Country music recording. That’s not to say that we can’t rock when we need to, so rock & rollers are always welcome too! Sugar River Studios are located in Belleville,WI a short 16 miles from South Madison. We work with Singer/songwriters, duos, and bands to bring a customized product to completion. Our services include: • Tracking • Mixing • Demo’s • Transfer and conversion from analog recordings to CD’s • Singles • EP’s • Full production CD’s We have state of the art digital equipment, analog tube effects, top of the line microphones, vintage recording and outboard gear.
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with brand new people, I’d be very proud of myself; if I could also make at least half my living playing music, I’d be thrilled. Joyce: What do you do for fun, hobbies? Marybeth: I’m lucky to be able to say that my hobbies are my day jobs. I work at an independent bookstore called Novel Ideas, which is basically heaven to an English major. I also work for a publishing company doing editorial work and social media management, which – though I still vow never to have my own Twitter account again –is much like heaven. So, you might have guessed that I’m a reader. I’m also a performance poet, which I think might have been my gateway drug; I’m now addicted to words, music, and the stage… Joyce: What do you want people to know about you? Marybeth: I started out a poet, and I’m still a poet. I love that music and poetry together create a new animal,one that I am alternately taming and setting free day by day, but I love poetry because it speaks for itself. I don’t read much poetry anymore; I mostly like to hear it.I love the starkness of a voice all alone – and the way that cadence and syntax and pitch fluctuation can turn a mouthful of words into a spiritual experience. I have yet to make it to a poetry slam, but it’s on my list. Joyce: What is one question that you wish someone would ask you, but never has? Marybeth: Would you like this brand new Gibson J45 for free? Why yes, I would. (we laugh) Joyce: Since this will be the Christmas issue in December,what is your favorite Christmas song sung by what artist? Marybeth: Actually – and I swear this isn’t a shameless plug – my favorite Christmas song is Mary’s Lullaby, written by Jeanne Kuhns, my mother. Of course I love traditional carols, but as a writer and a reader, I love original songs with something new to say. Mary’s Lullaby considers what Mary might have felt as a new mother with a child she wants only to protect:“She tells her child to dream, amazing grace and hopeful longing/dream,of a world we all belong in…”It’s a statement of what all mothers want for their children, and of course, it’s about peace on earth. (In case you’re interested. You can find this song on Jeanne Kuhns’ album My Christmas Day, available at CDbaby.com) Story by: Joyce Ziehli Photos by: Matthew Kuhns
Joyce: Where do you play out at? Where could people find you out making music? How do they check you out online – website? Marybeth: I play weekly at Mojo Rosa’s in Egg Harbor with Seth Raddatz, his dad, Mark Raddatz runs what is supposed to be an open mic, but we’ve been going for years, so we’re kind of a staple. It’s a great way to keep playing in the winter months in Door County when there are fewer gigs to be had, and there’s almost always someone new to play with. I also play occasionally at the DC Deli in Sister Bay, and Seth and I will be opening for Lost Mothra at the Wisconsin Singer/Songwriter Series in Mequon, Wisconsin on Saturday, March 24th (8pm). I will also be playing with a full band for my CD release Concert,which will be held as part of the Jeanne Kuhns’Woodwalk Concert Series in June of 2012. You can find me online at facebook.com/MarybethMusic – I post all of my shows there and you can listen to a few of my demo recordings.I also have a website underway that will launch in the spring. Joyce: Any advice for young ladies getting into the music career? Marybeth: Learn from every musician you meet; don’t limit yourself.And if you don’t try, it’ll never happen. Joyce: Let’s talk about future goals? Marybeth: Honestly, I’ve never really expected to be able to do music as a career, but I think that must be the most goal of any musician, right? Really, my goal is to become a better musician.There are styles of music I’d love to be more comfortable playing; more instruments I’d like to learn to play. In five years, if I could hold my own playing
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process of it all.
Llanas: It’s way too early for that to happen and I don’t see the BoDeans fans acting that way.
This is pretty much all acoustic music. No Drum kit,just percussion. That’s the idea behind it. I can’t be the BoDeans by myself and I would not want to do that. This is me at this point in time. AG: What is the songwriting process you use? Lyrics first, hooks and melody later? Llanas: Most of the time the melody will come first; sometimes I have a hard time coming up with lyrics. Sometimes you get lucky and it all comes at once. “Closer to free”was one of those songs. It just happened all at once. I wrote that whole song in about 20 minutes. Other songs take days, weeks, even months to finish. Another BoDeans song “True Devotion” took about a year to complete. I had it about 95% finished, but just could not get there. AG: Do you write on guitar? Llanas: Yes, I don’t play any other instruments. I just strum a guitar. AG: When did you first start playing the guitar? Llanas: I first picked up the guitar when I was about 16, but did not stay with it. It wasn’t until I got slapped around in life a little did I decide to go out and buy a good guitar and chase my dream. I saw my dad get screwed out of his full pension at his job. I went to college a couple of years and there was a huge strike at the college and they shutdown classes. Not only did I get screwed out of my education I had paid for, I had borrowed the money to go so I was really out twice. At that point after all these things I decided that I was never going to be in a situation where someone else was controlling me and my future so I went into music and I was going to make it. AG: Was the BoDeans your first band? Llanas: No, Kurt and I had a band called the Strand. We had that band for about a year. We knew after a year if we really wanted to make it we had to break that band up and find some real dedicated musicians to move forward so we did. It took us a couple of years to get the BoDeansBoDeans going after that. AG: Have you started touring for this CD yet? Llanas: No I have not. I’m going to do whatever makes sense with touring. I don’t want to go out for weeks at a time. I want to play shows that are meaningful to me and my fans. I’m not interested in playing super large venues where the music can get lost. More intimate venues and crowds fit this type of music better. We just hooked up with a booking agency so we’ll see what develops from that. I would like to have a band to play half the show and the other half just me and maybe one other person playing acoustically. The CD was released on the 25th of October so we’ll see how and where it sells to concentrate on shows in those areas. AG: Have your fans from the BoDeans signed on with you as a solo artist? Llanas: I don’t know yet. It’s too early to tell. I hope so. We have certainly had some early support. I can’t imagine that they would not give the CD a listen or that they would all jump ship because I was not in the BoDeans anymore. If my Facebook page is any indication than we are okay. There have been no negative comments and only praise and encouragement from the fans. AG: You know when bands breakup or someone leaves there is always this“war”amongst their followers of who should they support. I think of Uncle Tupelo and the Farrar and Tweedy camps fighting out with Son Volt and w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
AG: Having been a professional musician for all these years have you found it difficult coming from Wisconsin to be taken as seriously as musician from either coast? Llanas: Don’t forget Mellencamp came from a small town in Indiana! Well, I found that mindset does not come from musicians. Musicians are very accepting people. That comes from interviewers. They want to ask you about cheese and cows. They are ignorant about Wisconsin in general. All they seem to know is cheese and beer. The great thing about growing up in Waukesha and the Milwaukee area is that there is no pressure on you to be something that you are not. You don’t have to be a certain way musically. You can be and play what you want. You have the complete freedom to develop your own sound. The BoDeans were that way. We did not have to move to L.A. or Nashville, or Austin and be like everyone else. We could be who we were. We got signed right out of Milwaukee for being who we were. AG: Who were your influences growing up? Llanas: Well growing up we had a phonograph and I would stand up over it looking down at the album or 45 spinning. The blue and gray MGM label spinning with Hank Williams playing. To this day I am still amazed by that. It made quite an impression on me. The radio was the same thing. I was born in 1961 and I just remember the Beatles on Ed Sullivan in 1964. Not so much the music but the excitement it brought on at my house. I did not know why but I remember the screaming and the guitar. I wanted at that point to be part of that. It was magical to me. My dad was a bass player in a Mexican Conjunto (Polka style) band. There were always instruments around the house. He would sit me on his knee and let me pluck the bass strings. I remember how fantastic that was, I was making sounds! I couldn’t get enough of that. We always had music on at home. Radio was wide open then so you heard all kinds of music. AG: What inspires you to write and create music? Llanas: There are a lot of things. The trouble with inspiration is that you never know when it’s going to hit you. Conversations, news events, just life in general inspires me to write. You just have to be open to it and ready when it hits you. Sometimes you miss it, and that’s too bad but it happens to everyone so I don’t dwell on it. AG: Was this CD 4 A.M. a thought out process or did it just happen? Llanas: When I started I was just demoing some songs I had. It was not meant to be a record,it evolved into one. I noticed a pattern and a theme to the songs so I just went with it. Once I knew I was going to make a record I planned on the sound (more acoustic) and knew I wanted to create something that was not another BoDeans record. I’m proud of this record and what it says. AG: What’s the future hold for you?
spective is different. Mostly I just want to create music that I can be proud of in this phase of my career. I’m lucky. I get to do what a lot of other people dream they can do. I want to be able to share that luck and experience with others. I can do that through my music and shows. That’s what the future holds for me.
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Rick Richards and I just kept getting more distance between us. It would be like being in the same room, but having to dial different area codes to talk to each other. It just got that way. You have to remember that we were together for 10 years and the first years we were not very successful, at least financially or fame wise. When we finally hit, it all happened at a once and everyone went wild, including the record company and management. It really got to be “who really knows how to handle this ball of wax?’ Nobody did but the record company and they had their own agenda. AG: After you went solo you had Homemade Sin, a great band! Baird: The Yahoo’s were first. AG: That’s right. Highway Junkie is my favorite Yahoo’s Song. I’ve been playing that for years. Baird: First song that band ever recorded. It was on Rig Rock Deluxe. AG: Great CD! Baird: The Yahoo’s was a lot of fun. We recorded songs in a barn studio in Kentucky I owned. AG: Now you have the Bluefield’s too. Baird: We did one record that will be released the first of the year. Great project and it’s a lot of fun too. I’ve got some Homemade Sin tours in Europe this fall. Probably do some Bluefield’s jobs when the record comes out regionally. Got my gig with Bobby Keys, I’m pretty happy work wise! I’m not getting rich doing any of them. Just getting by and having fun! Homemade Sin is a blast and it’s all about just bringing it to the stage. Mauro does what he does best, the same for Warner and Keith. It’s a great band that’s a lot of fun to play with. AG: Dan, your live shows with Homemade Sin and the Bluefield’s are beyond great! They are so much fun to be part of. You and the guys make everyone feel like they are part of the act. That’s a great testament to you guys as musicians and people. It’s always a pleasure to watch and listen to your music. Baird:Thank you so much! AG: What’s the future for Dan Baird? Baird: I want to produce some music, sit behind the board and mix, and keep writing and playing good Rock & Roll! Written by: Andy Ziehli Photos by: Joyce Ziehli
Llanas: I am going to take my time and see what develops. I want to do small short tours and be home as often as I can. I want to be able to connect to my fans and provide the kind of show and music that will last. Spending time with my family is very important to me. That’s one reason I don’t want to be on the road all the time. I’m older and wiser, and much more patient than I was when I was younger. I want to write songs that mean something to me, but also connect with others. Writing a song today with the eyes of a 50 year old is much different than writing at song of a 25 year old. The per-
Published on Nov 29, 2011
The Americana Gazette is a print and online interactive FREE music and arts publication. Each bi-monthly issue features Americana, Blue Gras...