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Barenaked Unplugged

October 31, 2003

Popsters Barenaked Ladies are launching their new album, Everything To Everyone with "The Peepshow," a limited acoustic tour. The series of concerts kicked off in Boston on Oct. 21 and continues through the Nov. 13 show in Hartford, CT. The concerts mix songs off of the new CD with a Q&A session and unplugged versions of "back catalog" numbers, including a cover of Bruce Cockburn's Lovers in a Dangerous Time at the show in NYC. The special edition CD with DVD features acoustic covers of most of the album. Band member Jim Creeggan is also half of the acoustic duo, The Brothers Creeggan.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 3:21 PM | Comments (0)

A Folk Alley night out - Rodney Crowell

While it's a common to hear a live recording on Folk Alley, on Saturday, Nov. 1st, we'll actually be at a concert. Rodney Crowell will play at The Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland and Chip Taylor and Carrie Rodriguez will open. It'll be nice to see Crowell's legendary big smile up close even though there are a couple songs off his new release Fate's Right Hand that reveal how troubled he is about the world around him. Overall though, Rodney is an optimist - as shown in the CD's last song This Too Will Pass an echo of George Harrison's All Things Must Pass from 30 years ago. I'm looking forward to putting faces to the ears of several listeners at this Folk Alley night out. Mention FolkAlley.com at the door and get $3 off your ticket!

Posted by Jim Blum at 12:49 PM | Comments (0)

Gillian Welch Visits Lake Wobegon

October 30, 2003

Gillian Welch and David Rawlings visit Minnesota's most famous (albeit fictional) small town when the duo take the stage as this week's musical guests on A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor on Sat., Nov. 1. The program airs live from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on public radio stations around the country. Watch the program via a live webcast from the APHC web site. Welch's most recent release is Soul Journey.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 2:51 PM | Comments (0)

Rickie Lee Jones Embarks on Tour

October 29, 2003

Singer/songwriter Rickie Lee Jones is launching a tour in support of her new album, The Evening of My Best Day. The tour kicks off a month of concerts across the U.S. on Nov. 2 in Rochester, NH, followed by a series of European dates in Dec.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:04 PM | Comments (0)

Solas Sees Another Day

October 28, 2003

Solas, behind leader Seamus Egan, has released Another Day on the Shanachie label. The varied Irish American experiences of the artists that comprise Solas is expressed in the band's seventh album, a further exploration into the edge of Celtic music.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 2:31 PM | Comments (0)

Wellstone World Music Day Observed

October 27, 2003

The life of the late Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone was celebrated with concerts, speeches, and other events on Oct. 25, the one-year anniversary of Wellstone's death in a plane crash. The liberal senator, who was locked in a bitter reelection campaign at the time of his death, was a champion of many civil rights causes. Wellstone World Music Day was inspired by Daniel Pearl Music Day, a musical memorial honoring the late Wall Street Journal reporter. Events were held in Minneapolis, Austin, Berkeley, Bismarck, Cedar Rapids, and Woodstock.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 2:43 PM | Comments (0)

Bon Reve! - Steve Riley is Cajun again.

The Mamou Playboys have performed Cajun-rock and Zydeco, but Bon Reve (Sweet Dream) brings Steve Riley's group back to traditional Cajun music. Riley teams up with David Greely for several energetic twin fiddle numbers, and there's a nice blend of originals and standards. The songs are well researched. Maline is about a woman trying to deny her Cajun heritage in order to marry into wealth. Vini Jilie is an actual transcription of a creole love poem written by a house slave before the Civil War. Somebody in this band is a reader. Both of these songs and a set of reels by Dennis McGee will be featured on Folk Alley.

Posted by Jim Blum at 12:03 PM | Comments (0)

Sam and the Dawg: Two Mandolins, Two Friends

October 24, 2003

For decades Bill Monroe was a first generation mandolin player, while Sam Bush and David Grisman were young upstarts. Today Bill is gone and, believe it or not, it is Sam and "the Dawg" who have the 40-year-plus history. Their new album together is more than a collection of mandolin duets, however. Also featured are the octave mandolin, slide mandolin, Jack Lawerence on guitar, and the legendary drummer Hal Baine. Included are fiddle tunes, blues, swing, and a touching improvisational tribute to John Hartford called Hartford's Real. The album's title, Hold on, We're Strummin', is a play on an Issac Hayes tune that Sam tears up, Hold on, I'm Coming. Can you name the hidden track?

Posted by Jim Blum at 11:43 AM | Comments (4)

Cat Stevens Returns to the Stage

Yusuf Islam, the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens, made a rare stage appearance at a London charity concert. The singer/songwriter who stopped touring after his conversion to Islam in 1977, played several songs at I Look, I See, an event celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Islamia Schools, an organization that Islam founded in 1983. Islam recently recorded an updated version of his '70s hit Peace Train for a CD benefiting children in Iraq.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 9:46 AM | Comments (0)

Singer/Songwriter Elliott Smith Dead at 34

October 23, 2003

Singer/songwriter Elliott Smith, best known for his Oscar-nominated Miss Misery from the film Good Will Hunting, died in Los Angeles yesterday from an apparently self-inflicted knife wound. Smith, who was working on a new album for DreamWorks, left behind a large body of recordings. He had a long history with substance abuse and depression.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:23 PM | Comments (0)

The Waifs Add Two ARIA Awards to Their Collection

October 22, 2003

Australian folk trio The Waifs were honored with two ARIA Awards (the Australian equivalent of the Grammy) from the Australian Record Industry Association on Oct. 21. The group won Best Independent Release and Best Blues & Roots Album for their latest release, Up All Night. Ealier, the album was recognized with ARIA Artisan Awards for Producer of the Year (The Waifs and Chris Thompson) and Engineer of the Year (Thompson). The big winner of the evening was pop singer/songwriter Delta Goodrem with a record-breaking 7 awards. Keith Urban won for Best Country Album.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 1:36 PM | Comments (0)

Ho, Ho, Ha, Ha, Ha

October 21, 2003

Singer/songwriter Christine Lavin and the Mistletones kick off the holiday season with the release of Runaway Christmas Tree, an album celebrating winter holidays, including "Christmas/ Kwanzaa/ Solstice/ Chanukah/ Ramadan/ & Boxing Day." In honor of the album, Lavin plans on hosting a contest for Best and Worst holiday recipe on her web site.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:03 PM | Comments (0)

Mark Simos - Fiddler turned writer turned singer.

Know to New Englanders as a contrdance fiddler, Mark Simos is also a poet. He's written songs for Alison Krauss, Catie Curtis, and Laurie Lewis. Finally we have an entire album showcasing his clever wordplay and he gets to be the singer. Hurting Sure reveals a deep pain from loss, and an ironic joy as well; the pain is proof to the singer that he CAN love. In You do the Work he details an admiration for a quality individual - hoping to make us recall someone we've known. Father's Day is the story of a boy trying to remember the Dad he never knew. Though these are all very touching songs, I'd be remiss not to point out that they're darn catchy as well. The album Crazy Faith will have you crying and whistling at the same time.

Posted by Jim Blum at 11:23 AM | Comments (0)

Everly Brothers Join "Old Friends" Tour

October 20, 2003

When Simon & Garfunkel kicked off their "Old Friends" tour last Fri. in Wilkes Barre, PA, they invited the Everly Brothers on stage for a few songs. Harmony heros for S&G, the Everlys sang three of their hits before bringing Simon and Garfunkel back for an "all-star" rendition of Bye Bye Love. The Everly Brothers are now slated to join the remainder of the tour, which is scheduled to end on Dec. 21 in Tampa, as "special guests." The "Old Friends" tour continues this week with stops in Cleveland (10/20), Columbus (10/22), and Chicago (10/24&25).

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 3:20 PM | Comments (0)

The Wildflower Tour - Judy Collins and Friends

Hearing familiar singers can be like remembering old friends. Judy Collins, Tom Rush, Eric Anderson and Arlo Guthrie performed together recently as part of what Collins dubbed the "Wildflower" tour. The concert "series" has been captured in a new CD, Judy Collins Wildflower Festival. Each singer sings a "hit" and a favorite of their own. The recording closes with three ensemble pieces; Anderson's Thirsty Boots may be the most memorable with Eric and Judy trading verses. Rush had the audience in stitches singing Steve Walter's Remember Song, a gentle poke at aging. Arlo sings a Cisco Houston classic that tells a tale of a moose wandering into New Jersey. If you haven't heard from old friends recently, this album may encourage you to make some calls.

Posted by Jim Blum at 11:06 AM | Comments (1)

Patty Griffin Live CD Released

October 17, 2003

Singer/Songwriter Patty Griffin has released a CD of her final concert in support of 2002's 1000 Kisses. The new CD, A Kiss in Time, was recorded at Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium. The release also includes a DVD chronicling Griffin's tour in 2002.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 3:01 PM | Comments (0)

Americana Fills London Stages

October 16, 2003

Americana and alt.country will be the theme as London's Barbican presents Way Beyond Nashville - 30 concerts in 10 venues over a month beginning Oct. 20. The festival expands on the success of the original Beyond Nashville and its successor, Further Beyond Nashville. The festival is supported by BB6 Music. Featured artists include Mary Gauthier, the Mavericks, Ralph Stanley, John Hiatt, Kelly Joe Phelps, the Handsome Family, and Emmylou Harris.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 3:47 PM | Comments (0)

Sugar Hill Releases Tribute to Dolly Parton

October 14, 2003

Sugar Hill Records has released Just Because I'm a Woman: Songs of Dolly Parton, a tribute to the multi-talented singer/songwriter. Featured artists include Alison Krauss & Union Station, Melissa Etheridge, Norah Jones, Joan Osborne, Mindy Smith, Emmylou Harris, and Kasey Chambers singing a mix of Parton's greatest hits and selections from her recent bluegrass catalog. Parton also adds a newly recorded version of the title track to the album. Jones will join Parton in a duet of The Grass is Blue on the CMA Awards on Nov. 5.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 11:22 AM | Comments (0)

Vasen: Back to a trio...for now.

October 13, 2003

What do you do when your percussionist doesn't want to leave home? You go without him. Andre Ferrari didn't want to leave Sweden during Vasen's recent tour abroad, so the group decided to tour in their original trio form. They enjoyed the tour, and surprised themselves with a whole album of new tunes, the aptly named Trio. Olav Johannsson's 3 row chromatic nyckelharpa anchors the sound. American ears need to be open to what may be an unusual instrument for them, but on the other hand, many Scandanavians thrive on the Delta Blues. Its a big world with lots of joys and it makes you wonder why Andre wanted to stay home. Mikael Marin plays viola and violin, Roger Tallroth plays bosoki and 12-string guitar. Those two write most of the material.

Posted by Jim Blum at 3:49 PM | Comments (3)

Rory Gallagher's Last Wish.....A Folk Album.

October 10, 2003

Irish Blues-Rock phenom Rory Gallagher died in 1995. The Irish Postal Service recently honored several icons on stamps; Rory was included along with Van Morrison and U-2. What he really wanted to do, however, was a folk album. His brother, Donal, did some digging and completed the task. Included are 2 tracks with Bela Fleck at the Montreaux Jazz Festival in 94, an old tune that Bert Jansch had in his basement, and the melancholic Wheels within Wheels which Rory recorded and abandoned twice. We'll never know why. If you've heard it, or any of the others aired on Folk Alley, I'd like to hear your impressions.

Posted by Jim Blum at 3:27 PM | Comments (3)

Tall Stacks Festival Returns to Cincinnati

Founded in 1998 as part of Cincinnati's bicentennial, the Tall Stacks Music, Arts, and Heritage Festival presents 75 concerts over five days beginning Weds., Oct. 15. Performers include Lucinda Williams - 10/15, Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder - 10/16, Emmylou Harris - 10/17, Keb' Mo' - 10/18, and B.B. King - 10/19. Adult admission is $15 and is good for the full five days.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 2:40 PM | Comments (0)

Del McCoury Joins Grand Old Opry

October 9, 2003

Del McCoury received a duel honor when Ricky Skaggs and Sonny Osborne invited the bluegrass legend to become the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry as the Del McCoury Band were named Entertainers of the Year at the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Awards last week. Playing bluegrass since the '50s, it was Bill Monroe who steered him from banjo to guitar. This was McCoury's 8th IBMA Entertainer of the Year Award.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:14 PM | Comments (0)

Damien Rice Takes Home Shortlist Prize

October 8, 2003

Irish singer/songwriter Damien Rice is winner of the 3rd Annual Shortlist Award for his album O. The Shortlist Music Project was developed by industry professionals Greg Spotts and Tom Sarig to recognized outstanding albums that have sold less than 500,000 copies. Rice was joined by 9 other finalists that include The Black Keys and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, winnowed from a list of 85, nominated and voted on by a stellar panel of musicians, producers, and journalists.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:04 PM | Comments (0)

Janis Ian Releases Live Album

October 7, 2003

Singer/songwriter Janis Ian has released a live double album on Oh Boy! records. Janis Ian Live: Working Without a Net brings together material gathered during decades of concert performances that have made Ian a favorite with audiences. Selections include At Seveteen, Jesse, and 29 others.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:53 PM | Comments (1)

Folk Music Walk of Fame Launched in Ottawa

October 6, 2003

Six bronze maple leaf shaped plaques were unveiled as the Canadian Folk Music Walk of Fame was dedicated on Saturday. The original inductees - who were chosen through voting on the Internet, e-mail and magazine ballots - are Stan Rogers, Bruce Cockburn, Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell, Jean Carignan, and Helen Creighton. The ceremony was coordinated by the Ottawa Folklore Centre.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:30 PM | Comments (1)

Del McCoury Band Named IBMA Entertainer of the Year

October 3, 2003

The Del McCoury Band won their 8th Entertainer of Year Award from the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA). Other big winners at the ceremony held in Louisville, KY were Alison Krauss + Union Station for Album of the Year for Alison Krauss + Union Station LIVE, Union Station's Dan Tyminski for Male Vocalist of the Year, Rhonda Vincent for Female Vocalist of the Year, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver for Vocal Group of the Year and Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder for Instrumental Group of the Year. Kenny & Amanda Smith were named Emerging Artisits of the Year.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 1:45 PM | Comments (0)

Ian Tyson Honored with Governor General's Award

October 2, 2003

Ian Tyson, half of the '60s Canadian folk duo Ian and Sylvia, was recognized with a Governor General Performing Arts Award, honoring lifetime achievement. The singer/songwriter found a second career as a record producer.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:04 PM | Comments (0)

Three Concepts, One Release - Tish Hinojosa

Tish Hinojosa was contemplating a new album. She also thought about a "best of." A live album was also her dream. Her latest Rounder release is all three. She sings with joy and skill in both English and Spanish and talks quite openly about what the songs mean to her. You can hear her well known Something in the Rain and God's Own Open Road, along with a touching story of hope when two broken families unite in West Side of Town. Sanitago Jimenez Jr. plays accordion throughout. The only thing better would be to actually see her concert, but this is pretty close.

Posted by Jim Blum at 1:23 PM | Comments (0)

Chris Smither, Philosopher King

Chris Smither is not afraid to speak up. Being rooted in country blues will do that for you - so will middle age. He questions spirituality in Train Home: "...what isn't real is genuine illusion." For the self proclaimed loser he suggests that friends will disagree in Outside In. He also covers Dylan, John Hurt, and if you'ever had your car stolen you'll identify with Let it Go. He imagines what the thief is thinking as he notices a parade of items left in the car. You may be curious to listen to this just to hear someone fume and laugh at the same time. All of Smither's emotions pour into Folk Alley.

Posted by Jim Blum at 12:42 PM | Comments (0)

Dolly Parton and Norah Jones to Perform at CMA Awards

October 1, 2003

The legendary singer/songwriter Dolly Parton will be joined on stage by multi Grammy Award-winner Norah Jones for a performance at the 37th Annual CMA Awards on Nov. 5 at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. The two women will sing Parton's The Grass is Blue, from her Sugar Hill bluegrass album of the same name. Jones covers the song on the up-coming Just Because I'm a Woman (release date 10/14 - also from Sugar Hill), a tribute album to the songwriting talents of Parton.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 3:50 PM | Comments (0)

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