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Derren Raser on

June 30, 2004

My buddy Derren Raser E-mailed me to say that Strongest Suit, a cut from the Derren Raser Band's upcoming CD was selected as one of this week's Open Mic picks on NPR's All Songs Considered. All Songs Considered is a web-based project that started out by featuring the music "buttons" that can be heard as background between segments on news programs like All Things Considered and Morning Edition. Each week, there's a new show online, tons of great music and stuff like Open Mic that gives newer artists the chance to showcase their songs. Listeners make their opinions known by rating each cut. Try it out and hear Derren's new song!

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:04 PM

Rufus Wainwright Says it Through iTunes

June 28, 2004

Rufus Wainwright is following last year's release of Want One with a four-song "EP" available beginning this week exclusively as an iTunes download. The EP titled Waiting for a Want includes the songs Gay Messiah, The Love Affair, The Art Teacher, and Waiting for a Dream. Cover art will also be available as a download. In other recent iTunes news, the music downloader is declaring victory in Europe after over 800,000 songs were sold in the UK, France and Germany in the first week of iTunes Euro-launch this month.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:42 PM

Leo Kottke Releases 'Try and Stop Me'

June 24, 2004

Virtuosic guitarist Leo Kottke has released Try and Stop Me on the RCA Records label. His first album since Clone, his duo with Phish bassist Mike Gordon, in 2002, Try and Stop Me is Kottke's "most improvisational record" yet.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 5:42 PM | Comments (1)

Call Him Dr. Dylan

June 23, 2004

While on tour in Europe, Bob Dlyan was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree by The University of St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland this Wednesday. Dylan also has an honorary degree from Princeton that he received in 1970. St. Andrews officials lauded Dylan as "an iconic figure for the 20th Century, particularly for those of us whose formative years were the 1960s and '70s." Dylan's laureation address was given by St. Andrews Professor Neil Corcoran, editor of "Do you, Mr. Jones?: Bob Dylan with the Poets and Professors," a collection of essays. St. Andrews was formed in 1413 and is the oldest university in Scotland.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 5:35 PM | Comments (3)


June 22, 2004

The Lollapalooza Tour 2004 is no more. Due to what is being called "poor ticket sales," this summer's traveling concert event has been canceled. What had promised to be the most diverse Lollapalooza in years - boasting appearances by artists including Morrissey, Wilco, the String Cheese Incident, PJ Harvey, and the Polyphonic Spree - apparently failed to build interest in the shrinking live concert market. The 16-date series of two-day concerts was set to begin on July 14 in Auburn, WA.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 2:00 PM | Comments (1)

Hot Club of Cowtown Opens the Bob Dylan Show

June 21, 2004

Western swing trio Hot Club of Cowtown will open for Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan at a series of concerts in minor league ballparks across America this summer. The tour begins in Cooperstown, NY (location of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum) on Aug. 6. Other show locations include Altoona, PA; Aberdeen, MD; Charleston, SC; South Bend, IN; Peoria, IL; Des Moines, IA; and Wichita, KS. The 22-date tour concludes on Sept. 4 in Kansas City, KS. A complete list of dates is available at Nelson is currently recovering from surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome.

For those living in the UK, I can't promise Dylan or Willie, but Hot Club of Cowtown (a group I saw in concert recently and really enjoyed) will play both the Glastonbury Festivals (which are sold out) in Somerset and Spydafest in Portland, Dorset this week.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 5:31 PM

Why Aren't There More Songs About Divorce?

June 17, 2004

There are songs aplenty about love, death, having kids, and even adultery, so why not more about divorce? I realize that every country music singer has to have at least one "break-up" song in his or her repertoire, but what about the aftermath? A lot of people divorce and many of them have families and friends that are torn apart by the events. Singer/songwriter Liz Phair (who is way too rocked out for Jim to play) has a song on her new album (Liz Phair) called Little Digger. It's about a young boy meeting his mother's new boyfriend for the first time and saying, "My mother is mine." It makes me cry almost as much as Richard Shindell's Somewhere Near Paterson (a song about how the rat race makes us all into jerks and we forget how lucky we are while we complain about the little annoyances). So, why aren't there more songs about these events in relationships that really touch us at a common level? I don't need any more love songs.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 3:31 PM | Comments (7)

Simon & Mayer at Rock Hall

June 15, 2004

Paul Simon and John Mayer recently visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland to tape the first installment of "In Tune," a new show on VH1. The May 14th taping in front of an invitation only audience was delayed for nearly 4 hours, as bad weather delayed Simon's flight. The show, which premieres tonight at 8 p.m. EST, (no doubt to be repeated extensively - this is VH1) features the duo doing Simon's "The Boy in The Bubble," "Slip Slidin' Away," and "Late In The Evening" as well as Mayer's "Daughter."

Unfortunately, a new Simon tune taped for the show did not make the cut. The timely "Wartime Prayers" was not included because preferential treatment was given to more familiar material, according to a VH1 spokesperson. Versions of Simon's "American Tune" and Mayer's "Clarity" also had to be cut for time, but viewers will see solo renditions of "Homeward Bound" and "Your Body Is a Wonderland."

Three more installments of the "In Tune" series are slated to be be taped at the rock hall, each pairing an icon with a famous younger artist.

Posted by Bob Burford at 4:43 PM

Two Die at Bonnaroo

As the third Bonnaroo Music Festival celebrated record attendance that featured performances by 80 bands (including Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, Trey Anastasio, and The Dead), the festival also saw its first fatalities as two concert goers died of what may have been drug-related causes. More than 90,000 pass holders crowded into the 700-acre site near Manchester, TN that encompassed stages and camping grounds. The weather, which alternated between high heat and heavy downpours forced hundreds to the medical tents and intravenous fluids. Mud pits claimed flip-flops and threatened to sink car tires. The event is expected to gross $14.5 million.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 3:01 PM | Comments (1)

Philadelphia Folk Fest on Sale

June 14, 2004

Tickets for the 43rd Philadelphia Folk Festival went on sale Friday. The three-day event sponsored by the Philadelphia Folksong Society takes place Aug. 27 - 29 and offers concerts, crafts, and workshops with funds raised by the festival supporting scholarships, outreach concerts, grants, and more. Receive a discount on your festival pass by purchasing before July 23. Children under 12 may attend for free. Featured performers at the 43rd Philly Folk Fest include John Prine, Cindy Cashdollar, Robin & Linda Williams, Taj Mahal, David Olney, Natalie MacMaster, Girlyman, Full Frontal Folk, Adrienne Young, Uncle Earl, We're About Nine, and LisaBeth Weber.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 1:33 PM

Michael Kelsey Wins Guitarmageddon

June 11, 2004

Indiana native (and Folk Alley artist) Michael Kelsey won Guitarmageddon at the Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival on June 5. Kelsey competed in the national finals against five other regional winners of the contest that began in March with local trials in stores operated by sponsor Guitar Center. As grand prizewinner, Kelsey won the chance to play the mainstage at Cotton Bowl Stadium during the Crossroads Festival, following the performance of guitar legend Steve Vai. He also picked up a 2004 Honda Element, a Gibson Custom Shop Guitar, and a $2,500 Guitar Center shopping spree. This is the fifth year for the contest, which is open to unsigned guitar players who compete using criteria based on musicality in song context, technique, dynamics, stage presence, and originality. The grand prizewinner is selected by a panel of all-star celebrity judges. Judge Tony Franklin (The Firm, Blue Murder bassist) said about Kelsey, "He won me over because he was original, he was having a lot of fun, and his whole approach was completely fresh."

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 2:11 PM

Simon & Garfunkel Visit NPR

June 10, 2004

NPR's Scott Simon will offer a rare interview with Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel that will feature the debut of the duo's first new song in 30 years this Saturday (6/12) during Weekend Edition Saturday. The Simon & Garfunkel interview also includes clips of their classics that have been reworked for their "Old Friends" tour. Check your local NPR affiliate for times or visit for additional information and a preview of the interview. The program will be available to stream on Sat. at 1 p.m. ET.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:52 PM

Bonnaroo - Sold Out Again

The three-day Bonnaroo Music Festival has pre-sold all available tickets for the third year in a row. The 90,000 weekend passes for, which include camping and parking privileges, were sold through the Bonnaroo web site. Artists scheduled to appear at the fest - beginning this Friday on a farm in Manchester, TN - include Bob Dylan, Wilco, the String Cheese Incident, Gillian Welch, Yo La Tengo, the Black Keys, Beth Orton, the Jazz Mandolin Project, Guster, The Dead, and David Byrne. For those who waited too long to purchase passes, all sets will be available as digital downloads (along with ancillary materials like CD labels and liner notes). The Bonnaroo web site warns that anyone without a pre-paid pass will be turned away at the festival gates.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 8:49 AM

Railroad Earth Celebrates 'The Good Life'

June 8, 2004

Railroad Earth, a six-piece Americana-tinged band, has released The Good Life on the Sugar Hill label. The new CD is the follow-up to 2002's Bird in a House. Railroad Earth continues the jam-band tradition of extensive touring and the nuturing of a posse of groupies (here called "Hobos"). This Friday, the band will hold a CD release party at NYC's Crash Mansion. On June 18, Railroad Earth will make a return appearance at Telluride.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:22 PM

Long Live Daisy Duke

June 7, 2004

Bluegrass music will fill the air at Dukesfest 2004, a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Dukes of Hazzard tv show on July 31 and Aug 1 at the Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway in Tennessee. The Sunday bluegrass tribute follows a parade of "General Lees" (recently named the most popular car in the history of film and tv) and includes performances by Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys, Jesse McReynolds and the Virginia Boys, The Lonesome River Band, BlueRidge and The Travis Wetzel Quartet. The event also features drag racing, a stunt show and appearances by Ben "Cooter" Jones and Catherine "Daisy Duke" Bach.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 5:40 PM | Comments (1)

Patty Griffin Live on NPR

June 4, 2004

Singer-songwriter Patty Griffin continues to amaze with the quality of her work. Her latest release, Impossible Dream, is another showcase for her brilliant writing and lovely - often melancholy -voice.

Patty was featured today on NPR's "Morning Edition." She did an interview with host Steve Inskeep, and played live in the studio. The broadcast only featured excerpts from two songs, but four full length songs are available on the NPR web site. Check it out here.

Ms. Griffin was featured as the cover story of two neat music magazines, Paste (April/May issue) and No Depression (March/April). These mags cover a wide range of music, including cool rock, country, alt-country, blues and world, and I highly recomend them. But then again I buy too many music magazines.

And one more Patty item: She is touring this summer - doing some solo gigs and some with the "Sweet Harmony Traveling Revue" - Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch, David Rawlings, and Buddy Miller. This stellar lineup is going to 14 cites this summer. They are coming to my area (Northeast Ohio), and I'm there!

Posted by Bob Burford at 3:20 PM | Comments (1)

Real is Boring

June 3, 2004

Germany has joined a long list of countries in forming an Air Guitar Federation in hopes of winning the Air Guitar World Championship. The contest, which was originally created as filler for the Oulu Music Video Festival in Finland, will bring together independent entrants and winners from national contests in Germany, Finland, Ireland, France, the United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, France, Norway, Australia, and the U.S. for the 9th annual finals in Kuusisaari on Aug. 27. Participants can "play" either acoustic or electric guitar and the winner walks away with an actual "Flying Finn" guitar worth 2,500 euros ($3,056.56 U.S.).

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:56 PM

Where Have All the Young Folk Gone?

June 1, 2004

In many parts of my daily life, I have the same conversation: Where is the next generation? At church, with various arts organizations, professional groups, and at folk music concerts. I attended plenty of concerts this year that offered quality music with a wide range of appeal and I often found myself scanning the room for young people. When I saw them, I rejoiced. But (with the marked exception of Nickel Creek), every audience was overwhelmingly made up of people who experienced the folk revival first hand. It's great that these folks still love the music and support artists of different generations, but what about 10 years from now? Folk music is an art form that almost by definition survives by being passed down from one set of hands to the next. Where will the musicians come from if the children of today have never been exposed to folk music in the first place? There's still time. Do you have any ideas on reaching out to the teenagers and college students who are just waiting for "real" music to love and pass on to another generation?

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 3:54 PM | Comments (30)

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