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Zooma We Hardly Knew Ya

May 27, 2005

Trey Anastasio and Ben Harper's big Zooma tour has officially been put up on blocks. The tour, which was scheduled to run between June 16 and the end of July, originally planned to bring together the headliners with other bands including The Black Keys, Juarssic 5, G. Love & Special Sauce, Medski Martin & Wood, Toots & the Maytals and Ray LaMontagne. It would have been Anastasio's first outing since the seismic break-up of Phish. The producers claim that the tour has been dissolved because they could not guarantee fans "an exceptional musical and entertainment experience," which roughly translates into low ticket sales. Ticket refunds will be available.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 3:14 PM | Comments (1)

Robert Earl Keen is #1

May 25, 2005

Americana golden boy Robert Earl Keen's new album, What I Really Mean, is burning up Billboard's Heatseekers Chart - debuting at #1. The CD is finding respect on other Billboard charts as well, coming in at #5 on Independent Albums (right behind Aimee Mann and John Prine) and is #6 for Internet album sales (although it's currently trailing the Wailin' Jennys' 40 Days, which is soaring on Amazon.com, thanks in part to their appearance on last week's A Prairie Home Companion). What I Really Mean is currently #2 to John Prine's Fair and Square on the weekly airplay list from the Americana Music Association.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:54 PM | Comments (2)

Bob Dylan's Birthday

May 24, 2005

A big happy birthday to Bob Dylan who was born 64 years ago in Duluth, MN. Dylan is widely credited with pioneering introspective folk music, but he angered many fans when he went electric during the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. Although Dylan's career has taken many turns (including time as a Christian singer), he always manages to make good music. His most recent Grammy Award was for 2001's Love and Theft - which won for Best Contemporary Folk Album. Dylan's birthday comes on the same day that his son Jakob's band, The Wallflowers, release Rebel, Sweetheart. The senior Dylan tours minor league ballparks this summer with Willie Nelson and The Greencards.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 5:41 PM | Comments (15)

Club Passim Celebrates the Big 4-7

May 23, 2005

Cambridge MA's Club Passim marked the club's 47th anniversary with a weekend of concerts. The space that is now Club Passim started its life as Club 47, launching the careers of musicians like Joan Baez and becoming central to the growing folk revival. By 1968, Dylan was electric, the Beatles were psychedelic and folk records were pushed to the back of the bin. Club 47 was shuttered, but it didn't take long for Passim to rise from the ashes and, since 1969, the club has been responsible for offering a home for folk music for several generations of artists and audiences. Happy Birthday Passim!

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 5:42 PM | Comments (0)

Wailin' Jennys visit Garrison Keillor this weekend

May 20, 2005

Canadian neo-bluegrass trio the Wailin' Jennys make an appearance on A Prairie Home Companion Saturday (5/21). The program is broadcast from 6-8 EST on public radio stations across the US and around the world on various services. Keillor is fond of old-time music, and it meshes well with a radio show that would be quite at home in a pre-War household - featuring fictional commercials, skits with cowboys and paperback detectives, and Keillors famous monologues about the denizens of Lake Wobegon, MN. The Wailin' Jennys recently won a Canadian JUNO Award for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year - Group for 40 Days.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 5:16 PM | Comments (1)

Dylan film in pre-production

May 17, 2005

Director Todd Haynes (Superstar: the Karen Carpenter Story) is working on a new film, I'm Not There, that seems to be a quasi-biography of Bob Dylan starring multiple actors as Dylan (or some spiritual representation of him), including three women. Stars in the movie include Julianne Moore, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Cate Blancett, Colin Farrell, Adrien Brody and Richard Gere.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 6:20 PM | Comments (6)

Carter Family Tonight on PBS

May 9, 2005

Tonight (5/9) on most PBS stations in the US, American Experience presents The Carter Family: Will the Circle be Unbroken (check local listings for times). Consider one of the most important country music pioneers, the Carter Family - A.P., his wife, Sara, and her cousin (and A.P.'s sister-in-law), Maybelle - combined a repertoire of original songs and traditional mountain music in a performance style that informed the burgeoning country music industry. Their influence extends directly through their children and grandchildren (many of whom perform), as well as those that purchased Carter Family recordings or learned to play their music.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:59 PM | Comments (1)

Folk Alley Discount for Slaid Cleaves and Ray Wylie Hubbard

May 6, 2005

Mention Folk Alley and receive a $3 discount for Slaid Cleaves tonight (5/6) at the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland, OH. Cleaves is touring with Ray Wylie Hubbard (who Linda loves and who hardly ever tours). Hayes Carll opens. The show starts at 8 p.m. in the Ballroom.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 6:04 PM | Comments (5)

Billboard Rewards Good Music

John Prine's new album, Fair & Square, debuted at #2 on Billboard's Indie Chart and #55 on the all-encompassing Top 200 Chart. Billboard's album charts, which include a variety of lists, are comprised from CD sales throughout the US. Prine's album - released by his own Oh Boy label - sits on the Independent Album Chart among a whole lot of hip hop and alternative rock.

As for the Top 200 Chart, Bruce Springsteen's new acoustic set, Devil's & Dust, is on top, an encouraging sign that people really would rather listen to music with substance. Unless they're shopping at Starbuck's. The coffee giant has banned the album from their caffeine palaces, mostly because of a content advisory earned by sexual references in the song Reno.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:23 PM | Comments (1)

Record Setting MerleFest

May 4, 2005

More than 82,000 people made the trip to Wilkesboro, NC last weekend to celebrate bluegrass and Americana music during the 18th annual MerleFest, a living memorial to Doc Watson's late son and performing partner, Merle. Paid attendance was up as well for performances by artists including Doc and Merle's son Richard, BR549, Sam Bush, The Chieftains, Donna the Buffalo, the Duhks, the Bela Fleck Acoustic Trio (with Casey Driessen and Bryan Sutton), King Wilkie, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Robert Lockwood, Jr., Loretta Lynn, the Del McCoury Band, Allison Moorer, Earl Scruggs and Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder. Steve Fishell, Caroline Herring, Hayes Carll and Darrell Scott were finals judges for the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest, which produced winners in a variety of songstyle categories. There were a record 1154 entries in this year's contest. Next year's festival on the grounds of Wilkes Community College will take place on April 27-30, 2006.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 5:09 PM | Comments (1)

Happy Birthday Pete Seeger!

May 3, 2005

Pete Seeger is 86 today. One of the first and most consistently political popular folk musicians of the modern era, Seeger worked with Alan Lomax collecting folk music traditions throughout the U.S. South before serving in the Army in the South Pacific during World War II. His ongoing politicism caused him to be blacklisted while performing with the Weavers. He wrote songs such as Turn, Turn, Turn and Where Have All the Flowers Gone that are part of the lexicon of the folk revival, not to mention songs that he popularized by artists including Woody Guthrie and the unknown musicians in barns and on back porches creating a uniquely American sound by combining the sounds of a thousand foreign homelands. I personally grew up listening to Seeger's deep catalog of albums (or, more appropriately, "records") of folk music for children. Today, Seeger remains politically active and, while his schedule has slowed, he is still making music. His legacy is alive and well in his grandson, Tao Rodriguez Seeger, who is part of The Mammals.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:22 PM | Comments (10)

Save the rainforest frogs

May 2, 2005

Excerpted from a letter to Folk Alley:

"Sitting here in the jungle of San Martin at Tarapoto- Peru- I had the opportunity to listen two nights to your radio station. We work in rainforest and species conservation- a difficult task today, when we are fast approaching the "eve of destruction" as Donavan told us many decades ago in his song. We work here at the first front of rainforest destruction- and every pence we can get goes in conservation projects and species rescue.

Still wondering why none of the folk singers ever touched the topics of rainforest destruction like the song of the hunting of the great whales. Today, the forest animals that suffer most are the frogs with fast extinctions worldwide- and I think we should address this in a future song with their original calls mixed in. If any of the folk singers out there needs some inspiration or sound tracks- he or she might contact us.

Best wishes from the Frogger team at INIBICO.

Rainer Schulte"

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 2:17 PM | Comments (12)

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