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The Cambridge Folk Festival Celebrates 40

July 30, 2004

The BBC Radio 2 Cambridge Folk Festival celebrates its 40th anniversary with a four day love fest on the Cherry Hinton Hall Grounds. Tickets are all sold out, but you can pay the festival a virtual visit with pictures and audio from concerts on the Radio 2 page. Artists scheduled to appear on the final two days include Gillian Welch, Keb' Mo', Mindy Smith, Josh Ritter, Beth Orton, and Show of Hands.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:38 PM | Comments (3)

Submit Your Political Songs to Open Mic

July 29, 2004

All Songs Considered, NPR's online music show, is looking for political songs for its Open Mic feature. Each week, Open Mic brings together groups of songs by unsigned musicians and gives listeners a chance to rate each contestant (like the old Rate a Record on Bandstand). The site is one of NPR's most popular and also mails out weekly e-mailed updates. To enter your song for consideration, follow the instructions on the site. The deadline is August 9. All Songs Considered is looking for songs about the current political scene, particularly those that are satirical in nature.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 5:38 PM | Comments (2)

New U.S. Idol Search Begins

July 28, 2004

As the kids from American Idol 3 tour the country behind winner Fantasia Barrino, the auditions for season 4 kick off this week in Cleveland. The line forms at 6 a.m. on 8/3 with actual auditions taking place at Cleveland Browns Stadium on 8/4. Other cities scheduled for try-outs include St. Louis, D.C., Orlando, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Anchorage, and San Francisco, which winds things up in October. Although the AI focus is on pop singers, the popular television show is a much-viewed platform capable of launching the career of a talented musician. Contestants must be between 16 and 28 years old.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 6:16 PM | Comments (1)

kd and Joni Release New Albums

July 27, 2004

Canadians kd lang and Joni Mitchell have released albums. Mitchell's The Beginning of Survival anthologizes her works from the '80s and '90s that focus on serious issues like greed and hunger. The CD includes an essay from Mitchell and boasts new artwork by the singer/songwriter.

Joni Mitchell is just one of the Canadian writers featured on kd lang's new CD, Hymns of the 49th Parallel. Lang pays homage to the talents of her homeland in covers of songs by artists that also include Bruce Cockburn, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Jane Siberry and Ron Sexsmith.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 3:33 PM | Comments (1)

Academy of Western Artists Hands Out Awards

July 26, 2004

The Academy of Western Artists presented over two-dozen Will Rogers Awards on July 13 to end the organization's 2004 conference in Fort Worth, TX. Sons of the San Joaquin were named Entertainers of the Year with Kata Hay being recognized with the Rising Star Award. Cowboy Poet Male and Female awards went to Andy Hedges and Doris Daley. Along with the awards and music and cowboy poetry showcases, the event also featured the Chuckwagon Cookoff and a golf scramble. The Academy of Western Artists was "formed to recognize and honor outstanding individuals who, through their accomplishments, preserve and perpetuate the traditions, values and heritage of the American Cowboy."

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

Thanks for the Memories

July 23, 2004

Thanks to all those who posted comments regarding Iris Dement. Folk Alley postcards (autographed by Iris) and Folk Alley t-shirts will be mailed to Deirdre Ownby, Price Carson, Adrian Leighton, Merrit Bussiere and Charlie Grau. Each of these folks took the time to share their Iris-releated thoughts and experiences, and I truly appreciate it.

Also thanks to all those who have sent e-mails in the last couple of weeks. We were worried that summertime might be a little slower here in the Folk Alley universe - but we've had lots of great messages from all over the world lately.

Have a great weekend!

Posted by Bob Burford at 6:16 PM | Comments (3)

Concerts just became more affordable!

July 22, 2004

For those of us with limited funds this summer, concert-going hasn't been much of an option. We've been listening to our favorite artists on and going out and buying their CDs, but with ticket prices being sky-high for some shows, we have to stare at our idols' posters to satisfy our desire to see them. But all that's changing now that House of Blues has teamed up with AOL and Ticketmaster to offer discounted tickets to concerts around the country. Tickets to shows like Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, and Sophie B. Hawkins are just $20 for lawn seats. Other deals are available depending on the show you want to attend, so check out the House of Blues site to find out if you'll be able to see your favorite artist in concert after all.

Posted by at 4:48 PM

America's First Singer/Songwriter?

July 21, 2004

(Note from Ann: This question from Mike in Chicago was so good, we thought you all might enjoy taking a whack at it)

Hi folks,
Every now and then a Stephen Foster song rattles around in my skull, and it got me wonderin', gee, who WAS this country's first "singer-songwriter"? I mean, I wouldn't know for sure if S.F. himself performed his own songs publicly, but he's a figure as far back as I can think of. There may be a few names that are clearly getting under my radar right now, but it's a minor nagging question I thought I'd throw out there.

Mike Lord, Chicago.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:11 PM | Comments (5)

New Todd Snider CD

July 20, 2004

Singer/Songwriter Todd Snider has released East Nashville Skyline on John Prine's Oh Boy Records label. If you're in Nashville tonight, the record release party will be at the Tower Records West End at 6:30. Snider is Texas alt-country singer by way of Portland, OR and Memphis. And he's moved a lot, which has to make me like him. Snider is out on tour now, making his way across America this summer.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 5:28 PM | Comments (1)

Iris Dement Has a Folk Alley T-shirt

July 19, 2004

Last night I headed out to Cleveland's Beachland Ballroom to see Iris Dement in concert. Iris hadn't played Northeast Ohio in quite a while - and the place was packed. In my opinion, Iris has one of the most captivating and heartbreaking voices in all of folk and country. She put on a fantastic show - playing most of her favorites, and doing some nice covers and even a few new songs. One of her new tunes was a song she wrote about her marriage to Greg Brown. Iris wrote it on her "year and a half anniversary" with Greg - another amazing singer songwriter with a distinctive voice.

Jesse Harris, best know for penning Norah Jones' Don't Know Why, opened the show with a strong set that consisted primarily of tunes from his new Verve release, While The Music Lasts.

After the show, I was able to meet both Iris and Jesse, and I proudly presented them with Folk Alley t-shirts, and they really liked them. Iris also autographed five Folk Alley postcards, and I would like to give them away to lucky Folk Alley fans. Why not respond to this posting with your reasons why you should get one? Just a sentence or two. Ann and I will pick the winners, and post them on Friday, and mail them out.

The winners will also receive a Folk Alley t-shirt. Have fun!

Posted by Bob Burford at 5:15 PM | Comments (9)

New Crosby-Nash due in Aug

July 16, 2004

Graham Nash certainly keeps busy. He is a solo artist, a photographer, a painter, a partner in a major fine arts printing concern - and oh yeah - he's been in some of popular music's biggest and most influential bands - The Hollies and Crosby, Stills & Nash (and sometimes Young). He is currently on tour with Crosby and Stills -but he still took time earlier this week to stop by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland to do a presentation on his new book Eye to Eye. (Check out Ann's July 7th post.)

I was fortunate enough to be able to speak briefly with Graham about his new book, and his new CD with David Crosby. Nash told me, "It's a double album - me and David Crosby - my partner of course. Twenty songs - all brand new. I've never been one to brag about anything that we've done. But I must tell you that I'm incredibly proud of this record. I think it's a great piece of work."

The new release, titled simply Crosby-Nash, is the first release from the two Rock and Roll Hall of Famers in 28 years. It's the fourth set as a duo. CPR member Jeff Pevar is featured on guitar, and Crosby's son, James Raymond, plays keyboards on 15 of the cuts.

Posted by Bob Burford at 4:50 PM

Monroe Mando Trial Pushed Back

July 14, 2004

The Kentucky trial over rights of possession of the mandolin Bill Monroe used to create bluegrass has been pushed back. The trial, which pits the Bill Monroe Bluegrass Foundation against Monroe's son James, was set to begin this week but was postponed due to the illness of one of the lawyers involved. The younger Monroe sold the hallowed 1923 Gibson F-5 to the foundation in 2002 for $1.1 million. Only $162,500 was paid towards the debt after the foundation's funding collapsed. James Monroe wishes to regain custody of the instrument so that he can sell it and pay off inheritance taxes.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 6:23 PM | Comments (2)

Mutual Admiration Society Release Album

July 13, 2004

The Mutual Admiration Society - a "supergroup" made up of members of Nickel Creek and Glen Phillips from Toad the Wet Sprocket - have released their first album. The eponymously named CD is on the Sugar Hill Records label. The group is touring in support of the album for three weeks beginning July 27, bringing along Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones and Attractions drummer Pete Thomas. Check out the site for information on entering to win two round-trip tickets to see the Mutual Admiration Society LA or autographed CDs.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 5:59 PM

Ann's Amazing Singer/Songwriter Adventure

July 12, 2004

This weekend, I spent most of my time either asleep or listening to live folk music (and getting suckered into upgrading my cell phone). I learned that there are many different voices out there and FOLK MUSIC IS FUN! Needless to say, my kitchen floor still needs mopping.

On Friday, I went to Cleveland to see Mustard's Retreat at Cain Park. Mustard's Retreat is made up of Michael Hough and David Tamulevich, who live in Ann Arbor, MI, an old-school hippie town that is also home to the Ark, a great venue. It was a strange show because the band was entertainment during an art show and most of the audience was just "passing through." But Mustard's Retreat always puts on a great show and it was lots of fun watching them try to play a few odd-ball requests. They never did play my song, Solitary Beach, but I forgive them.

Saturday, I worked the Folk Alley booth at Akron, OH's Homegrown Saturday Mornin' and then came back later for Not-Your-Father's Folk Festival (a title that greatly depends on who your father is). I sat cross-legged on the ground from 4 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. and I am still a little stiff. I also tossed out Folk Alley t-shirts. It was a great venue for a folk concert: good sound, lovely setting, concessions. The artist line-up was: Eleni Kelakos, the bluehouse, Vance Gilbert, Trout Fishing in America, and Patty Larkin.

I finished the weekend by going back up to Cleveland to the Beachland Ballroom to see John Wesley Harding and his "All Male Threesome." Harding and his mates Scott McCaughey and Dag Juhlin played solo and in a variety of groupings. It was a fabulous evening of great songs, satire, and musicianship. I knew Harding's work (he's my brother's favorite musician), but McCaughey (who has played with Minus 5 and the Young Fresh Fellows) and Juhlin (late of Poi Dog Pondering and the Slugs) were new to me. I ended up buying something from everyone, including a double vinyl copy of Down with Wilco from McCaughey, and I can't wait to listen to it all. I started with Juhlin's (who looks like an accountant BTW) Into the Woods. The man has mad skills on the guitar. I was so happy seeing him play that I wanted to hug him. But I didn't, because that would be weird since we had never met before.

Now, get out there and see some folk!

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 5:31 PM

You Could Still Win a Dylan CD

July 9, 2004

Folk Alley's exclusive Bob Dylan Quiz is well underway. Nearly 300 listeners have taken the test with only a few receiving a perfect score. Since the 10 winners of Dylan Country CDs will be pulled on 7/23 from those getting the best score, there's still a chance to get entered in the drawing. All you need is to rise to the top! Two things, you are free to look up any source you like in a separate window, but I can't guarantee that they will give you the correct answer. And, you may only take the quiz once from each registered e-mail address. Feel free to pass the quiz on to your friends (they will have to register to Folk Alley to play). Have fun!

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:21 PM | Comments (3)

Phish Phinale Sold Out

July 8, 2004

Tickets to Coventry, Phish's final two-day concert event before parting, are sold out. Procrastinators may still find tickets through brokers at a higher price, but anyone who tries to enter the concert grounds in Coventry, VT without a ticket will be turned away. The Phish concert countdown now stands at 5, including two shows in MA, and one in NJ before Coventry on Aug. 14 and 15. All five concerts are officially sold out. There is a chance to win Coventry tickets. Submit the winning t-shirt design commemorating the concert event and you can win two tickets, hospitality passes, and a pile of shirts. The entry deadline is Friday, July 16 at noon EST.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 6:08 PM

Rock Hall Presents Photos by Graham Nash

July 7, 2004

Next Wed., July 14 from 6 to 7 p.m., Graham Nash will offer a special, multi-media presentation focused on photographs from his new book Eye to Eye: The Photographs of Graham Nash at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. The program is one of a series of events at the Rock Hall examining rock photography in conjunction with the museum's exhibit American Music, a collection of photos from Annie Leibovitz. Nash was inducted into the Rock Hall in 1997 as part of Crosby, Stills, and Nash. In Aug., Nash and David Crosby will release Crosby-Nash, the duos first record together in almost 30 years. You also catch Crosby, Stills, and Nash out on the road this summer.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:38 PM

Happy Birthday

July 1, 2004

What are you doing to celebrate the Fourth of July? Going to an outdoor concert? Enjoying some fireworks? Grilling some burgers or hotdogs?

Not only is it America's birthday, it's also Ann's birthday. She's got a tradition going: each year, Ann spends her special day with thousands of others, riding the roller coasters at Cedar Point, roller coaster capital of the world, near Sandusky, Ohio.

Personally, as I grow older, I don't get the appeal of roller coasters. I know, I know. They're amazing! They're exhilarating! Scary, but in a fun way! Last year, the group that I went to Cedar Point with was split into two groups. I was a member of Those Who Wait. I went on a few rides, and even persuaded my 79-year-old mother to join in the "fun." I thought her head would fly off on the Tilt-A-Whirl. We spent most of our day, waiting for Those Who Ride: the bunch of family members and friends who spent every moment either waiting in very long ride lines or enjoying the thrill of a roller coaster that jarred their heads to-and-fro' and turned their stomachs inside out. I spent the end of the day listening to tales of "awesome rides" --and dispensing ibuprophen and other over-the-counter headache relief medicine, which I always happen to carry (I was a Girl Scout once).

So Ann, Happy Birthday, and remember to pack some pain medicine.

Posted by at 3:57 PM | Comments (4)

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