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Sirius Says "Sayonara" to Folktown

September 30, 2005

Sirius Satellite Radio has kicked Folktown, its only folk music channel, to the curb as part of their programming restructuring. They are moving the Bob Dylan Hour (the DJ said, "...somewhere, maybe classic rock.") and offering The Coffeehouse, which they are describing as "acoustic rock." They are keeping the Outlaw Country and Bluegrass channels. Hair bands, Howard Stern, Broadway, yes. Folk, no.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:54 PM | Comments (29)

MerleFest Announces Preliminary Line-up

September 28, 2005

MerleFest - the giant roots/bluegrass/Americana festival in Wilkesboro, NC - has announced it's initial line-up of artists, led by fest patriarch Doc Watson and grandson Richard (son of festival namesake Merle Watson). This year's MerleFest takes place April 27-30. A random sampling of performers includes: Alison Brown, Sam Bush, Guy Clark, John Cowan, the Ditty Bops, the Duhks, Bela Fleck, Emmylou Harris, Hot Tuna, Si Kahn, Jim Lauderdale, Laura Love, the Mammals, Nashville Bluegrass Band, Nickel Creek, Harvey Reid & Joyce Andersen, Tony Rice, Darrell Scott, and (god bless him) Pete Seeger. Tickets go on-sale on Nov. 8 at 2 p.m.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:52 PM | Comments (2)

Win Roger McGuinn's Guitar

September 27, 2005

Ok, it's not really Roger McGuinn's personal guitar, and you have to give your address to Acoustic Guitar magazine, but you could win a $5,499 Martin, 7-string acoustic guitar (the new Roger McGuinn Special Edition HD-7) and 48 sets of strings. Visit the Acoustic Guitar web site for details. Unlike my father's collection of "signature" bats, the guitar does bear McGuinn's signature on the interior label. And, this is not a commercial, I just think a 7-string guitar is cool (you don't have to sign up for a magazine subscription to enter). Deadline for entry is Sept. 30.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 3:16 PM | Comments (2)

Scorsese on Dylan tonight (in most markets)

September 26, 2005

Tonight, in the US and the UK, PBS (on American Masters) and BBC (on Arena) debut No Direction Home, Martin Scorsese's 4-hour biography of Bob Dylan. Dylan sat down with Scorsese for an in-depth, personal interview that is intercut with segments with Dylan contemporaries like Joan Baez, Dave Van Ronk, and Suze Rotolo, as well as Liam Clancey and elder statesmen Pete Seeger. The film (which will be shown as two two-hour presentations) contains lots of documentary footage from the '60s and is an interesting history of the folk revival - along with Dylan's first-person recounting of his early career. No Direction Home covers Dylan's emergence on the New York club scene, his electric show at Newport, the tour to Britain in '65 when he was routinely booed, and the motorcycle accident that caused him to stop touring and find Jesus.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 1:43 PM | Comments (15)

Tom Waits and Loretta Lynn Lead ISC List of Judges

September 22, 2005

The 2005 International Songwriting Competition welcomes submissions from amateurs and professionals. The contest pays a mix of cash and prizes to winners in 16 categories - including Instrumental, Folk/Singer-Songwriter, Blues, AAA/Roots/Americana, Children's Music and Lyrics Only (which must seem a lot like judging slam poetry). The submission deadline is Oct. 14. Other judges on board: Sonny Rollins; Macy Gray; Amy Ray from Indigo Girls; the presidents of Universal Records, Capitol Music UK, Concord Records, Alligator Records, New West Records, Putumayo World Music, ATO Records; and many other industry big wigs.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 3:23 PM | Comments (2)


September 19, 2005

Bringing Back the Music - Benefiting Victims of Katrina

Arlo Guthrie and friends will travel from Chicago, IL to New Orleans, LA on Amtrak’s “The City of New Orleans,” performing at train stations and venues along the way to benefit the small venues destroyed by Katrina. They plan to depart Chicago on Dec. 5 and arrive in or near New Orleans on Dec. 17.

Focusing on small clubs and venues, Arlo and friends will collect and deliver pro music related gear (sound boards, cables, lighting, staging, etc.) to the City of New Orleans and throughout the disaster areas from Hurricane Katrina, to help them get up and operating as quickly as possible. So far everyone in the music community and elsewhere that has heard about it has been very supportive. Artists and locations for benefit shows along the track will be announced early October.

Note From Arlo:

When I think of New Orleans, I think of music. The City of New Orleans is America's first music city. New Orleans is the city that truly began America's contribution to the history of music world-wide. Without it, there'd be no popular music as we know it today.

When I wonder what they might need in New Orleans to get back on their feet, the stuff that gets ruined under water, I think of all the sound boards, the cables, the lighting, the microphones, the instruments; I think of the stuff you need in the hundreds of little clubs and bars that bring the music to the street - the street that brings the people to the city. And I think of the many thousands of people who depend on those people for their livelihoods.

I am determined to help restore all of those little places and bring the music back as soon as possible. I am contacting Amtrak to help us take the train "The City of New Orleans" from Chicago all the way down to New Orleans. We'll take two weeks beginning in early December and stop along the way at depots or high schools or performance centers of all shapes and sizes. And we'll contact the manufacturers of the very stuff we're talking about and arrange to bring a Christmas present to all the small venues within the city - we'll purchase the gear as close to cost as we can, many will undoubtedly make substantial contributions.

Will you help me bring the music back? Working together with our friends in manufacturing, retail, transportation, the venues, the promoters, the press, the agents and managers and the artists - we can help deliver the stuff that helps make New Orleans sing its own uniquely American song. I'm going ... join us on the train, at the depot, from your office or home, but join us.

For info contact my office: Rising Son Records, 10741 US Highway 1, Sebastian, FL 32958 at

Love as always,
Arlo Guthrie

Christmas on the City of New Orleans with Arlo Guthrie & Friends (Bringing Back the Music - Benefiting Victims of Katrina) in partnerships with a variety of music related companies and you will help provide “the stuff” to keep one of America’s cultural treasures alive.

Posted by Linda Fahey at 9:57 PM | Comments (4)

Asylum Street Spankers Brighten Up Veronica Mars

The Asylum Street Spankers - the Austin, TX old-time and naughty music specialists - make a musical "appearance" on the season opener of Veronica Mars next Wednesday (9/28) at 9 p.m. ET. "Breathin'," featuring Christina Marrs (Mars - Marrs, coincidence?) off the Spankers' My Favorite Record album, will be featured at the start of the highly-anticipated episode, which (so I understand) sees Veronica opening her door to either Logan or Duncan. The good news is that a lot of people have been talking about this show all summer (it's about a teen detective and the murder of her best friend) and will be tuned in, especially at the top. The bad news is that it's on UPN (but that can also be good, since UPN has a younger demographic and they often show the CDs they play at the end of the program). So, good luck Spankers!

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:44 PM | Comments (1)

Dan Zanes - About to be banned by HMV

September 16, 2005

Dan Zanes - singer/songwriter/musicologist/author - is planning on adding his name to the Starbucks Hear Music roster. Zanes (brother of Warren Zanes, PhD - director of education at the Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and former Del Fuegos bandmate of Dan) is targeted to release an exclusive collection of family-friendly, upbeat acoustic tunes for the Seattle coffee gurus. Zanes has produced several albums for a multi-generational audience for his Festival Five Records label, including the most recent House Party. Last year, he released Parades & Panoramas, music from the Carl Sandburg songbag. Zanes begins a national tour with a free concert tomorrow (9/17) at Playhouse Square in Cleveland, Ohio.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 5:46 PM | Comments (6)

HMV Canada Says "NO!" to Bob Dylan

September 14, 2005

HMV Canada, the country's largest music retailer, has removed all Bob Dylan products from its shelf in response to the exclusive release of Live at the Gaslight 1962 through the Starbuck's coffee chain. HMV Canada has taken similar actions towards other artists who have entered into exclusive distribution deals with other outlets, including Elton John, Alanis Morissette and the Rolling Stones. Chris de Burgh was similarly banned from HMV's UK stores after signing a deal with Woolworth's. Dylan products are still available through HMV Canada's online partnership with Live at the Gaslight 1962 is the first official release of material previously found only as bootleg copies.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 5:24 PM | Comments (21)

Monroe's Mando Finds Home in Nashville

September 13, 2005

After what seems like years of speculation, the Gibson F-5 mandolin played by Bill "Father of Bluegrass" Monroe has a new home. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum announced today (Sept. 13, Monroe's birthday) that it had purchased the instrument from James Monroe, Bill's son and heir, in June. The fabled mando has bounced around a bit since Monroe's death in 1996. James entered into an agreement with a non-profit organization that wanted to build a Bill Monroe museum, but they never actually paid for the mandolin and, after a court battle, James was open to sell the instrument. The purchase was made possible through a gift from philanthropist Bob McLean, who also ponied up the dough to secure Mother Maybelle Carter's guitar for the museum last summer.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 5:07 PM | Comments (4)

Americana Music Association Honors Prine, Miller, Gauthier, others

September 12, 2005

The Americana Music Association handed out awards at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville as part of the organization's annual conference. The event, which was hosted by Jim Lauderdale, was aired live on satellite and will be broadcast on the cable channel Great American Country on Sept. 26. Winners included John Prine for artist of the year, Buddy Miller for album of the year (for Universal United House of Prayer), Mary Gauthier for emerging artist, Sonny Landreth for instrumentalist of the year, and the late Mark Heard for song of the year (Worry Too Much).

Lifetime Achievement Awards went to Marty Stuart, Guy Clark and the founders of Rounder Records - Ken Irwin, Marian Leighton and Bill Nowlin.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 5:32 PM | Comments (1)

Raising Money for Lost Instruments

September 9, 2005

A fund has been established to raise money for musicians who lost their instruments in the Hurricane Katrina floods. It will be managed by former New Orleans resident Juan LaBostrie. His friend, John "Klondike" Koehler, is also accepting serviceable instruments at his business, Klondike Sound Co. Koehler has been the Sound Director of the New Orleans JazzFest since 1985 (where LaBostrie was his assistant). The fund is named after the piano, an instrument used in many American-based musical art forms.

Cash donations will be accepted at:

Katrina's Piano Fund
Greenfield Savings Bank
400 Main St.
Greenfield, MA 01301

Instrument donations may be sent to:

Klondike Sound Co.
37 Conte Dr.
Greenfield, MA 01301

They are in the process of applying for thier non-profit tax status.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:58 PM | Comments (3)

MerleFest Breaks Attendance Records

September 7, 2005

MerleFest, the annual celebration of bluegrass and Americana, released figures that showed an additional 1,000 people attended the 2005 version of the festival. More than 80,000 fans journeyed to Wilkesboro, NC for the 18th version of the festival, held each year to honor local son Doc Watson. This year, Doc's grandson Richard performed, as did a who's who of traditional music including Loretta Lynn, Alison Krauss, Jerry Douglas and dozens more stars. MerleFest is named after Richard's father, Merle Watson, Doc's son and frequent collaborator who was killed in a tractor accident.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 11:32 PM | Comments (1)

Art Garfunkel Caught With Pot - Again

Art Garfunkel, half of legendary duo Simon & Garfunkel, was charged with possession of marijuana after police in upstate New York found a joint in his car's ashtray after he rolled through a stop sign. Garfunkel was similarly charged in 2004 when the fuzz found grass in his limo.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 11:30 PM | Comments (17)

IBMA Announces Nominees

The International Bluegrass Music Association has released their list of nominees for the 16th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards. The event will be hosted by Ricky Skaggs and Alison Krauss on October 27th at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN. Krauss may be kept busy that evening accepting awards as well as presenting. She and her band, Union Station, are nominated for 14 awards on the back of their recent release, Lonely Runs Both Ways, leading this year's pack.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 11:23 PM | Comments (0)

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