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Janette Carter Dies - Member of Carter Family

January 24, 2006

Janette Carter died this week at age 82. Her parents, A.P. and Sara, along with sister-in-law Maybelle formed the Carter Family (now known as the Original Carter Family) - performing and popularizing traditional folk music gleaned from Appalachia in the 1920s and paving the way for Bill Monroe's bluegrass. Among the many songs they first recorded were "Keep on the Sunny Side," "Wildwood Flower," and "Wabash Cannonball." Janette, the final living second-generation member of the family, sang alongside her parents in their later years and had continued the work of her father to interpret and protect the old-time country songs. Maybelle's daughters - Helen, June and Anita - also performed, touring as the Carter Sisters. June later married Johnny Cash and their love story the subject of the film Walk the Line.

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

MerleFest Invites Registrants for Mandolin, Guitar and Banjo Contests

January 20, 2006

It's only 96 days until MerleFest takes over Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, NC. Any ticket holder for this year's festival may put their name in the hat for the mandolin, guitar and banjo contests that take place April 27 and 28 (unless you're performing or have already won). Twenty names for each contest will be drawn at random. There are great prizes for the winners. The festival also holds two contests for songwriting. MerleFest honors the memory of the late Dale Watson - musical partner and son of Doc Watson. The 4-day festival brings together a long list of stars from folk, bluegrass, and improvisational music styles including Alison Brown, Sam Bush, Guy Clark, Bela Fleck, Emmylou Harris, Hot Tuna, Laura Love, Nickel Creek, John Prine, Pete Seeger, Larry Sparks, Gillian Welch and the Waybacks.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 3:09 PM | Comments (0)

Bob Feldman, President of Red House Records, Dies at 56

January 12, 2006

Bob Feldman, founder and president of world-renowned folk and roots music label Red House Records, died yesterday at age 56 at his home in St. Paul, MN. The stunning report of his death came as a shock to his friends and co-workers even though Feldman had been battling a series of health issues in recent months. Red House headquarters has received an overwhelming number of calls and emails from artists, friends, fans and people in the music industry expressing their shock and sadness at the loss. He is survived by his wife Beth, son Ari, parents, Sydney and Toby, brother Alan and sister Sheri Cerny.

Feldman was known across North America as a tireless music promoter and record producer who devoted his life to building and enhancing the careers of many of today's finest roots music artists. As the head of a record label, he had a unique reputation for trusting his artists’ instincts and allowing them ample creative control over their work. Not coincidentally, Feldman maintained close personal relationships with many of the musicians on the label. He acted as a friend, fan, and business partner to many Red House artists – a combination rarely found between artists and the record executives they do business with.

Red House Records boasts a long list of internationally recognized recording artists including such luminaries as Greg Brown, Lucy Kaplansky, Guy Davis and recent Grammy nominee Eliza Gilkyson (a complete list of artists is available at Over the last two years, Feldman made a conscious effort to expand the label’s scope by signing artists who stretched the boundaries of what many consider folk music. Such acts include Austin, Texas based Jimmy LaFave and a bevy of Canadian musicians -- The Wailin’ Jennys, The Bills, David Francey, Ray Bonneville and Lynn Miles (set to release her first Red House album, Love Sweet Love, February 7th).

The staff of Red House Records – long-time friend and V.P. of Production Eric Peltoniemi, V.P. of Operations Chris Frymire, Director of Publicity and Marketing Alex Seitz, Director of Promotions Ellen Stanley, accounting assistant/bookkeeper Megan Hire and members of the Customer Service Department Roland Trenary, Rachel Goligoski and Beth Engelman – will continue operations and passionately pursue Bob Feldman’s vision of cultivating new talent and bringing the highest quality independent music to fans around the world.

Memorial services will be held tomorrow, Friday, January 13 at 11:30 a.m. at Beth Jacob Synagogue located at 1179 Victoria Curve, Mendota Heights, MN 55118. Memorials should be directed to the Breast Cancer Fund care of Red House Records, P.O. Box 4044, St. Paul, MN 55104.

Posted by Linda Fahey at 12:10 PM | Comments (1)

The Weavers and Robert Johnson to Be Honored with Grammys

January 11, 2006

Folk icons the Weavers and blues legend Robert Johnson will be honored with lifetime achievement awards during this year's Grammy Award ceremonies on Feb. 8. Although Robert Johnson died in 1938 at age 27, he was in many ways responsible - both as a mentor and through his recordings - for establishing the sound of the Blues. The Weavers, with lead singer Pete Seeger, popularized traditional folk songs of the working class and ushered in the folk music revival of the '60s. There recording career was cut short after they were caught in the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities vortex during the '50s "Red Scare."

Let's hope this means that the Academy will actually have to allow Pete Seeger and some honest-to-goodness folk musicians onto the live telecast (like they did during the O, Brother phenomenon). The Grammy Awards main event will be broadcast live in the U.S. on CBS. With more than 100 categories, most winners receive their prizes at an earlier ceremony.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 11:35 AM | Comments (4)

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