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'No Depression' Ceases Publication

February 21, 2008

No Depression magazine has been a victim of the changing world of the music business and has stopped publication. Despite the continued growth of Americana music, they could not cover their print and distribution costs. The service will continue in an online format. Listen to a story about the men behind No Depression on NPR Music.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 6:54 PM | Comments (8)

Willie P. Bennett passes

February 18, 2008

Willie P. Bennett, a pioneering singer/songwriter in the contemporary folk movement, died on Feb. 15 of a heart attack at age 57. One of a number of Canadians who produced songs that inspired the next generation and made waves into U.S. music culture, Bennett's work prompted the formation of Blackie & the Rodeo Kings, a "supergroup" made up of Colin Linden, Stephen Fearing and Tom Wilson that focused on Bennett songs. For the past decade, Bennett has toured with Fred Eaglesmith, playing harmonica and mandolin. He suffered a heart attack in May and was finishing his rehabilitation, apparently on schedule, when a second attack silenced him during a daily workout. Bennett won a JUNO Award in 1998 for Heartstrings.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 11:47 AM | Comments (3)

Steve Earle and Levon Helm Win Folk Grammys

February 15, 2008

Steve Earle picked up a statue for Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album for Washington Square Serenade and Levon Helm was honored for Dirt Farmer in the Best Traditional Folk Album category at the 50th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Other interesting wins of note included Herbie Hancock winning Album of the Year for his jazzy tribute to Joni Mitchell, Country megastar Brad Paisley beating out a lot of good trad players to win Best Country Instrumental Performance with an electric guitar, and Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience winning the first award presented for Best Zydeco or Cajun Music Album (pulling those two genres out of Folk and/or World). Earl Scruggs and The Band were among those honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards.

More Grammy wins by Folk Alley artists (there are 110 Grammy categories - no joke):
Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals - Gone, Gone, Gone, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
Best Pop Instrumental Perfomance - One Week Last Summer, Joni Mitchell
Best Country Collaboration with Vocals - Lost Highway, Willie Nelson & Ray Price
Best Bluegrass Album - The Bluegrass Diaries, Jim Lauderdale
Best New Age Album - Crestone, Paul Winter Consort
Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album - Salt of the Earth, Ricky Skaggs & The Whites
Best Native American Music Album - Totemic Flute Chants, Johnny Whitehorse
Best Hawaiian Music Album - Treasures of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, Various
Best Traditional World Music Album - African Spirit, Soweto Gospel Choir
Best Contemporary World Music Album - Djin Djin, Angelique Kidjo
Best Polka Album - Come Share The Wine, Jimmy Sturr and his Orchestra
Best Comedy Album - The Distant Future, Flight of the Conchords
Best Historical Album - The Live Wire-Woody Guthrie in Performance 1949, Woody Guthrie
Best Classical Crossover Album - A Love Supreme: The Legacy of John Coltrane, Turtle Island String Quartet
Best Short Form Music Video - God's Gonna Cut You Down, Johnny Cash

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 2:11 PM | Comments (3)

JUNO Awards Nominations Announced

February 13, 2008

The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) has announced nominees for the JUNO Awards - Canada's highest honors for the country's recording industry. Awards will be presented at the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta on April 6. Along with a giant pile of noms for Celine Dion (NOT on the Folk Alley playlist), Here are some nominations of interest:

Roots & Traditional Album: Group
Compadres (James Keelaghan & Oscar Lopez)
Harry Manx & Kevin Breit
John Reischman & The Jaybirds
The Sadies

Roots & Traditional Album: Solo
Corb Lund
Jill Barber
David Francey
Justin Rutledge
Oh Susanna

Instrumental Album of the Year
Amon Tobin
Bob Lanois
Jayme Stone
Joey Wright
Richard Underhill

Adult Alternative Album of the Year
Blue Rodeo (also up for Group of the Year and Video of the Year)
Jeremy Fisher
Neil Young
Rufus Wainwright (also up for Songwriter of the Year)
Tom Cochrane

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:36 PM | Comments (0)

East Coast Music Awards Presented in New Brunswick

Proving once again that Canada is cooler than the U.S. when it comes to music, the East Coast Music Awards handed out prizes during the organization's annual conference and festival. Categories cover the gamut. Artists winning awards that, as best as I can figure, fit the Folk Alley profile (they aren't all necessarily in the playlist, the music just seems appropriate) include:

Female Solo Recording of the Year: If You Were For Me - Rose Cousins
Male Solo Recording of the Year: House For Sale - Dave Gunning
Rising Star Recording of the Year: Brand New Skin - Stephanie Hardy
DVD of the Year: Back Stage Pass - The Rankin Family
Bluegrass Recording of the Year: Saddle River String Band - Saddle River String Band
Francophone Recording of the Year: 11:11 - Vishten
Folk Recording of the Year: Looking Back - Volume 2: House For Sale - Dave Gunning
Instrumental Recording of the Year: Live From the Music Room - Troy MacGillivray
Roots/Traditional Group Recording of the Year: Reunion - The Rankin Family
Roots/Traditional Solo Recording of the Year: Falling On New Ground - Kimberly Fraser

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 3:45 PM | Comments (0)

Awards Announced by SPBGMA

The Society for Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America (SPBGMA) presented their 34th annual Bluegrass Music Awards Feb. 3 at the organization's national convention in Nashville, Tennessee. Awards were presented based on fan votes. Winners included:

Bluegrass Song Writer: Tom T. Hall & Dixie Hall
Album of the Year: The Road Headin' Home - Grasstowne
Bass Fiddle: Mickey Harris
Dobro: Phil Leadbetter
Guitar: Josh Williams
Mandolin: Danny Roberts
Banjo: Kenny Ingram
Fiddle: Hunter Berry
Female Vocalist (contemporary): Rhonda Vincent
Female Vocalist (traditional): Alecia Nugent
Male Vocalist (contemporary): Larry Stephenson
Male Vocalist (traditional): James King
Gospel Group (contemporary): NewFound Road
Gospel Group (traditional): Paul Williams & the Victory Trio
Vocal Group: Rhonda Vincent & the Rage
Instrumental Group: The Grascals
Bluegrass Band of the Year: The Grascals
Song of the Year: Lefty's Old Guitar - J.D. Crowe & the New South
Entertaining Group of the Year: Nothin' Fancy
Entertainer of the Year: Rhonda Vincent

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 3:20 PM | Comments (0)

John Martyn wins BBC Lifetime Achievement Award

Singer/songwriter John Martyn was presented a Lifetime Achievement Award by Phil Collins at the 2008 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards (see video - it's not on YouTube or I would post it). Martyn released his first album, London Conversation, in 1967 and has put out 22 collections since - becoming a legend along the way. Other Folk Award winners include Martin Simpson (Best Original Song for Never Any Good and Album of the Year for Prodigal Son), Andy Cutting (Musician of the Year), Julie Fowlis (Singer of the Year), John Tams and Barry Coope (Duo of the Year), Lau (Best Group), Bellowhead (Best Live Act), Shirley Collins (Exceptional Contribution to Folk Music) and Rachel Unthank (Horizon Award). The 9th annual BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards were hosted by DJ Mike Harding in London.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 2:57 PM | Comments (1)

Alison Krauss and Robert Plant Head Out on Tour

In support of their album Raising Sand, Alison Krauss and Robert Plant are heading out on a world tour beginning in April. The CD combines both of their talents in a sound that I describe as Rock-a-billy (others disagree, but Gone, Gone, Gone did just win a Grammy - so I feel justified in enjoying it). T Bone Burnett, who produced the CD, will be joining the pair onstage. On a side note, Krauss' extensive tour without Union Station probably explains Adam Steffey's decision to leave Mountain Heart for the Dan Tyminski Band.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 2:43 PM | Comments (1)

Martin Hayes Wins "Oscar of the traditional music world"

Irish fiddler Martin Hayes has been honored with the 2008 Gradam Ceoil Award for Traditional Musician of the Year from Irish language TV channel TG4. The Gradam Ceoil is the highest prize a traditional Irish musician can receive. Hayes, who currently lives in the U.S., was born in County Clare and has captured six All-Ireland titles.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 2:32 PM | Comments (1)

Riders in the Sky Honored by Society for American Music

Modern-day cowboys Riders in the Sky will be honored Feb. 29 with honorary membership in the Society of American Music. Each year, the organization picks a well-known, prominent figure to receive this honor. The Society for American Music was founded in 1975 to promote the study and performance of American music.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 2:20 PM | Comments (0)

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