The bearded, ebulliant inspiration for the Coen brothers film Inside Llewyn Davis deserves a revival, writes Robin Denselow. The Coen brothers film Inside Llewyn Davis was inspired by the story of Dave Van Ronk, but the soundtrack album has only one track from the ebullient , bearded guitarist and singer who was a key figure on the New York folk scene for more than four decades, until his death in 2002. Van Ronk played blues, traditional songs and his own material, and was at his best heard live, as shown by this 54-song set.
Bill Evans has shared some photos from his recent California Banjo Extravaganza. For the second year in a row, he brought a pair of prominent banjo pickers out west for a weekend of shows and workshops in northern California.
This week the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville hosted Ricky Skaggs as an artist-in-residence. Given his prominence in both bluegrass and country music, the museum sponsored two nights of shows: one celebrating Skaggs in each genre, with fellow superstars joining him on stage from each slice of the discipline.
Thirteen tracks could never do justice to Muscle Shoals, the Alabama town whose studios and session musicians revolutionized R&B in the Sixties. But as a souvenir of the current documentary, in which Bono, Keith Richards and Alicia Keys pay tribute, this will do just fine. Soul treasures like Arthur Alexander's "You Better Move On" will be revelations to the uninitiated. And the torrid solo by then-unknown Duane Allman on Wilson Pickett's cover of "Hey Jude" captures the Deep South musical miscegenation that helped make Muscle Shoals so boundary-breaking – and still so thrilling to encounter .
Among the annals of guitar players, particularly in the world of bluegrass music, few stand as tall as Tony Rice. His meticulous flatpicking styles have been emulated by many of today's hottest pickers...19 years ago, Rice developed problems with his voice. After years of recording, he stopped singing, as he coped with the loss of his second instrument. Eventually he resurfaced, performing guitar with Peter Rowan or with others, but never singing on stage again.
Singer receives lifetime achievement award in Nashville. Last night, Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach presented Dr. John with a lifetime achievement award at the Americana Music Honors and Awards ceremony at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, praising the blues-rock and psychedelic zydeco pioneer for his decades of musical contributions.
Listen to the re-issue in its entirety before its release on Sept. 10.
Athens, Ga. band Drive By Truckers may be in the studio at work on their 14th full-length album,but fortunately fans won’t have to wait until its 2014 release to support the Southern rock band. Their third full-length, Alabama Ass Whuppin’, is set for re-issue later this month and will be available on vinyl for the first time ever. The release will also include new artwork by Wes Freed and was newly remastered by Greg Calbi from the original master tapes.
“Every time we’d return home to Athens, we’d play a show and our friend and producer Earl Hicks would record us on his mobile recorder,” said Hood of the original recording process. “David Barbe mixed it and we called it Alabama Ass Whuppin’.”
A new lineup veered uneasily between the exquisite and the pleasantly soporific, writes Robin Denselow. Vancouver-based trio the Be Good Tanyas specialise in matching delicate harmony vocals with acoustic guitars and banjo, and in reworking anything from gospel and blues to old rock classics and their own material. Their formula involves classy musicianship and a freewheeling approach to the songs, and it has brought them deserved success. It was no surprise the Chapel was packed. But on this showing, they veered uneasily between the exquisite and the pleasantly soporific.
Bob Dylan's 1970 album Self Portrait was so derided upon its initial release thatRolling Stone critic Greil Marcus opened his review with a simple question: "What is this shit?" Now, 43 years later, Rolling Stone is revisiting the time period aroundSelf Portait — and some of Dylan's most misunderstood music ever — with a cover story by Mikal Gilmore probing why Dylan burned down his career at the peak of his fame to save himself.
Coincidentally, this album was part of my thrift-store-find record collection as a teenager. Since I didn't have many records, I listened to Self-Portrait a lot. I tried to find reasons why folks like Griel Marcus we blinkered idiots--completely missing Dylan's obscure genius. I finally had to give up. But perhaps I was just blind to Dylan's fascinating biography, which accounts for everything, apparently.
Case confronts inner turmoil and gives in to grief on her sixth album. Let us know what you think of this exclusive stream. On her last album, Middle Cyclone, Neko Case sung about creatures snuffling, frogs and tornadoes, the beauty of ancient nature and our inner animals. Her Attenborough-inspired artistry won her two Grammy nominations in 2009 as well as thrusting her into the glare of the mainstream. So will the singer's sixth album continue the wave of acclaim, given that it's largely about loneliness and death? The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You charts the internal minefield of childhood, love, and loss by way of power pop, classic rock, folk and Motown. The album emerges from a three-year period Case describes as full of "grief and mourning," in the wake of the deaths of many close to her.
Tools for finding out more about the early 1960s Greenwich Village folk scene recreated in the Coen brothers film, “Inside Llewyn Davis.”“Inside Llewyn Davis,” the Coen brothers film set among Greenwich Village musicians in the early 1960s, is poised to generate a tidal wave of nostalgia — and stir interest among moviegoers who were unfamiliar with this milieu. It’s a safe bet that anyone who sees the film (opening next Friday) will want to know more about the folkie world that the Coens recreate so wittily and well. There are great ways to read, see and hear more about it.
On this day in music history: November 20, 1955 - R&B legend Bo Diddley makes his one and only appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. Sullivan will request that Diddley perform the song “Sixteen Tons’,...
Sean O'Hagan: He was a one-eyed, drug-addicted piano genius who wore a wig stuffed with marijuana and once held a gun to his head on stage – now a new film tells James Booker's extraordinary story. It was the legendary Louisiana musician Dr John who memorably described James Booker as "the best black, gay, one-eyed junkie piano genius New Orleans has ever produced". Though Booker – who died from hard living in 1983 at the age of 43 – would have undoubtedly approved of the description, it does diminish his musical stature somewhat, while only hinting at his flamboyance and talent for self-destruction.
Patti Smith, Elvis Costello, Marcus Mumford and more celebrate Coen brothers' upcoming folkie film. At New York City's Town Hall on Sunday night, Patti Smith had the best line of the night. Glancing at a chorus line of musicians behind her, Smith admitted, "I don't even know who they are, half of them." The audience laughed, and Smith courteously added, "But I'm pleased to see them." With that, Smith and her semi-mystery guests – which included her son Jackson and members of the Avett Brothers and the progressive bluegrass band the Punch Brothers – launched into a stomping, hootenanny makeover of her modern-day empowerment song, "People Have the Power."
I’m asking myself these questions this week, because I’m traveling to Nashville for the Americana Music Festival, a showcase for musicians who try to alchemize folk-music materials into pop-music careers.
Well, the time has come to pound the table again. You’ll read these words many times again before January, but pay close attention now – Greg “Freddy” Camalier’s Muscle Shoals isn’t just the best music documentary since Ondi Timoner’s 2004 masterpieceDig!. It’s the best documentary of the year, whether you’re a music lover or not. And it’s not particularly close.
The documentary is about the beginnings and heyday of the recording scene in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, a tiny town that improbably changed the face of rock and roll, putting out along the way some of the greatest records in the history of American music. Many of those moments are recounted to great effect in the film; first-timer Camalier is obviously a natural storyteller. But there’s so much more to the doc – the cinematography is lush and beautiful, the editing is crisp and precise, and it’s in turns heartbreaking, inspiring, wry, thought-provoking, nostalgic, and genuinely funny. It’s simply a stunning debut film.
Since his passing in May 2012, celebrated guitarist Doc Watson has been the subject of several tributes chronicling his numerous decades as a musician. One of the most recent is The Definitive Doc Watson, which has compiled thirty-four songs from Watson’s recordings for the Vanguard and Sugar Hill labels. The two-disc collection touches on everything Watson was known for – smooth vocals, bluesy touches, and of course, the guitar work that has inspired several generations of pickers from numerous genres.
Michiko Kakutani's front-page New York Times piece on "I have a dream," an attempt to show the sources and aims of King's speech, entirely overlooks Marian Anderson's role, while giving spurious credit to Woody Guthrie.
On October 22nd Rounder Records will release a six-CD set titled American Radical Patriot celebrating the life and work of Woody Guthrie The release will make Guthrie's complete Library of Congress recordings available in their entirety for the...