American Crossroads
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American Crossroads
Scouring the web for news, views and reviews on American roots music
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Interview: The Good Intentions – Americana from the UK

Interview: The Good Intentions – Americana from the UK | American Crossroads | Scoop.it
BQ: How did you both get into the Americana/country/alt-country genres?

PD: That probably goes back to me discovering Gram Parsons. I was always into pop and new wave music, and I was a big fan of Elvis Costello. And still am.

And I remember reading an interview with Elvis and him saying, you know if you think I’m good, you should check out this guy Gram Parsons.

And this was like an epiphany for me. I went out and bought a Gram Parsons record and it was like my eyes were suddenly open.

I thought, I get it now. I see where all this music comes from: rock and roll all comes out of country and blues.

And it just took me from there: Emmylou Harris, Allman Brothers, Hank Williams and Jimmy Rogers.

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Terry Callier put music career on hold to raise his only daughter - Chicago Sun-Times

Terry Callier put music career on hold to raise his only daughter - Chicago Sun-Times | American Crossroads | Scoop.it
Chicago musician Terry Callier, who died Saturday, had the deep soul of a folk singer and the free spirit of a jazz cat. So his choice to end his career to raise his only daughter, Sundiata, wasn’t a tough decision.
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New Robert Plant Album Rumored for 2013 :: Music :: News :: Paste

New Robert Plant Album Rumored for 2013 :: Music :: News :: Paste | American Crossroads | Scoop.it
Rolling Stone reports that former Led Zeppelin vocalist Robert Plant has been recording with Band of Joy’s Buddy Miller and may have an album out next year.

Miller tells the magazine that Plant joined him at his home studio in Nashville last year and the two recorded a batch of songs with Band of Joy drummer Marco Giovino.

“We didn’t mean to, but we sort of wrote a record’s worth [of material] and I said, ‘While we’re doing this, why don’t I put up some mics and document it,’ because that’s better than just trying to remember it or record it on your phone,” Miller said. “And it sounded so good I think we, you know, accidentally made a record.”

There’s still some fine-tuning to be done before the record is complete and it likely won’t be released until next year, but Miller says it complements Plant’s 2010 album, Band of Joy. “If the last record might be pastoral, parts of it, [this one’s] much more tribal; it’s much more urgent and tribal and, dare I say, rockin’!”

Plant is currently on tour in South America.

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Video of the Day: Pokey LaFarge

Video of the Day: Pokey LaFarge | American Crossroads | Scoop.it
Click here to view the embedded video.Pokey LaFarge – Josephine
Pokey LaFarge performing “Josephine” live at Bimhuis Amsterdam for VPRO Vrije Geluiden in April 2012. Check out “La La Blues” and “Pack It Up” from the same session after the jump.
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Forgetting the Roots: Does It Matter Who Makes Folk Music?

Forgetting the Roots: Does It Matter Who Makes Folk Music? | American Crossroads | Scoop.it
The authenticity trap: How did folk music end up in such a paradoxical place? In 1946, a Jewish boy named Elliot Adnopoz was growing up in Brooklyn. Although his father was a surgeon at a local hospital and wanted his son to follow him into medicine, young Elliot had his heart set on a different profession: he wanted to be a cowboy. When Elliot was 15, he ran away from home with two friends to join the only professional rodeo east of the Mississippi. Even though it was a matter of months before his parents caught up to him and reeled him back to Brooklyn, the damage had been done—Elliot had developed a fascination with the singing cowboys of the rodeo. In other word, the music bug had bitten. Once back home in the big city, Elliot began to teach himself how to sing and play the guitar.

If this sounds like the beginning of a story about a misfit Brooklyn teen trying to escape middle-class angst through folk music, then you wouldn’t be quite right. But you wouldn’t be quite wrong either. (We’re heeding the famous dictum of the reporter Stoddard in the 1962 John Ford film The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, when the legend becomes fact, we should print the legend.) In the case of this particular Brooklyn boy, generations of folk music enthusiasts have followed that principle. For while the name “Adnopoz” doesn’t mean much to the average folk fan, the name “Ramblin’ Jack Elliott” signifies a man who is more or less a demigod. The legend, it seems safe to say, won the battle. Elliott, of course, is Adnopoz, albeit transformed by culture, music, and the curious power of the public imagination. The name “Ramblin’ Jack Elliott” conjures a world of cowboy wonders and hobo life that could never have been conveyed by a Jewish kid from Brooklyn.

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Review: Skaggs continues exploring on latest album

Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, "Music To My Ears" (Skaggs Family/Fontana)

Ricky Skaggs has barreled down an eclectic path since going independent at the turn of the century – after two decades as an award-winning contemporary country singer.

In the last dozen years, he has shown off his skills as one of the most revered bluegrass and gospel artists of his generation, he's honored influences with tributes and collaborative works, and he has challenged himself with projects that explore adult pop songs and complex singer-songwriter themes.

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Video of the Day: Old Crow Medicine Show

Video of the Day: Old Crow Medicine Show | American Crossroads | Scoop.it
Click here to view the embedded video. Old Crow Medicine Show- Mississippi Saturday Night
Old Crow Medicine Show throwin’ down a track off of their latest album, Carry Me Home, at the Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama on May 20, 2011.
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Treme Review: "Knock With Me—Rock With Me" (Episode 3.1)

Most of the time, my least favorite episodes of David Simon's shows occur at the beginning of the season, which is only natural given the way they're structured.
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Uprooted Music Revue: Coyote Grace Share Their Story of "Now Take Flight"

Uprooted Music Revue: Coyote Grace Share Their Story of "Now Take Flight" | American Crossroads | Scoop.it

Coyote Grace began as a duo of street performers consisting of Ingrid Elizabeth and Joe Stevens in 2004. The two performed frequently outside of Seattle's Pike Place Market and used their earnings to record and release their first album, Boxes and Bags. Since then the duo has added third member Michael Connolly, and continues to release popular albums with stringband music fans and tour nationally playing theaters, clubs, and festival stages.

As a trio, they celebrate and are influenced my musical styles of the past, while looking forward with openness to fuse these older sounds with new ones. The three accomplish this with the masterful use of guitar, upright bass, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, and accordion.

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'Greetings From Tim Buckley' Trailer

The trailer for the upcoming Jeff and Tim Buckley biopic, Greetings From Tim Buckley has dropped following the film's recent premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. The movie stars Penn Badgley of Gossip Girl as the younger Buckley trying to come to grips with his relationship (or lack thereof) with his famous father in the lead up to an April 26, 1991, tribute concert for the folk singer that Jeff participated in. While the concert itself did happen, the rest of the film, as director Daniel Algrant told Rolling Stone recently, is "fictionalized and conjecture." Most notable about the trailer is it shows Badgley's rather impressive turn as Jeff Buckley, especially his full-falsetto rendition of "Once I Was," which you get a taste of at the end of the clip.

 

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Unveiling the genius of Ray Charles

Unveiling the genius of Ray Charles | American Crossroads | Scoop.it
Since Somerville native Matt Glaser’s younger days in Upper East Manhattan, the world renowned violinist and Berklee Professor has worshipped, like many, at the feet of “The Genius.”

“A lot of the music I’ve tried to make has been inspired by Ray Charles” Glaser said. “Its like a flame in the background for me.”

With such a flame as an inspiration, it seemed a no brainer to hold a symposium on the history of American roots music in Charles’s honor. A man who so effectively and eloquently tied the different forms of rural American music together.

The three day symposium, Inspired by Ray, to be held Sept 21-23 at Berklee College of Music, will be a mix of presentations and performances, from discussions on Charles’s involvement in both the black and blind community, to performances by many world renowned musicians who have crossed paths with Charles or his music in some form or another.

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Randy Newman Releases Wicked New Track 'I'm Dreaming'

Randy Newman has released a swooning, lyrically wicked new cut, "I'm Dreaming," that finds the songwriter stepping into the shoes of a narrator who's "dreaming of a white President/ Someone whom we can understand/ Someone who knows where we're coming from." The track is available now as a free download, and Newman is encouraging listeners to donate to the United Negro College Fund.

 

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Bill Evans and the History of the Banjo

Bill Evans and the History of the Banjo | American Crossroads | Scoop.it
West coast banjoist extraordinaire Bill Evans shared this video he shot for the folks at The Fretboard Journal back in January of this year, which is only just now available online.
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Iris DeMent: Sing the Delta – review

Iris DeMent: Sing the Delta – review | American Crossroads | Scoop.it

One of the finest songwriters of the 1990s returns with an album on which her voice and writing sound as special as ever, writes Robin Denselow...Back in the 1990s, Iris DeMent was rightly considered to be one of the finest singer-songwriters in America. She wrote heart-tugging, country-tinged ballads such as Our Town, and ranked alongside the McGarrigles for her blend of emotion and melody. This is her first album of new material in 16 years, but it sounds as powerful and timeless as anything she has done. The songs are a blend of gospel and country, often driven on by rolling piano work that's as all-American as Randy Newman, and her voice is equally distinctive, with a harsh-edged twang. But what makes this special is the quality of her songwriting, from the stomping but pained story of bereavement and questioned faith, The Night I Learned How Not to Pray, to the upbeat Go On Ahead and Go Home, and the gloriously sad Morning Glory. Welcome back.

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Hound Dog Taylor - mid 1960's

Hound Dog Taylor was one of the rawest and most incredible blues musicians ever recorded. This is a rare video of him. The only other footage I know of is from a series documenting the "American Folk Blues Festival" in Europe.

Via Vivaldi
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Bettye Lavette, Thankful N' Thoughtful (Anti)

Few singers do anguish as Bettye does it, as if being strangled with plaited anguish. But there it is. Here she is, 50 years into her career, tackling Dylan, Neil Young, Sly Stone, Waits … You get the drift.
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Fuse Jazz Review: Ray Charles Inspires One Hell of a Party at Berklee

Fuse Jazz Review: Ray Charles Inspires One Hell of a Party at Berklee | American Crossroads | Scoop.it

InspiRAYtion: The Music of Ray Charles was the capstone concert of a weekend-long symposium (September 21–23) on the pianist’s work and legacy held by the American Roots Music Program at the Berklee College of music. The mixture of Charles’s devotees, colleagues, personal friends, and a striking number of blind musicians and members of the blind community that packed the sold out Berklee performance were treated to two hours and 15 minutes of sublime musical tribute—no intermission, no holding back, and no letting up.

The man behind the project was Matt Glaser, head of the Roots Music Program, and long time chair of Berklee’s string department. In addition to being a first-rate violinist in roots and jazz traditions, Glaser is an authority on the instrument’s role in American music and a dynamic and eloquent clinician with a wicked sense of humor. Playing on the symposium’s thesis that “all the great steams of American music flow through Ray Charles,” he sought to represent each one on the stage

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Bluegrass legend Mac Wiseman: A boundless voice

Bluegrass legend Mac Wiseman: A boundless voice | American Crossroads | Scoop.it

NASHVILLE — Bluegrass Hall of Famer Mac Wiseman is a big man, though surveying his size won’t get you far in comprehending his musical enormity.

Wiseman is 87, and his history as a member of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys, as an original member of Flatt and Scruggs’ Foggy Mountain Boys and as a solo headliner at hundreds of bluegrass festivals for decades means folks are apt to characterize him as a bluegrass artist.

Ask in Nashville this week, as the International Bluegrass Music Association gathers for its annual conference and awards show, and you’ll find plenty of bluegrass banjo pickers happy to claim him as part of the family.

But while Wiseman is a much-celebrated bluegrass lynchpin — and certainly a part of the family — he’s not a bluegrass artist.

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Of Course, I Could Be Wrong...: MAKES ME WANNA HOLLER

Of Course, I Could Be Wrong...: MAKES ME WANNA HOLLER | American Crossroads | Scoop.it

Well, you could knock me down with a feather. Just as I had reconciled myself to the fact that alt.country had saddled up it's pony and ridden off into the sunset, along comes a band out of Birmingham, Alabama, with a debut album crammed full of alternative country vibes and every bit as good as the likes of Green On Red and Uncle Tupelo back in their heyday. I cannot recommend this album highly enough. If you like your country dark, brooding, windswept and all about working class, rural America wrapped up in Springsteenesque lyricism, then you are going to love this recording to bits.

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Robert Earl Keen :: News

Robert Earl Keen :: News | American Crossroads | Scoop.it

09.24.12

For Robert Earl Keen, the hook of his classic bad-boy ballad remains mostly true.
A certified road warrior, Keen is in the midst of a yearlong nationwide tour to support his latest CD "Ready for Confetti," which he proudly proclaims his best record yet. In the current stretch, the Texas-born Keen and his band are performing 10 shows in 11 days in nine different states.

Tonight, the tour bus will arrive from a date in Alabama and remain parked just long enough for Keen to headline on the State Street stage during Bristol's Rhythm & Roots Reunion. His 90-minute set should begin about 9:30 p.m.

Self-described as shy, Keen finds comfort on stage -- whether playing before 100 or 10,000.

"I like being on stage about as much as being anywhere," Keen said Thursday by phone while aboard his tour bus, somewhere between gigs in Athens, Ga., and Newberry, S.C.

"I would write a song or play a little, but when I first stepped on a stage, that's where it all came together. It was a magic moment," he said. "I'm relatively shy, but when I get on stage I feel comfortable. It's what I enjoy doing."

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Steve Martin Awards Third Annual Bluegrass Prize

Steve Martin Awards Third Annual Bluegrass Prize | American Crossroads | Scoop.it
Mark Johnson, known in his field for having mastered a challenging style of five-string banjo-playing, has won the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass.
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Mumford & Sons: Babel – review

Mumford & Sons: Babel – review | American Crossroads | Scoop.it

Mumford & Sons are vilified as often as praised, and their second album will do little to change that, reckons Maddy Costa...There's a phrase, midway through Mumford & Sons' second album, that neatly encapsulates their existence. "Watch the world tear us apart," Marcus Mumford sing-speaks in his tarry voice, "a stoic mind and a bleeding heart." They are the epitome of a Marmite band: vilified for their privileged background and narrow vision of folk music; celebrated for their spit'n'sawdust energy and biblical framing of love. Babel will only entrench these positions

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Various artists: Lowe Country: The Songs of Nick Lowe

Various artists: Lowe Country: The Songs of Nick Lowe | American Crossroads | Scoop.it

This country-fried tribute to the tunes of revered and resilient English songwriter Nick Lowe is for a good cause—proceeds from its sales go to benefit victims of the 2010 Nashville floods and Texas wildfires of last year—and for that it should be commended, but as a record, it leaves much to be desired. (Too bad!--ed.)

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Review: Band Of Horses – Mirage Rock [Album] - Altsounds.com

Review: Band Of Horses – Mirage Rock [Album] - Altsounds.com | American Crossroads | Scoop.it
Review: Band Of Horses – Mirage Rock [Album]Altsounds.comThe Seattle born Band Of Horses never fail to build upon their last release, bringing forth a new twist on their Alternative Country leanings without detracting too far from what they are...
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