Friday, October 7, 2011
NEWS FEATURES, Acoustic Americana Music Guide, October 7 edition
This is the latest edition of The Guide's NEWS section.
If you're looking for the section with ALL THE EVENTS – concerts, club gigs, workshops, festivals, etc., you'll find that in The Guide's SPOTLIGHT EVENTS section – it's a click away at
Here's the up-to-the-minute (well, up-to-the-deadline) NEWS, so let's get started!
Welcome to the
Tied to the Tracks
October 7, 2011 edition
THIS WEEK’S NEWS FEATURES
1) A Festival-Crazy Weekend
2) “Show-of-the-Week” Concerts this Weekend
3) Chicago Folk Duo SMALL POTATOES Plays this Saturday In Pasadena
4) STEVE JOBS, iPod Inventor, Tech Guru, Has Logged-Off
5) Artists Join “OCCUPY WALL STREET” as Unemployment, Economy Worsen
6) WORKSHOP: “Country Blues with ALICE STUART & PAT TENNIS,” October 15
7) “Tracking Film & TV Music” with LEE HOLDRIDGE & JON BURLINGAME,” Oct 16
8) WILL RYAN & THE CACTUS COUNTY COWBOYS to Follow OSCARS Theatre Triumph
with October 22 Concert
Here are this week's news feature stories, listed above...
Our # 1 Story
A FESTIVAL-CRAZY WEEKEND
Egads, it's nearly a record number of 'em this month, and this weekend is loaded. We dare you to stay home.
Sat & Sun, Oct 8 & 9, in Ventura,
The annual “SEASIDE HIGHLAND GAMES” are at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. This is a wonderful event. Featured musicians are SLIGO RAGS, THE BROWNE SISTERS & GEORGE CAVANAUGH, ANITA & THE YANKS, CELTIC SPRING, and ERIC RIGLER & BAD HAGGIS, plenty of bagpipes and drums, dancing by the CLADDAGH DANCE COMPANY, plus the only sanctioned Scottish Fiddle Competition in California. We ran a News Feature in the September 15 edition that's reprinted in this week's Spotlight Events Section with even MORE late-breaking info.
Sat & Sun, Oct 8 & 9, in Ventura County,
Annual “FOLK FESTIVAL”weekend, with performances by FUR DIXON & STEVE WERNER, PHIL SALAZAR and THE KINFOLK, I SEE HAWKS IN L.A., TOM CORBETT & BILL KNOPF, RANDALL LAMB, DAN JANISCH, THE CATTERWAILERS, and HANS OTTSEN & ASHLEY BRODER. It's part of the month-long “UNDERWOOD FAMILY FARMS HARVEST FESTIVAL” that runs weekends with music, weekdays without, Oct 1-31; also includes the Oct 22 & 23 “WESTERN HERITAGE” weekend, all at Underwood Family Farms, in the countryside near Moorpark. More at www.underwoodfamilyfarms.com, or 805-529-3690.
Sun, Oct 9, in Santa Barbara County,
40th annual “OLD TIME FIDDLER'S CONVENTION & FESTIVAL” is a one-day event, 10 am-5 pm, at Rancho La Patera & Stow House in Goleta. This is a landmark year for a fine event that's always under-promoted. The lineup is appropriate for the convention / festival's four-decade anniversary, with LAURIE LEWIS & TOM ROZUM, HOT BUTTERED RUM, ERIC & SUZY THOMPSON, PETER FELDMANN & THE VERY LONESOME BOYS, MOLLY'S REVENGE, and the OLD TIME FIDDLERS. We ran a News Feature in the September 15 edition, but our current Spotlight Events section is much more updated.
The fiddle fest is a one-day event, Sunday only; if you're going, why not make it a full weekend by spending Saturday at the SEASIDE HIGHLAND GAMES in Ventura or the FOLK FESTIVAL in Moorpark? (See listings.)
Sun, Oct 9, in OC,
“THE BIG SQUEEZE: ORANGE COUNTY ACCORDION FESTIVAL” has a lot happening this year, including a Cajun-Zydeco Stage with ANDRE THIERRY, LISA HALEY & THE ZYDEKATS, & BONNE MUSIQUE ZYDECO, at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, today only, 10 am 4 pm.
Through Oct 31, in Woodland Hills,
10 am-midnight “HALLOWEEN HARVEST FESTIVAL” has live music and lots more, at the Pierce College Farm Center, corner of Victory and Desoto. They proclaim the event as “the largest Harvest Festival in all of Southern California,” and they've expanded this year to include a larger festival grounds and an expanded six-acre corn maze. Lots to do at this one. There's more in our Spotlight Events, and more at www.halloweenharvestfestival.com – www.FrightFair.com – www.PierceFarmCenter.com – or call them at 818-999-6300.
Through Oct 16, at various venues throughout L.A.,
Annual “WORLD FESTIVAL OF SACRED MUSIC” (www.festivalofsacredmusic.org) includes a fine concert at UCLA's Royce Hall on Sat, Oct 15, at 7 pm, and it shouldn't be lost in the deluge of the festival's 16-day, 32-event, 832-artist fare that's filled with rather exotic world-music offerings that mostly do not appeal to folk-Americana fans. See the Oct 15 listing...
Through Oct 31, in Ventura County,
“UNDERWOOD FAMILY FARMS HARVEST FESTIVAL” runs weekends with music, weekdays without, and includes the annual “FOLK FESTIVAL”weekend Oct 8 & 9, and the Oct 22 & 23 “WESTERN HERITAGE” weekend, all at Underwood Family Farms, in the countryside near Moorpark. More at www.underwoodfamilyfarms.com, or call them at 805-529-3690.
Through Oct 16, at various venues throughout Pasadena,
Biennial “AxS FESTIVAL” (www.axsfestival.org) this time explores the themes of “Fire & Water” with two weeks of art, music, dance, theater, performance and “provocative conversation.” It's art and some very cool, very accessible science. Main music was Sun, Oct 2. More at www.axsfestival.org
> MORE FESTIVALS HAPPEN LATER IN OCTOBER (plus the ongoing ones, above)...
Sat, Oct 15, in L.A.,
Key show at the “WORLD FESTIVAL OF SACRED MUSIC” (www.festivalofsacredmusic.org) is a fine concert at UCLA's Royce Hall at 7 pm, and it shouldn't be lost in the deluge of the festival's 16-day, 32-event, 832-artist fare that's filled with rather exotic world-music offerings that mostly do not appeal to folk-Americana fans. The UCLA show is “WATER IS RISING: Music & Dance Amid Climate Change,” with 36 artists from the Pacific atols of Kiribati, Tokelau, and Tuvalu, presenting song and dance. it's safe to say, If you enjoy Hawaiian music, you'll love this. And it will bring you face-to-face with the reality of climate change and rising sea levels. This show may sell-out. Info, www.waterisrising.com; advance tix, www.uclalive.org.
Oct 22 & 23, in Ventura County,
Annual “WESTERN HERITAGE” weekend, is part of the month-long “UNDERWOOD FAMILY FARMS HARVEST FESTIVAL” that runs weekends with music, weekdays without, Oct 1-31 at Underwood Family Farms, in the countryside near Moorpark. More at www.underwoodfamilyfarms.com, or call them at 805-529-3690.
Sun, Oct 30, in Burbank,
“SAMHAIN” Irish Song, Dance & Story, with optional traditional Samhain dinner, brings the story of Halloween and a celebration of the Celtic New Year, with SLUGGER O'TOOLE, BARRY LYNCH, ACS DANCERS, ADAM KIRK, CHRIS LOKEN, AEDAN MacDONNELL, STEVE PRIBYL, & LINEA SOLEDAD, sponsored by the Celtic Arts Center at the Burbank Moose Lodge. Two shows, 3 pm or 7 pm, tix for either are $18; tix for the optional 5 pm dinner are $15; show + dinner discount, $30. It'll sell-out early; info & advance tix, www.CelticArtsCenter.com/Samhain.
For MORE on any of the above, see this week's SPOTLIGHT EVENTS section at
We 'spect we'll learn about even MORE festivals and add 'em as the month continues.
Our # 2 Story
“SHOW-OF-THE-WEEK” CONCERTS THIS WEEKEND
Of course, you'll find ALL of this week's COMING EVENTS – our complete harvest of vine-ripened, organically grown, spring-water-washed good times, often presented in delectable detail – and always chronologically displayed as listings and write-ups, all awaiting you in the Guide's current SPOTLIGHT EVENTS Section, at
In QUICK form, here are our Concert “Show-of-the-Week” picks, all indoors...
Fri, Oct 7, in L.A.
MERLE HAGGARD and KRIS KRISTOFFERSON team-up to play the Greek Theatre in Griffith Park at 8 pm. (Or, catch 'em in Temecula tomorrow night or Sunday.)
Fri, Oct 7, in Cerritos
THE BROTHERS FOUR and the KINGSTON TRIO play a double-bill at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts at 8 pm.
Fri, Oct 7, in Hollywood
“CHANSONS D'AMOUR” with AMANDA McBROOM & LEE LESSACK is “an homage to the great French songbook from an American perspective,” at the Ford Amphitheatre at 8 pm.
Fri, Oct 7, in Ventura
NATHAN McEUEN & MASON REED play Zoey's Café at 7:30 pm.
Fri, Oct 7, in OC
MICHAEL CHAPDELAINE plays the first of two shows for Lord Of The Strings Concert Series, this one at Dana Point Community House at 7:30 pm.
Fri, Oct 7, in Altadena
PRESTON REED plays the Coffee Gallery Backstage at 8 pm.
Fri, Oct 7, in Santa Barbara
TROMBONE SHORTY & ORLEANS AVENUE play UCSB's Campbell Hall at 8 pm.
Sat, Oct 8, in Temecula
8 pm MERLE HAGGARD and KRIS KRISTOFFERSON play the Pechanga Resort & Casino. (They're here tonight and tomorrow night.)
Sat, Oct 8, in L.A.
HALAU O LILINOE A ME NA PUA ME KEALOHA performs as part of the ongoing the “WORLD FESTIVAL OF SACRED MUSIC,” with a 1 pm show at the Autry National Center, Griffith Park.
Sat, Oct 8, in L.A.
KEITH URBAN with JAKE OWEN brings the former's “Get Closer 2011 World Tour” to Staples Center, if you can withstand the fake / generic pop-country “Nashvul ack-scent” from the transplanted Aussie.
Sat, Oct 8, in OC
MICHAEL CHAPDELAINE plays the second of two concerts for the Lord Of The Strings Concert Series, this one at Mission Viejo Civic Center at 7 pm.
Sat, Oct 8, in Covina
TOM CORBETT, RICK SHEA, and fabulous Aussie expatriate AUDREY AULD-MEZERA play at 8 pm at The Fret House in Covina.
Sat, Oct 8, in Pasadena
SMALL POTATOES plus an opening set by DAVE MORRISON, at the Caltech Folk Music Society series at 8 pm.
Sat, Oct 8, in Santa Monica
ABIGAIL WASHBURN and OLENTANGY JOHN play McCabe’s at 8 pm.
Sat, Oct 8, in L.A.
TRACY NEWMAN & THE REINFORCEMENTS, plus SHELBY, TIEG AND TARA, play Westwood Music at 8 pm.
Sat, Oct 8, in L.A.
NATHAN McEUEN and MASON REED play Genghis Cohen at 8 pm.
Sat, Oct 8, in Culver City
PRESTON REED plays Boulevard Music at 8 pm.
Sat, Oct 8, in Altadena
THE ALLEY CATS plus JULIE BRETT play the Coffee Gallery Backstage at 7 pm.
Sat, Oct 8, in Anaheim
LaCHE CERCEL & THE ROMA SWING ENSEMBLE play the Dunarea Restaurant at 9 pm.
Sun, Oct 9, in Santa Barbara
RIDERS IN THE SKY, the only multiple Grammy-winning Western group, play UCSB's Campbell Hall at 3 pm.
Sun, Oct 9, in Temecula
MERLE HAGGARD and KRIS KRISTOFFERSON play a second night at Pechanga Resort and Casino at 7 pm.
Sun, Oct 9, in Santa Monica
Monthly “SONGWRITER SANCTUM,” this time with blues from MARK "POCKET" GOLDBERG, country from J.C. HYKE, classically-flavored singer-songwriter music from KAREN HART, and folk-rock from NICOLE GORDON, at the Church in Ocean Park at 2 pm.
Sun, Oct 9, in Altadena
LaCHE CERCEL & THE ROMA SWING ENSEMBLE play the Coffee Gallery Backstage, 3 pm.
Sun, Oct 9, in L.A.
The ongoing “WORLD FESTIVAL OF SACRED MUSIC” today brings the CHOIR OF ST. JAMES and ALAN MORRISON to St. James-in-the-City at 4:30 pm.
Sun, Oct 9, in Long Beach
DIKKI DU & HIS ZYDECO KREWE play the Cajun-zydeco dance at the Golden Sails Hotel at 5 pm.
Sun, Oct 9, in Altadena
JONATHAN McEUEN and NATHAN McEUEN (musical sons of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band founding member JOHN McEUEN) play the Coffee Gallery Backstage at 7 pm.
(As always, don't overlook the FESTIVALS...)
And of course, a whoooole lot more Southern Cal events are described in The Guide's SPOTLIGHT EVENTS section, at
Our # 3 Story
CHICAGO FOLK DUO SMALL POTATOES PLAYS THIS SATURDAY IN PASADENA
If you're not enmeshed in a festival this weekend, there are over a first-rate dozen concerts around town. For lovers of neo-folk / new folk, the Caltech Folk Music Society's Saturday night offering is a fine place to be.
Following an opening set by DAVE MORRISON, you'll see a performance by JACQUIE MANNING & RICH PREZIOSO, a.k.a. SMALL POTATOES. Series producers Nick Smith and Rex Mayreis will tell you, “Rich and Jacquie bring a harvest of original songs and some by their contemporaries, plus lots of humor and playfulness.”
Another guy named Rich – Rich Warren, who has a long-running folk music radio show in Chicago, asserts, “Jacquie Manning and Rich Prezioso combine cleverly witty with powerfully poignant songs, along with well chosen covers to present an unusually entertaining and involving repertoire engagingly delivered. Prezioso's song, '1000 Candles, 1000 Cranes,' is one of the most outstanding songs of the past 50 years.”
L.A. radio listeners concurred about that song, naming it a “Listener Favorite” on “Tied to the Tracks” a few years back.
Another radio host / programmer, Warren Nelson from Bayfield, Wisconsin, says the two “don't sound like anybody else. I like that. They lay out a blanket and every song is a picnic."
Just a few of the people they've performed with include TOM PAXTON, GREG BROWN, JOHN MCCUTCHEON, UTAH PHILLIPS, CHERYL WHEELER, ROBIN & LINDA WILLIAMS, DAVID WILCOX, and BRYAN BOWERS.
SMALL POTATOES come from the storied Chicago folk scene. That's the music community that gave us the late STEVE GOODMAN ( who wrote “City of New Orleans”), MICHAEL SMITH (who wrote “The Dutchman,” and who Caltech Folk hopes to have back in 2012), and many other fine musicians, singers, and songwriters.
There's more at www.smallpotatoesmusic.com.
DAVE MORRISON is opening, accompanied by multi-instrumentalist GREG KRUEGER on "stringed things," and they may be joined by a bass player. There's a nice feature on Dave in Friday's San Gabriel Valley Tribune newspaper. Google it or pick up a copy.
Marilyn Babcock, founder and producer of Topanga Acoustic Music Series, says, "Dave Morrison, songwriter and performer, is my favorite artist in California. His musical storytelling evokes a visual tapestry of tangible emotions and experiences we all have shared as part of the human experience. His memories and his inventive spirit lead the way toward romantic imagery and poetry of the soul. I am always impressed by Dave Morrison's capacity for humor and joy in the short-story songs he presents. He is a very prolific writer, and all his compositions are exceptional.”
Dave's web site is www.davemorrisonmusic.com
The concert is Saturday, October 8, at 8 pm, in Beckman Institute Auditorium, on the Caltech campus in Pasadena 91106; 626-395-4652. Park in one of the two lots on Michigan Avenue, South off Del Mar. Tix, $15 for adults, $5 for Caltech students and children.
The Folk Music Society has two different shows this month. The other concert, on Saturday, October 29, will feature WILLIAM JACKSON AND GRÁINNE HAMBLY and their "Two Sides of Celtic" show in Beckman Institute Auditorium. Tickets for that show can be ordered in advance by calling the Ticket Office at 626-395-4652, visiting the Ticket Officeon campus, or purchased for cash at the door. $15 for adults, $5 for Caltech students and children.
Our # 4 Story
STEVE JOBS, iPOD INVENTOR, TECH GURU, HAS LOGGED-OFF
The day after his death to complications of pancreatic cancer, one farewell was a computer printed note, taped to the outside window of an Apple Store in New York City. It read simply, “iThankYou.”
Steve Jobs himself once said, in a much-quoted commencement speech to Stanford graduates, “Don't be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of someone else's thinking.”
That could be any artists' mantra. In this bleak economic time of paralyzed politics and no willingness by supposed leaders to find solutions, it's a good epitaph for a genuine and accomplished leader to leave to all of us.
Wherever you turn this week, you'll see and hear obituaries and tributes to the late co-founder of Apple and one of America's greatest innovators, STEVE JOBS. So we'll limit our comments here to just a few, about his influence on music and the arts.
It's not enough to say he revolutionized recorded music with the iPod, making it possible for indie artists and those in non-mainstream genres (like folk-Americana) to reach a global audience with their zither and accordion and mandolin and banjo music.
He did that, of course. And you had the sense that he knew he was doing it from the outset, democratizing access and dealing a body blow to the tyranny of Big Music's would-be gate keepers and tastemakers.
When introducing the device, Jobs said, “The coolest thing about an iPod of course, is your entire music library fits in your pocket.”
There, the acclaimed visionary got it wrong. The coolest thing turned out to be the ease with which an iPod allowed everyone to ADD to their music library, and how so many people's listening libraries could suddenly and affordably grow exponentially with music by artists they'd never had heard otherwise.
More than anything else, Steve Jobs was the think-outside-the-box genius who dreamed of making everything instantly accessible to anyone who wanted to seek it. While we all know that the foibles of the internet prevent us from achieving that without waaay too many steps and individual operations, who would argue that Jobs, more than anyone else, got closer to delivering all of whatever “it” was, while always increasing expectations that so much more should be available.
Even for non-techno-geeks – those of us who are veritable Luddites by choice, who don't want to be perpetually connected to nonstop tweeting twits and perpetually chirping chips, Steve Jobs' thinking transcended the devices he produced, representing true creativity.
Not that he had any patience for those who didn't “get it.” As WALTER ISACCSON's upcoming biography of Jobs says, “He thought you were either a genius or an idiot, and sometimes that could go back and forth in fifteen minutes.”
Is it a great contradiction that Jobs himself chose to vacation without being “connected,” and was seemingly grateful to escape the techno-leash? Who among us hasn't felt that way? Whether he had misgivings or second thoughts whether the quality of life was improved or stifled by constant connectivity, we do not know. Perhaps we will learn more. We're expecting that we will, and that we will read thoughtful treatises by the man himself, since he was a deep thinker.
Some found him difficult. Apple co-founder STEVE WOSNIAK may have been more personable. But it was Jobs, after his return to the company he co-founded, whose personal introduction of products brought the comedians to parody his procession of “i” devices, like the fictional CD shelf unit, the “iRack” (ironically rendered obsolete, or at least redundant, by his iPod) and the running shoes for technogeeks, the “iRan.”
But his insistence on attention to aesthetics in his real “i” products made him an industrial artist-designer in America's post-industrial age. He conceived things that often had an inherent beauty and the illusion of simplicity as a design requirement. He may not be named with Raymond Loewy or Henry Dreyfus as demigods of American industrial design, but the physicality of his many devices is as iconic as the streamlined art deco toaster or rounded-corners of the chrome-adorned early refrigerator or elegant curves of the GG-1 electric locomotive. Whether other high-tech mini-gewgaws supersede the capabilities of those pioneered by Apple during the rein of Steve Jobs, everyone else lacked the panache, the sheer style, and the anticipation of their new product or the latest upgrade of it.
As CNN observed, he was “A guy rooted in counterculture but able to connect to the masses... with his death, how does the world fill the gap?”
The long list of his ever-smaller consumer products represented ever-bigger innovations and achievements, all from an inspiring man who was a college dropout. Still, Jobs gave us more seemingly incidental, often impressive, Zenlike aphorisms than a philosophy professor. Thus, we come full-circle to where we began. Perhaps that's always where we find ourselves when we contemplate someone who changed so many things so profoundly.
Our # 5 Story
ARTISTS JOIN “OCCUPY WALL STREET” AS UNEMPLOYMENT, ECONOMY WORSEN
“There's something happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear.” - '60s song lyrics.
New Census statistics are out. Brace yourself. 48.5% of all American households now get some kind of government aid. 34% live in a household that gets Food Stamps or some kind of welfare benefit. 14% are on Medicare.
There's more. 46% of households will pay no federal taxes this year, and 45% paid none last year.
Unemployment is officially 14 million, plus six or seven million more who are underemployed and wanting full-time work, plus more we'll get into in a moment. That translates to an official unemployment rate of 9.1%, and up to 12%, depending where you are. But that's not the entire picture. The criteria for reporting unemployment rates only reflects the people who are currently collecting unemployment benefits. That's been the case since the Nixon Administration. BUT – Once your unemployment insurance benefits are exhausted, you are deemed a “discouraged worker” (yep, that's the term they use) and you drop off the map. The system loses the ability to count you for statistical purposes, except in spot updates for the Census.
If you're in that predicament, you're probably descending into deep debt, you certainly don't have a job, but you're not unemployed. It's insane. The actual numbers of people out of work and seeking jobs is really about 31%, or one in five Americans of working-age, plus the 5% (or so) who are underemployed because that's all they can find.
All of the above numbers are worse than they were during the depths of the Great Depression that began in 1929. Mega-billionaire Warren Buffet even called on Congress to raise his tax rates, emphasizing how ludicrously wrong things are, that his secretary paid more taxes last year than he did. He was ridiculed by other fat cats and by corporate-lackey politicians.
We hear more of that '60s song: “Paranoia runs deep...”
Instead of anything pro-active, politicians in Congress are blocking an embarrassingly modest Jobs Bill proposed by the Obama Administration. It's all about contrarian politics and what one financial reporter calls “paralysis and toxicity” in the face of a crisis.
We should be talking about the exact form and structure of a new WPA and a new CCC to re-employ Americans with projects that will give us all a future legacy – like that we inherited from the enduring public works projects of the '30s. We could be building high-speed rail and alternatives to gas-guzzling automobiles and alternatives to polluting coal-fired power plants. We could be leading the world in high tech investment and encouraging math and science education with a vigorous space program, aimed at Mars, instead of pouring money and blood into the sands of Afghanistan. We could be creating jobs so that the 24% of the military enlistees, who go there because there are no other jobs, could find career work in improving our society and rebuilding it for their children's future.
Instead, we are told that a tepid jobs bill is dead on arrival in the House of Representatives, even as we see record profits for companies that took our money to employ people overseas, but not here. We see money being used to make money without creating any jobs or benefits for our society in a time when meaningful, career-track jobs should be our key national priority. We're not building for the future. We're not even doing required maintenance on the gifts we received from our parents and grandparents. We hear politicians rant that government must charge the rich no taxes and make Capital Gains profits off-limits to taxation, altogether. We see bonuses paid to money manipulators who exported America's jobs even as they took bailouts from taxpayers. Rome is burning. They're buying Stradovari violins with our money.
Wall Street, led by Big Oil, continues to post record profits. The rest of us are, at best, being squeezed, at worst, seeing our futures get raped, pillaged and plundered.
That's true from the macro to the micro end of the average American's shrinking economic spectrum. At “Occupy L.A.,” an oversized mock check is held aloft; in the amount of $673 billion, it represents the payment that protestors say is due from Bank of America to the People of California “for destruction” caused by the megabank's mortgage foreclosure and other practices.
Big banks, who enjoyed billions in taxpayer-funded bailouts, continue to find ways to screw their customers. Small things are representative of their philosophy and larger practices.
There's Chase Bank, luring new accounts with promises of “no fees, no minimum balances and $100 of the bank's money for you,” and then changing the rules to charge $20 per account per month in fees – after you're trapped there for a year because you accepted their hundred bucks. (Do the math: the fees on one account are $240 a year.)
There's Bank of America, luring you with a no-fee, no-minimum-balance account, then slapping you with $8.95 a month for your account statement, plus $5 a month from then on, if you use your debit card (even once) to buy anything in a store or online. (That totals to $167.40 a year in fees.)
But getting a loan from either of them, to buy a house or start a small business that would be a job creator? Forget it. All that bailout money they took? It's too tight, especially since millions of it went to executive bonuses.
It's all nuts. We amass record levels of consumer debt just trying to hang-on, because record numbers of us are unemployed or underemployed. Instead of us running up debt trying to survive, government could be (gasp) borrowing money – something it could do at record low interest rates – to finance public works projects that would employ our own people.
But nothing gets done, even as our individual consumer debt increases each month to set new record levels while no one gets a job to repay it. Of course, the money manipulators post record profits because they game the system, exploit foreign workers with low pay in dangerous workplaces, and sell the world inferior junk. They pay themselves obscene bonuses as rewards for bringing their corporations record profits based on cutting and exporting jobs, after they merge, over-consolidate, eliminate competition, and erase any pressure to make better products.
They play shell games with the profits of their offshore operations to escape and avoid paying taxes. They get away with it because they own the politicians they buy with campaign contributions in amounts that are now unlimited (since the 2010 Supreme Court decision in Citizens United). They protect themselves at the expense of everyone else, no matter what happens, even when they're the ones exacerbating it. And many of them flaunt it.
Enter “Occupy Wall Street”
That '60s song is playing: “You better stop, hey, what's that sound, everybody look what's goin' down.”
Is it any wonder that, twenty-one days ago, a movement began to “Occupy Wall Street” in protest of, as the occupiers put it, “the one percent” that are predators on “the 99 percent” of Americans? Indeed, we have literally reached a point where the top one percent makes one-fourth of the income in America. That, too, is a record. Meanwhile, the system has quite literally stopped working for everyone else; income has been flat for decades for all but the super-rich.
This phenomenon – this Occupy Wall Street thing – is something that appears to be a genuine grassroots uprising by a broad cross-section of ordinary people of all ages. It's people who are fed-up with watching the fat cats game the system and prosper at the expense of the rest of us. It's people fed-up with being disillusioned, people disgusted by what they see happening and feel powerless to stop, people who include the long-term unemployed, who are young and middle-aged and old, people who should be at the mid-points of their careers doing jobs that were suddenly exported to China, people who see no one doing anything to improve their prospects, people who are being told to prepare for a time of decline and diminished expectations, people who, consequently, have “had it” to the point of taking to the streets.
They're taking one street in particular – Wall Street, the home base and monolithic symbol of the 21st century's resurrection of the ruthless Robber Barons we thought we'd left in the 19th century, back there on the junk heap of rich elitists who controlled politicians to protect their own tyrannical exploitation of people and resources and capital and the environment.
Suddenly, a growing number of people are asking, “How much is enough,” enough tax breaks, enough record profits for the rich, enough to manipulate and to control for one's one ego and greed? The malcontents are collectively declaring that they have “had enough” of watching their country and their future concentrate wealth into fewer hands at the expense of those who have worked their whole lives for modest returns that are now being denied, and they have simply had enough of being exploited. Even the ersatz populism of the Koch Brothers-funded Tea Party has begun to transcend an agenda that was, early on, spoon-fed to its followers. Somewhere, some manipulator must be holding his breath at the thought that Tea Partiers may have started thinking for themselves and looking out for their own futures.
Generally apolitical members of Middle America's rapidly diminishing middle class, along with disillusioned Democrats and Ron Paul conservatives and hardcore right-wingers, have joined students who face deeper debts from higher tuition and the impossibility of getting all the classes to finish a degree in four years at a campus where cutbacks have occurred, and they've all joined recent graduates who have no job prospects and no hope of paying student loans, and there are the people facing mortgage foreclosure, and those who have lost homes, and those at or near Medicare age, and workers who have seen their benefit packages erode to almost nothing, and the vast ranks of unemployed of all skill levels and levels of education and expertise, and workers who have had their pension funds stolen by money manipulators, and union members fighting legislation that would undo the gains it took a century to achieve, and left-leaning social activists, and veterans of G4 summit protests, and yes, a few genuine radicals and even a handful of bonafide anarchists. It's a crazy quilt that's the real America.
At “Occupy Washington” in the nation's capital, one of the 22 satellite sites spawned by “Occupy Wall Street,” one woman's sign reads, “Lost my job – found an occupation.”
Critics and many watchers in the media opine that it isn't organized enough to be a movement, this conglomeration of refugees of the ninety-nine percent. We answer that it doesn't need to be coherently structured and organized. Native American Indians fought on horseback with each warrior his own general, willing to boldly lead and be led to facilitate taking part, but not willing to be commanded by anyone. The internet analogue shows us countless examples of large numbers buying-in to ideas and movements that have a bare minimum of officious formality. They don't require it. Should we wonder that “Occupy Wall Street” would resonate in our time, without a published manifesto or Statement of Purpose?
Should we wonder, in an age of web forums that allow equal access and participation – without regard to geographic location – that this populist outrage would engage others too far away to join those in New York? Like a viral flash demonstration that won't go away, other communities' financial districts get cloned “occupations” tapping the same discontent, including one that grew during a rainstorm at the diagonally-opposite corner of the country, in L.A.
Is it any wonder that artists are part of this new community that's spreading nationwide to these “occupations”-? Some bring six-strings, others add voices. They sing songs of the uniquely American consciousness, old songs of social justice and labor organizing, new songs of economic justice, songs from the last Great Depression, old and new songs of struggle and overcoming oppression and exploitation, songs of camaraderie of common purpose, songs decrying greed and manipulation and thwarted opportunity, songs of fat cats whose lack of concern rivals the aristocrats' “Let them eat cake” cliche of the French Revolution.
Should we wonder at that? Is it any wonder that it is the artists, as an inevitable part of their own experience of it, who are already writing new anthems and updating lyrics for the old ones, defining the experience and giving it voice and inspiring their fellow “occupiers”-?
In the first week, politicians and even the media were dismissing the Wall Street occupiers as a mob with no coherent agenda. By the second week, TV news was running a clip from the movie, “Network,” with the key line, “I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!”
The “not-a-movement” movement quickly won supporters and sympathizers over its first weekend, when 70 of its participants were arrested, following the caught-on-camera violence inflicted and indiscriminate hosings with pepper spray or mace inflicted on unresisting people by New York Police officers and one police official. THAT made it news, as numerous media outlets commented with a sense that the NYPD had just erased the residual goodwill it had earned following 9-11. That rhetoric lasted until police and fire unions joined the occupiers, and signs appeared with slogans like “No more cuts to fire, police, and emergency responders.”
The New York protestors – or occupiers – won more hearts and minds by cleverly defeating the nearly unprecedented ban the city had slapped on them, prohibiting their use of bullhorns or mics with electric amplification. The group quickly unified by developing and implementing “The People's Microphone,” wherein everyone within earshot of any recognized speaker simply shouts, in synchronized repetition, whatever the speaker says. It's effective. Everyone hears, as each phrase or sentence is repeated all the way to the far end of the crowd. For ingenuity, doggedness of purpose, and building group cohesion, it's unbeatable.
Give an artist the whole scenario – all of it, starting with what caused it in the first place, the fat cats prospering off everyone else who sees their prospects diminishing, and then the scenes of mishandling by New York officials and attempted suppression of those pointing-out the inequities of worsening economic oppression, then the goofy statements by rich political neophytes who don't get it, like Herman Cain, who asserts it's all orchestrated by the Obama campaign – and expect songs like Bob Dylan wrote during the Civil Rights and Vietnam era.
Not that we expect the fat cats to “get it.” So we'll close with an effort to help them.
MEMO TO THOSE WALLOWING IN WALL STREET BONUSES AND BANK BAILOUT BILLIONS and the taxpayer-subsidized obscene profits of Big Oil in your decadently furnished, hermetically sealed offices: You've lost the battle for hearts and minds. No one (except your fellow greedy elitists in “the one percent”) will be sympathetic to you, because the artists are on to you and they can see the emperor has all the gold, but no clothes. You've had your day in the sun on your gated private beach, with your tax-free yachts and caviar and free rides on your capital gains – your chief sources of income – and tax rates lower than what your secretaries pay. In case you hadn't noticed, the artists are not only on to you, they're telling the truth from a position to attract and inform everyone else. The occupiers will besiege you until you wake up and realize we're all in this together, sharing this fragile planet and all needing essential shares of its rersources. And you, the 1%, have no Right of Kings to oppress the rest of us in the 99%.
Our # 6 Story
WORKSHOP: “COUNTRY BLUES WITH ALICE STUART & PAT TENNIS,” OCTOBER 15
Learn some of the fingerpicking techniques that blues great Alice Stuart uses with her superb fingerstyle blues. Alice has played with VAN MORRISON, ZAPPA, and BLOOMFIELD, and toured the national and international circuits. She blends blues and good country music (not the Nashville pop junk) and she performs with style, finesse, and great humor.
Plus, in the same workshop, PAT TENNIS will teach you tips on how to back up and support the lead player.
The workshop is 3 to 5 pm on Saturday, October 15, at Boulevard Music, 4316 Sepulveda Bl, Culver City 90230; 310-398-2583. The Workshop fee is $35 and registration is now open.
That evening, Alice does a concert at the venue at 8 pm, and tickets are now on sale.
Our # 7 Story
“TRACKING FILM & TV MUSIC” WITH LEE HOLDRIDGE & JON BURLINGAME,” OCT 16
World renowned author and lecturer JON BURLINGAME will guide the audience in seeing and hearing the astonishing and precise world of film and television music scores, when he is joined by Emmy and Grammy award winning composer LEE HOLDRIDGE (the late JOHN DENVER's orchestra leader and collaborator). The two will discuss, from the composer's perspective, the nature, performance and application of music composed for the big and little screens, with comments on matching the music to the scene to achieve the mood and feel.
Live musical performances and selected clips from Mr. Holdridge’s extensive catalog of his film and television scores are interspersed throughout this fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at “the music behind the magic.”
“Tracking Film & Television Music: An Afternoon with Lee Holdridge & Jon Burlingame,” is Sunday, October 16, at the Boston Court Performing Arts Center, 70 N Mentor Av, Pasadena 91106; tix and info, including multi-event discount and bonus packages, are now available at www.bostoncourt.com or 626-683-6883.
Our # 8 Story
WILL RYAN & THE CACTUS COUNTY COWBOYS TO FOLLOW “OSCARS” THEATRE TRIUMPH WITH OCTOBER 22 CONCERT
Whoa-up there, pardner. If you're thinking, “sounds like another cowboy crooner outfit,” you're taking the wrong fork. This band brings a GRAMMY and Music EMMY winning leader, spans generations, balances genders, and delights listeners of all persuasions. Okay, so the show is on the West Side, near Culver City's old movie studios where westerns were filmed. Go ahead, make connections, jump to conclusions if you want, but this is much more than that.
This band dazzled a sophisticated industry audience at the ACADEMY OF MOTION PICTURE ARTS & SCIENCES (THE OSCARS) THEATER this summer, with a world premiere live performance of their original soundtrack. It accompanied the screening of THE prototype classic western movie, 1925's “Covered Wagon.” The film was that year's Best Picture, pre-Oscar by two years. It won the top honor from the film-addicted readers of Photoplay, as did all definitive Best Picture / Best Actor winners in each of the pioneering feature-film years.
The classic silent film was meticulously reassembled from archives around the world. But its old “soundtrack” – probably no more than a stack of lead sheets for piano – was lost long ago. Will and his band were picked to write the new score. It's a delight. The music matches the film so well that it feels like the only soundtrack the film ever had, or needed. It features memorable and matched-to-the-scene lead parts for string instruments, lots of piano themes and signature motifs, and oh yes, tastefully placed horns.
The achievement is worthy of the acclaim it received from that sophisticated industry audience, and more than merits repeating the screening / live soundtrack performance for fresh audiences far and wide. It's a sure bet it'll happen again and delight additional packed houses.
But they're playing a concert October 22, not another film screening, so what's the significance of all this?
This band reliably brings a smooth interdisciplinary blend that's delightfully melodious, tastefully rhythmic, with some fine vocal harmonies, and they do that every time they perform. While fresh and original, this outfit takes you back to a time when music had all the elements in the right mix, and they do it without sounding like a trip to the museum.
Their music stays in the saddle through gallops and canters, but rides beyond all the horizons. Take their song about the Texan who wins “more oil wells than a man can handle” in a poker game on the Fourth of July, making him “The Ding Dong Daddy of Abu Dabai and the Oobie Doobie Doo of Dubai.”
They deliver a unified sound, with just the right amount of spotlight solos for each player, rather than the impression of superbly talented individual players in an ensemble – which they are.
That won't surprise anyone who has heard them perform their ever-growing repertoire. You'll be humming and singing the choruses of their '30s-style originals for days. WILL RYAN's lyrical songwriting is catchy and delightful, with depth that connects great melodies to contemporary sensibilities, as in their concert favorite, “Too Big to Fail.”
Instrumentally, they're adept, more Bob Wills-ish, more rhythm-driven (“Rhythm Rides the Range” is one of their signature songs) and even syncopated bebop jazz and Djangostyle '40s pop than you get from some simplistic honky-tonk revival or recent country-western outfit in ersatz Nudie suits. This band brings virtuoso performances from session-and-tour string wizard JOHN “PRESTO” REYNOLDS on banjo, guitar, and resophonic; rubber-face character expressions from “WESTY” WESTENHOFER on upright bass and tuba (yes, tuba, and he can play anything on it); wunderkind CHLOE FEORANZANO, their young saxophone / clarinet / mandolin player; Betty Boopish commentary from lovely Big Band jazz vet KATIE CAVERA on fiddle; and WILL RYAN's outstanding songwriting, guitar, and smooth lead vocals.
On top of that, they're funny, even when they're way too corny. It all combines quite wonderfully, giving them a stage presence that show biz impresario Bob Stane celebrates with his highest compliment, reserved for the rarest of artists, calling them “A complete act.”
Their growing cadre of fans will be glad to know that they have a new CD ready for release. No official word whether copies will be available at this show, but we 'spect they will be.
The show is Saturday, October 22, 8 pm, at Boulevard Music, 4316 Sepulveda Bl, Culver City 90230; 310-398-2583. Tix are $15, and go on sale October 8.
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RECENT EDITIONS of The Guide's NEWS FEATURES are still available!
Just check our archive! Read the contents bar on the left side of the page at www.acousticamericana.blogspot.com and click the appropriate month.
The MOST RECENT past editions (last 30 days) are easy to find HERE:
September 30 edition is available at
and the stories are:
1) World's Oldest Musician Releases New CD, with Party this Saturday
2) GLEN CAMPBELL is on his Farewell Tour; he Means it, and Why
3) SIMON LYNGE Returns to L.A. with Hits in Europe; Plays this Weekend
4) BUTCH HANCOCK, from THE FLATLANDERS, to Play Altadena Monday Night
5) Musical Revue of American History – in Song & Story, this Tuesday
6) WORKSHOPS are part of “WORLD FESTIVAL OF SACRED MUSIC,” October 1st-16th
7) INVITATION TO ARTISTS: 30th annual “Los Angeles Holiday Caroling” Festivities –
(or participate in YOUR city...)
8) GIG OPPORTUNITY: Wanna Play Southern California's Largest Harvest Festival?
9) “WATER IS RISING: Music & Dance Amid Climate Change,” by Pacific Island Artists,
will have World Premiere in L.A. and Two Local Performances
10) “Moody Bluegrass Two...Much Love” with VINCE GILL, RICKY SKAGGS, SAM BUSH, &
More, Gets Critical Acclaim
11) Highlights of the Coming Week (and Beyond): Welcome to Acoustic Rocktober!
September 23 edition is available at
and the stories are:
1) 17th annual “HARVEST FESTIVAL OF DULCIMERS” this Saturday in Culver City
2) All-Star Lineup for “BLUEGRASS CONCERT AT THE FORD,” September 25
3) This Weekend's Festival Scene Brings a Hodge-Podge of Music – Catch
THE BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA, DAVID LINDLEY, FABULOUS THUNDERBIRDS, more
4) Cajun Music from Grammy Nominee Headlines “CASTAIC DAYS FESTIVAL,” Saturday
5) “AMERICANAFEST,” Oct 12-15, is "Nashville's Best Music Festival" says Southern Living
6) Arts Commission Workshops Start September 26
7) Pasadena's Boston Court Announces Fall Music Series
8) SEPTEMBER's Best Remnants – A Quick Roundup – Newly Updated
9) OCTOBER - First Look at an Acoustic Rocktober's Impending Events
September 15 edition is available at
and the stories are:
1) Musician ALEX BEATON Paralyzed from Accident
2) Innovative Ways to Sell Your CDs
3) Stuff that Works: Musicians' Comedic Press Release of the Month
4) “MILLPOND MUSIC FESTIVAL” Brings Finale to Summer Fests, this Weekend
5) 8th Annual “CELTIC CONCERT” at the Ford Brings the Craic, this Sunday
6) Grand Ole Echo Brings “GRAMATHON” this Sunday
7) FUR & STEVE Invite You to Recording Sesh for their Live CD, this Sunday
8) All-Star Lineup for “BLUEGRASS CONCERT AT THE FORD,” September 25
9) Of Autoharps, Jobs Bills, and a Vision for Our Future (or the Lack of it)
10) “SEASIDE HIGHLAND GAMES” Coming October 8 & 9 in Ventura
11) 40th annual “OLD TIME FIDDLER'S CONVENTION & FESTIVAL” is Sunday, October 9
12) KEN GRAYDON Memorial Concert Brings Fitting Adios
13) SEPTEMBER MUSIC HIGHLIGHTS – The Guide's Quick Roundup
September 9 edition is available at
and the stories are:
1) Frightful Heat Comes and Goes, but Upcoming Music is Delightful
2) Performance Workshop: Learn from Successful Indies, Saturday at the Autry
3) And Now for Something Completely Different: PHIL WARD, this Friday Night
4) “Equinox Folk Music, Dance & Storytelling Festival” is this Weekend
5) Blues in House: HUGH LAURIE the Musician
6) “Songwriter Sanctum,” Local Recurring Event, Gets Media Attention
7) “Millpond Music Festival” Brings Fine Lineup, September 16-18
8) 9-11's Legacy: The Part Played by Artists, and What's Still to be Done
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“It'll never sell...too many notes!” - Gene Autry
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