Friday, October 28, 2011
NEWS FEATURES, Acoustic Americana Music Guide, October 27, 2011 edition
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Tied to the Tracks'
October 27, 2011 edition
THIS WEEK’S NEWS FEATURES
1) Irish, Celtic Music Plentiful for “SAMHAIN,” Original Halloween / Celtic New Year
2) “TWO SIDES OF CELTIC” Show at Caltech Saturday Night
3) Guerrilla Art Returns with Mayor On-Board – May The Fork Be with You
4) Music Got Us to the Moon – Where Might it Yet Take Us?
The biggest and final Mars lander touches down in November. Is there meaning for Artists?
5) STAGECOACH and COACHELLA Will Grow to 3 Days in 2012
6) Strong Mountain Roots / Bluegrass / Newgrass Double-Bill on Friday
7) YOU can still add your comment at the HUGE RESPONSE to our feature,
“Artists Join 'OCCUPY WALL STREET'...”
Here are this week's news feature stories, listed above...
Our # 1 Story
IRISH, CELTIC MUSIC PLENTIFUL FOR “SAMHAIN,” ORIGINAL HALLOWEEN / CELTIC NEW YEAR
From Thursday evening through Sunday, don't stay home if you love Irish / Celtic music.
If you look only at all the music bookings in the Los Angeles region these few days, you'd think it was St. Patrick's Day. It's actually the most important time in the ancient Celtic calendar.
A quick note about the crazy pronunciation of SAMHAIN: It's pronounced “sah-win” (rhymes with “plowin'”) because “mh” sounds rather like “w.” That's something you might use when pondering other Gaelic words. Now that you can say it, let's explore it!
Samhain's concerts and events follow this brief bit o' its history.
Halloween, aka Hallowe’en, or All Hallows Eve, or All Souls Eve, or All Saints Day, has a more colorful history than you may know. There’s much more to tell.
It wasn’t always a day for dentists to drool, anticipating all the kid’s candy-fed cavities they’d soon be drilling.
Halloween began as the Celtic “Samhain,” which actually means, "November." ADRIEN RAIN BURKE, from the Celtic Arts Center, explained it all to the Guide back in 2008, and it's so good we reprinted it here.
“'Samhain' means 'November' in Gaelic, which was the first month of the year for the ancient Celts. So, October 31, which has come down to us as 'Halloween,' was the CELTIC NEW YEAR'S EVE and the beginning of the Dark Half of the year.
“It was dangerous in those times, as the Celts believed in fairies and ghosts and 'things that go bump in the night' - and those bumpety things were for some reason especially prone to walk abroad during Celtic holidays - and they weren't very nice. In fact, to meet them usually ended in disaster for the hapless human. Jack O'Lanterns [carved from turnips in those pre-Columbian, pumpkin-less times – ed.] were lit and set in strategic places to scare away unwanted and unnatural visitors. Of course, one might be able to buy them off with treats.”
When Christianity came to the British Isles and Ireland, The Church decided - as it often did - to keep the holiday and rename it to blend with the new faith. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. So Samhain became known as All Souls Eve, All Hallows Eve, and All Saints Day.
Adrian adds, “And the scary fun went on. People love ghost stories by firelight, and probably always will, and kids love putting on a costume and going door-to-door for treats.But New Year’s Eve was moved to December 31 - the Roman New Year - because you have to draw the line somewhere.”
She concludes, “We at the Celtic Arts Center feel that the benefit of living in a multicultural society is the number of New Year's celebrations one can attend. So all are invited to ours.”
We can't help but note that, nowadays, most of the month of October is given over to Samhain's descendant, Halloween – which is very odd, because Samhain still means November.
WHEN AND WHERE TO CELEBRATE
THURSDAY at 8 pm, MARLA FIBISH & JIMMY CROWLEY play the Coffee Gallery Backstage in Altadena. Jimmy is the bard of Cork and a brilliant song-writer. Marla is known for her uniquely vibrant and driving playing on mandolin; she's a San Francisco native and a long-time feature of the Bay Area Irish music scene. Tix, $18.
FRIDAY – in San Diego – at 7:30 pm, “MASTERS OF THE CELTIC HARP: WILLIAM JACKSON & GRÁINNE HAMBLY” play the AMSD Concert Series in San Diego; 619-303-8176. We have a story on them (feature #2) because they play the Caltech Folk Society series in Pasadena on Saturday.
SATURDAY at 8 pm, the Caltech Folk Music Society series brings WILLIAM JACKSON and GRÁINNE HAMBLY with their "TWO SIDES OF CELTIC" show – see the next news feature for all the details.
SUNDAY AFTERNOON at the Coffee Gallery Backstage in Altadena, KEN O'MALLEY performs an all-acoustic matinee solo show. He brings his marvelous voice, guitar and mandolin to traditional and original (and always authentic) Irish song. If you've seen him with his band, THE TWILIGHT LORDS, you must see him solo acoustic.
SUNDAY AFTERNOON and/or EVENING, at 3 & 7 pm, the Celtic Arts Center celebrates “SAMHAIN” in Irish Song, Dance & Story, with an optional traditional Samhain dinner. It's all about the story of the original Halloween and a celebration of the Celtic New Year with performances by 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, 1901 W Burbank Bl, Burbank 91506. Two shows, 3 pm or 7 pm, tix for either are $18; 5 pm dinner tix are $15; show + dinner, $30. Info & tix, www.CelticArtsCenter.com/Samhain.
SUNDAY EVENING at 7 pm, THE BATTLEFIELD BAND brings a suitably (and classically) Celtic evening performance for Samhain at McCabe’s, 3101 Pico Bl, Santa Monica 90405; 310-828-4497. Tix, $24.50.
BEYOND THE WEEKEND
On Friday, November 4 at 8 pm, MARLEY'S GHOST, a wonderfully Celtic / Americana flavored outfit based in the Pacific Northwest, performs at Boulevard Music, 4316 Sepulveda Bl, Culver City 90230; 310-398-2583. More details in the near future. Tix, $17.50.
CELTIC CULTURE BEYOND SAMHAIN...
If you'd like a GOOD READ about ancient Celtic culture, the original ceremonies and festivities of Samhain, and more, we highly recommend “Hadrian's Wall” by William Dietrich (2004, available in a Harper/Torch paperback edition). It's a historical novel set in the time when Rome occupied Britain south of the famous wall and the free Celts reigned north of it. The characters are wonderful, and the intrigue of relations, back and forth, is riveting.
And of course, the CELTIC ARTS CENTER has ongoing programs, including their long running every-Monday-night dance and music sessions. Check www.CelticArtsCenter.com for info on all their events.
Our # 2 Story
“TWO SIDES OF CELTIC” SHOW AT CALTECH SATURDAY NIGHT
This Saturday, October 29 at 8 pm, WILLIAM JACKSON and GRÁINNE HAMBLY bring their “TWO SIDES OF CELTIC” show just in time for Samhain (the original Celtic Halloween and New Year) to the Caltech Folk Music Society series in Beckman Institute Auditorium, on the campus in Pasadena 91106; 626-395-4652. Park in one of the two lots on Michigan Av, S off Del Mar.
WILLIAM JACKSON, a founding member of the Scottish group OSSIAN, has performed “a couple of outstanding shows” at the series before. This time, he is joined by GRÁINNE HAMBLY, who is from Ireland. The promo from Nick Smith and Rex Meyreis, co-producers of Caltech Folk, is so good that we're simply reprinting it for you, below.
Their recent recording together, “Music from Ireland and Scotland, is a stunningly beautiful collection of mostly traditional tunes featuring the two of them on harp, along with tin whistle, concertina, and bouzouki. Along with the late, great singer, Tony Cuffe, William was a founding member of the much missed traditional Scottish group, Ossian, who we were lucky enough to have at Caltech back in 1988. Since then, his solo harp career has taken off, and he has become world renowned with touring and with recordings, such as “The Wellpark Suite.” He is equally adept in his interpretations of traditional tunes as he is as a composer. His Land of Light won the international competition in 1999 as the new song for Scotland, announced on the eve of that Parliament convening for the first time in 300 years.
As impressive as William's two solo appearances at Caltech have been, we are delighted that he will be joined for this show by Gráinne (pronounced "GRAWN-yuh") Hambly, from County Mayo, Ireland. Gráinne has 3 solo recordings and two song book collections to her credit. Finton Vallely wrote that her CD, Between the Showers, is "an altogether beautiful harp album that takes on the full gamut of traditional dance music and airs as well as three Carolan pieces that include the unusual Madge Malone and two versions of Turlough MacDonough." The interplay of these two master musicians promises a truly memorable evening of music.
Resources / watch / listen / learn in advance...
Listen to them on Youtube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=LR8mXsQY-KY.
The web page for their CD is www.harpagency.com/artist1.htm
Their individual web sites are www.wjharp.com and www.grainne.harp.net.
Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for Caltech students and children.
Our # 3 Story / Event Review
GUERRILLA ART RETURNS WITH MAYOR ON-BOARD – MAY THE FORK BE WITH YOU
We're stuck with it, and that's a good thing. The Second Coming of the iconic and world's largest “Fork In The Road” – an eighteen-foot-tall silver fork sculpture rising where a road forks in Pasadena – has happened. This time, it is risen for good. The “Fork raising” happened last Friday at 11 am, accompanied by suitable ceremonial hoopla, greasing of steel support sockets, and much altogether necessary lifting, grunting, heavy breathing and (thankfully) no reported hernias.
TV news crews and print reporters covered the event and the the happy crowd. There were several live performances, with sing-alongs, of an original song written for the occasion and led by banjo and ukulele and four singers that included the Guide's editor. (Call it participatory journalism.)
It's compelling, a Warner Brothers cartoon come to life or a Monty Python gag the Pythons could never afford. Yes, it's that “tine” again, and there was and is no shortage of quips, puns and clichés. If it isn't already obvious, we can't resist contributing our share.
After all, wasn't it prophesied 145 years ago at Appomattox that “The Fork Will Rise Again” – or something like that? They were dealing with a divided nation. We doubt they envisioned a dividing thoroughfare and the physical double entendre of an eating utensil for Gulliver's giant.
Friday's image of raising a piece of shimmering, towering, brobdignagian cutlery may not have invoked the heroic deed on Iwo Jima, but not for lack of effort by The Forkians – yes, the thing has its own cult following, as evidenced by their unique salute (hey, it's California).
May the Fork be with you. That's the greeting used when exchanging the Forkian Salute, a hand raised with thumb tucked-in and four fingers splayed parallel. It's raised at the height of the greeting hand on the Voyager spacecraft plaque. (On the Voyager plaque, the figures are naked. The Forkians, having gotten into enough trouble, don't go to that extreme.)
The original guerrilla art installation, two years ago, received global media attention throughout its initial six months' display. The Guide was the first to bring news of its presence, followed by newspapers all over the world – including some on the front page in distant lands. Every L.A. TV station that does news was there with their cameras within days after The Fork first appeared.
A month after it first went up, The Fork was the catalyst for the largest food drive in Pasadena history. With the theme of “Stick a fork in hunger,” a three-day effort at the site collected over 4,000 pounds of edibles for a local food bank. Most contributors simply stopped when they saw a crew wearing orange shirts at The Fork to ask what was happening. Upon learning, many went to a nearby grocery store, bought a bag or whole case of canned or packaged food, and returned to donate it. With all that and more, The Fork quickly built a following – local and global – such that it could be neither banished nor forgotten. Happily, it will repeat that symbolic role in a renewed food drive this year.
The Saturday before the fork raising, even Pasadena's Mayor Bill Bogaard literally got on board at the “Return of the Fork” party at the construction yard where de-lamination prevention and structural reinforcement had been accomplished. The Forkians gathered to feast and honor the object of their veneration. The sculpture was presented in a horizontal aspect, with a big western saddle so folks could, in cowboy lingo, fork the saddle, and ride The Fork. Mayor Bogaard, a good sport, contributed libations for the party and posed aboard The Fork for a photo by the Guide's editor – which quickly went viral on the web.
(It's currently on the front page at www.acousticamericana.blogspot.com, and in many other places across cyberspace. There are plenty of pictures of all things Forkian, including that one, plus a detailed “show and tell” at the Fork's own website, www.theforkintheroadgang.com.)
The mayor's photo symbolizes a happy evolution from The Fork's origin, when no one knew if the artist and his crew would be arrested making the original nocturnal and clandestine installation, if caught. Friday's re-installation and official enshrinement brought the mayor's representative, several newspapers, and camera crews from KNBC Channel 4 and KTLA Channel 5.
The original installation embodied the old adage that it's better to ask forgiveness than permission, and the Fork's instant celebrity, smacking of civil disobedience, created that cult of Forkians.
What, you ask, prompted this crazy thing in the first place? Ken Marshall is the artist, former owner of the Coffee Gallery bistro, and the guy who originally designed and built The Fork as a birthday surprise for his Coffee Gallery Backstage music venue partner, Bob Stane. The Fork mysteriously appeared on Bob’s birthday two years ago.
Seems Bob had once mused to Ken as they drove through the forking junction in southwest Pasadena that a fork in the road deserved a FORK in the road to identify it.
That was all it took to secretly get Ken started.
There was immediate agreement that Bob deserved it. Bob Stane is a witty, much-beloved, if slightly curmudgeonly character whose many years in show biz launched careers of standup comics when he ran Pasadena's famous Ice House. For the past twelve years, Bob has helped launch many musicians since he developed the Coffee Gallery Backstage in Altadena as a mecca for (usually) non-electrified music performances. The latter has been repeatedly named the “Best acoustic music venue in Los Angeles” in the annual round-up in FolkWorks magazine, written there by the Guide's editor.
Thus, the Fork rose, and immediately, one artist's present to one show biz impresario was prominently shared with the community – especially the unknown thousands of drivers whose daily commutes were enlightened by Ken's outsized realization of Bob's casual remark.
Of course, after that first raising two years ago, The Fork did come down. Issues of public safety were invariably cited. The Fork's hefty concrete base had been clandestinely poured in the middle of the night and obviously never inspected, nor was the oversized cutlery.
The City of Pasadena promised they would find a way to put it back. Not everyone was pleased. Some recalled similar promises from Los Angeles when the Angel's Flight inclined railway was dismantled “for three years,” but sat in storage for a generation; it finally returned, only to be “temporarily” taken out of service for nearly another decade before finally resuming its daily function once again, moving people up and down Bunker Hill in its rhombus-shaped funicular coaches.
Happily, Pasadena officials did much better. After all, they're used to hosting the Doo Dah Parade, and that other Pasadena institution, the Rose-something-or-other. So, once refurbished to meet the engineering standards of the city, and with a new concrete footing The Fork was made legal. It stands a bit farther from the road now, so picture-takers will stay out of the street.
This time, “It has the blessings of the entire city government of Pasadena, which has embraced public art with enthusiasm,” said Bob. Ever the show biz impresario, he released a statement that read, in part, “After a year’s vacation in Oz, where it was brushed and polished by Munchkins and milk maids until it gleamed,” the Fork was back.
Ken celebrated, saying, “Hats off to the City Of Pasadena and its government.”
The return drew internationally known artist Zofia Kostyrko, who designed a T-shirt to memorialize the event. It remembers The Fork's past with the slogan, “The American Way – Do it, Then Ask Forgiveness.” And yes, Bob and Ken autographed the shirts, as requested.
Forkian guru Bob Stane was there, of course, quietly off to one side, basking once again in The Fork's towering silvery glory. Bob quipped simply, “Art, with tongue-in-cheek, lives in The Crown City.”
In addition to Friday's “Fork Raising” at Fork Plaza, there was more. Musician / Actor / “Official Singing Cowboy of Burbank” Will Ryan told the Guide that he had (somehow) procured a proclamation from the League of Nations (via time machine, no doubt) declaring last Friday as “International Fork Day.” Will and his band, The Cactus County Cowboys, played their CD release show that evening at Bob's music venue, the Coffee Gallery Backstage. If you brought with you and “showed your fork,” you got a discount admission to the concert. (And you thought the spoon was the most valuable piece of silverware.)
Another local musician, singer and former Denver Opera diva Christina Ortega, was there with her little dog, Grace. Christina wondered aloud if Grace would be inclined to do something that would allow her canine to become Fork Plaza's “First art critic.”
By that criteria, Grace seemed pleased.
Go visit the Fork's officially sanctioned home. Fork Plaza is the triangular park where St. John’s Place and Pasadena Avenue, uh, fork, and the plaza is bounded on the north by Bellefontaine. It's a few blocks west of Huntington Memorial Hospital and a mile southwest of Old Town in Pasadena. The Fork is again monumental and now central in the pleasant little park. Everything has been newly landscaped, though it needs benches to invite picnics. Photographers and those posing with The Fork (no doubt offering the Forkian Salute) now have plenty of room to visit or conduct Druidlike rituals, free of the need to risk life and limb in the street to get the best picture. Park on Bellefontaine where there's free street parking, and be mindful opening doors in the traffic.
It's The Great Fork, Charlie Brown, just in time for the pumpkins – and the Thanksgiving food drive...
We'll bring you info on the return of the Thanksgiving “Stick a Fork in Hunger” food drive for the needy, coming up at Fork Plaza. Already, the Forkians are vowing to set another record.
The Guide sees much in the ongoing tale of the Forkians that can inspire other artists. To all the visionaries everywhere who bring art to public spaces and who use the attention their art creates to draw and propel good things in their communities, May The Fork be with you.
Our # 4 Story
MUSIC GOT US TO THE MOON – WHERE MIGHT IT YET TAKE US?
The biggest and final Mars lander touches down in November. Is there meaning for Artists?
Get ready, because we're going to challenge you. The challenge is to write the next song that fires-up the popular imagination and gets us looking upward and outward again. We'll help all we can by sharing and disclosing some compelling notions and facts and ideas and “wow” factors as we go along.
Music propelled the dreams of the generation that took us to the Moon. In the time when those folks were the innovators and the movers and shakers of society, the vinyl records and airwaves were filled with “Moon songs” in all genres and heavenly musical images of romance and bliss. It helped create a mindset.
Music, for good or bad, inspires culture more than it reflects it. Doubt that? Then ask why, after an era of “gangsta rap,” TV is filled with “inside the prison” shows featuring processions of thugs? And why, when modern Nashville country music is all about dysfunctional relationships, are the divorce and domestic violence rates higher in regions where that music is dominant?
Where might music take us, if we write and perform songs to inspire a brighter, better future? Can our music, in our time, help us fulfill our destiny as a species? Can it help us, in the words of the poet, “Slip the surly bonds of Earth?”
It's been a long time since “Fly Me to the Moon” was a '60s hit song for Frank Sinatra. And it didn't come out of nowhere. There was plenty of groundwork before the proliferation of “Moon songs.” At the end of the 19th century, “Shine on Harvest Moon” was a hit on cylindrical wax records. In the '30s, the Ink Spots had a hit with “Paper Moon,” and the song returned as the title and title track of a '70s film. That handful of lunar-related tracks hardly scratches the surface.
Generations of kids grew up singing “Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the Moon.”
In the years immediately leading to the “space generation,” when the people who would become astronauts and those who would send them into space were all growing up, the charts were filled with homages to lunar themes: “Blue Moon,” “How High the Moon,” “Moonglow,” “Polka Dots and Moonbeams,” “Moon Over Miami,” “Moonlight in Vermont,” “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” and the huge hit, “Moon River,” were just some of them. Couples danced as the lyrics “Moonlight Becomes You” were sung over the band. Was music influential? Did it help create a new mind-set?
Search for “Moon songs” and you'll get thousands of web hits. Most of the best-known ones are, indeed, from the era when actually going there became a credible idea – including the time when President Kennedy challenged the nation in the early '60s, “before this decade is out,” to “land a man upon the Moon and return him safely to the Earth.”
Submitted for your approval: every one of those “Moon songs” prior to Apollo 11's 1969 landing – particularly those that were hits during the years just prior – made their own contribution to the popular imagination and propelled the idea of going. (Curiously, no hit song commemorated the event after it happened, though there was a rock band named Apollo 100.)
Whether you are willing to accept that the collective role of “Moon songs” leading to the Apollo landings was large or small, one thing is incontestable: music ALWAYS feeds the sensibilities and perceptions of its time, and helps define its era for future generations. Popular fascination ultimately becomes desire – and in the late '40s, '50s and '60s, music fed the desire to go to the Moon.
So, if music got us to the Moon, could it take us beyond? Could it get us to the planets? Can it inspire us to get past our self-absorbed misuse of unprecedented and ever-expanding technological capabilities, and inspire us to actually apply all that capability to DO something worthy of ourselves, of the legacy we have inherited, and of our true potential? Can music accelerate and fulfill our evolution?
Art and song were, for centuries, a product of exploration and the spirit of adventure. But somewhere, art was embraced by the high-brow humanities and divorced from discovery and exploration, and with them, from science as an exciting vector for going forth.
One result is that space exploration, for far too long, has been pitted against human needs as a budget priority.
These things should never have happened. We are complicated creatures, simultaneously nurturing and argumentative and competitive and confrontational and pugilistic. But we are ones who, by our most unique and deepest nature as a species, are creators of art AND explorers, creatures driven to see what's beyond the next hill and to test the next concept and to memorialize the discovery in shared images.
We are members of a species who must ask questions and who must seek and get answers. We must. It is an internal imperative. When we fail too heed it, we are unfulfilled. We are a tribe who must question the meaning and make sense of the answers we are given and those we find. We must continually inform our perceptions of all else we know with those new discoveries.
Without that, we do not advance; we stagnate and our civilizations fall.
We honor and romanticize idealized views of our past, even as we are driven to continually renew ourselves by supplanting yesterday's wisdom with today's questions and tomorrow's answers. And then to question all of it, all the more, always and continuously. And we must do these things not simply for ourselves but for others. We inform ourselves of who we are as we explore on behalf of others who stay behind; all are inspired by the ones who go. Let us hope the disconnection in our cynical time has not severed this forever, and that it can be restored. Like art, exploring achieves and informs the highest aspirations of the human spirit.
That's why thousands of years' worth of songs were written about great voyages and epic quests and the people who made them. It's time it all got back together again. It just might end the alienation that so many people feel toward this society. It might help complete us.
We should recognize that a lot was happening that enabled the fascination for going to the Moon, beyond the development of multistage rockets following their development as weapons in World War II. Indeed, the Space Race is often cited as the key contest of the Cold War.
But it transcended that. The fascination for going “out there”came from the culture, where art was, and is, a more important component than science. There were endless '50s and '60s science fiction movies and comic books about aliens and space travel. Heinlein and Asimov and Clarke were writing prolifically and their novels with space themes sold big.
...[click the link below to finish reading this feature. Below is an excerpt from farther on...]
Science has learned a lot, but needs to start dating culture again. We really only know enough to frame some big but rather basic questions, and more of us need to feel included in that. We already share one thing: we know enough to want to... experience and share with one another the most evolutionary step we could choose to take as a species.
Finish reading at the link below. This feature is available in full and by itself at
Our # 5 Story
“STAGECOACH” AND “COACHELLA” FESTIVALS GROW TO 3 DAYS IN 2012
“STAGECOACH” bills itself as “California's Country Music Festival,” and if you've read our features in past years, you know it includes stages with some of the best roots-Americana artists, too. Sure, they book the big Nashville acts who do that red-state-trailer-park-rock Nashville version of “country,” but you can avoid all that and hear top bluegrass and other roots musicians.
STAGECOACH came about because producers of the COACHELLA MUSIC FESTIVAL saw an opportunity. It's a very big to configure the sprawling grassy grounds of the Empire Polo Club in Indio into a festival site, and to secure lots of surrounding places for parking. COACHELLA is a huge rock-pop-contemporary music event. The idea was hatched that the site could stay up to host another festival the following weekend, and STAGECOACH was born.
In 2012, the STAGECOACH Festival marks its sixth year, and will expand to three days of music, running Friday, April 27 through Sunday, April 29.
As we always do, we list the Americana acts first and then mention the Nashville “Mane Stage” (that's how they spell it) headliners. So, we the ones who'll most tempt you to go are:
RALPH STANLEY & HIS CLINCH MOUNTAIN BOYS, STEVE MARTIN & THE STEEP CANYON RANGERS, KENNY ROGERS, THE JAYHAWKS, THE DEL McCOURY BAND, JD SOUTHER, CHRIS ISAAK, JD CROWE & THE NEW SOUTH, SARA WATKINS, SUNNY SWEENEY, DAVE ALVIN & THE GUILTY ONES, SARA EVANS, ELIZABETH COOK, OLD MAN MARKLEY, THE UNFORGIVEN, GREENSKY BLUEGRASS, JANEDEAR GIRLS, SPLIT LIP RAYFIELD, and THE MAVERICKS reunion, and maybe even by others yet to be announced. They always feature big time bluegrass stars and that's a major attraction for some of readers, so we'll keep you posted as they add acts.
The big Nashville acts this time are BRAD PAISLEY, MIRANDA LAMBERT, JASON ALDEAN, & BLAKE SHELTON.
More rootsy country acts are there, too, including MARTINA McBRIDE, ALABAMA, and THE BAND PERRY. And there are plenty that aren't all that Nashvillish, like JUSTIN MOORE, ELI YOUNG BAND, LUKE BRYAN, BRETT ELDREDGE, AARON LEWIS, and UNCLE MONK.
The Guide and all our writers who've been there have a love-hate relationship with STAGECOACH. We always celebrate the bookers' commitments to include top folk-Americana-roots music stars, and not limit it to Nashville country (most of us find the latter to be, well, cloying). But we must always rake the festival's production team over the coals for over-amplifying the Mane Stage to apocalyptic levels and blowing their hurricane of sound across the other two stages.
Things have gotten better. The first year, a stage with EMMYLOU HARRIS, WILLIE NELSON, and KRIS KRISTOPHERSON was placed entirely too close to the Mane Stage. We still have an image of Emmylou's set being assaulted by BROOKS & DUNN doing a hip-hop version of “Neon Moon.” That stage is now gone entirely, and the pair of roots-Americana stages are nearly half-a-mile away; they're far enough apart to avoid crosstalk with each other, close enough together to make going back and forth easy. Each of these two stages is under its own circus big-top tent, keeping everyone out of the sun. (The massive and too-loud Mane Stage complex, with its diamond vision screens, is open-air.)
Still, as recently as last year, once the Mane Stage begins (now, thankfully, not until evening) you feel a bit like Francis Scott Key experiencing the bombardment of Fort McHenry if you're trying to enjoy the fabulous talent at either of the two stages with all the good, non-Nashville music.
We have taken-to-task these Indio festivals in the past for charging exorbitant prices for bottled water and having no free water available anywhere, when the temperature can reach triple digits. (We called that “criminal” in our review of the first STAGECOACH.) In recent years, free water is available, though getting it last year required a long walk from the two roots music stages. The last couple of years, you could carry a small water bottle in with you, but only one. (Hint: take your own collapsible water bag, empty and flattened with your blanket and fold-up chairs, and use your small water bottle to fill it after you get inside.)
We DO recommend STAGECOACH. We've had good times the years we have attended, in spite of the drawbacks we cite. And we do credit them for improving their problems. The music, is of course, amazing, and may just be the best folk-Americana-roots music festival in California, certainly on par with “Hardly Strictly Bluegrass” in San Francisco – even if, at STAGECOACH, you may need to insert earplugs and sit close to the speaker tower at your stage, so you aren't annoyed by the Mane Stage after the sun goes down.
Tickets go on sale Friday, October 28 at 10 am (Pacific) at www.Stagecoachfestival.com
Three-day weekend passes start at a bargain price of $149, and they caution that's “for a limited time.” Children age 10 and under will be admitted free. Ticket layaway options are available (10% down and equal payments until the first week of February; all pass and camping options are available on layaway). The festival also offers reserved seating, camping and RV packages. A complete description is on their website. STAGECOACH is produced by Goldenvoice and The Messina Group.
Of course, we'll be bringing you more as they let us know about it.
Our # 6 Story
STRONG MOUNTAIN ROOTS / BLUEGRASS / NEWGRASS DOUBLE-BILL ON FRIDAY
Friday, October 28 at 8 pm, SUSIE GLAZE & THE HILONESOME BAND plus FUR DIXON & STEVE WERNER share the night at the Coffee Gallery Backstage in Altadena.
Sure, each of these acts plays locally, fairly often. But this is an exceptionally strong double-bill of top Southern Cal-based talent.
Folkworks Magazine named SUSIE & THE HILONESOME BAND among the “Top Ten Live Acoustic Bands in Southern California for 2008,” writing “Susie is justifiably endorsed by Appalachian music legend Jean Ritchie, and the band has a fine repertoire of beyond-bluegrass originals from its chief songwriter, Rob Carlson.”
“They can take you up in the hollars, or sound like a female-fronted Asleep at the Wheel," wrote Larry Wines in Folkworks.
It's fine new bluegrass and Appalachia folk-roots fusion, an experience of gorgeous eclectic blends of mountain folk and new bluegrass-inspired originals, all with the remarkable voice of Susie Glaze.
Winner of the Just Plain Folks 2006 Music Awards for Best Roots Album, and Folkworks Magazine's Pick for Best Bluegrass Album of 2005 for "Blue Eyed Darlin,'" Susie's Hilonesome Band is Steve Rankin on mandolin, Rob Carlson on guitar and dobro, Fred Sanders on bass and Mark Indictor on fiddle, showcasing the songwriting of lead guitarist Rob Carlson.
Their show features work from their critically-acclaimed "Green Kentucky Blues" CD produced by Laurie Lewis, award-winning "Blue Eyed Darlin'" along with mountain standards from the Jean Ritchie collection and favorites from Gillian Welch and Steve Earl. Marvin O'Dell of Classicheartland.com writes: "Susie Glaze does something with a song that only great singers can do...she grabs hold of a song's deepest emotion and purpose and wraps it tightly around your soul" and Bluegrass Unlimited calls her "an important voice on the California Bluegrass scene."
"Susie Glaze has one of the most beautiful voices in bluegrass and folk music today. She performs a song straight from her heart and soul." – Roz Larman, KPFK's FolkScene.
More at www.susieglaze.com
FUR DIXON AND STEVE WERNER have been musical partners now for eight years. They have combined their own unique songwriting visions of life, travel and the American West to create a landscape that is all their own. They have three albums together, including this year’s “Songs of the Open Road,” which celebrates the writing of Mary McCaslin, Jim Ringer, Doc and Merle Watson, Woody Guthrie Blaze Foley, Dan Janisch and Randall Lamb.
Fur and Steve’s original songs are catchy, fun and sometimes heartbreaking. In concert, they pay homage to well-worn old time songs. Their singing takes you on a ride down back roads under blue skies, amidst tumbleweeds and campfires.
“Fur and Steve are REAL treasures of modern Americana music. They write songs that are true classics of cowboy twang and feel-good road adventure.” – Susie Glaze, the Voice of Southern California Bluegrass.
“Fur and Steve make fantastic country-soaked folk songs about big highways, big heartbreak, the lure of home and the love of friends. It’s impossible not to be charmed.” – Lonesome Music, UK.
“Their rootsy folk and country duets are unbeatable, honest and true.” – Rootstime, Belgium.
“You’re listening to a masterful duet work with absolutely grade A material. Dixon and Werner have worked together for eight years touring and recording. All these nights on stage together show in their sense of warmth and comfort singing these songs.” – Southland Serenade.
More at www.furandsteve.com and www.reverbnation.com/furdixonandstevewerner
The 8 pm show is at the Coffee Gallery Backstage, 2029 N Lake Av, Altadena 92675; reservations, 626-798-6236. Tix, $20.
Our # 7 Story
YOU CAN STILL ADD YOUR COMMENT AT THE HUGE RESPONSE TO OUR FEATURE, “ARTISTS JOIN 'OCCUPY WALL STREET'...”
The Guide got in front of the “Occupy” movement early on, with an October 7 feature story on what it was about and how artists were taking part in New York's “Occupy Wall Street,” the then-new “Occupy Los Angeles,” and the quickly developing “Occupy” sites elsewhere. Our feature piece, “Artists Join 'OCCUPY WALL STREET' as Unemployment, Economy Worsen,” as it originally appeared, and with a GROWING NUMBER of intelligent, thoughtful comments by YOU, our readers, is available by itself (and where you can comment) at
MORE STUFF >>>>>>> Resources, etc
Our VENUE DIRECTORY
...with OVER 500 acoustic-music-friendly venues in Southern California, is available at
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:
“Artists Join 'Occupy Wall Street'...,” The Guide's October 7 feature story and your comments to it, is available at
October 14 edition is available at
and the stories are:
1) Festivals & Semi-Annual “Art Night” in Pasadena this Weekend
2) Blues Bands Perform in International Finals, Saturday in Arcadia
3) May the Fork Be with You – “Ride-the-Fork” Music Party Saturday, Raise “The Fork
in the Road” next Friday, at Altadena & Pasadena Events
4) West Valley Music Launches Concert Season Saturday with Performing Songwriters &
Touring Artists JAMES HURLEY, LISA NEMZO, RASPIN STUWART
5) SONGSALIVE! Hosts Annual Music Picnic this Sunday
6) JUDY COLLINS and AMERICA to headline GRAMMY Museum in early November
7) October at GRAMMY Museum Bringing Live Music, Big Names, Substance
8) “SQUEAKY WHEEL TOUR” Live Acoustic Show, to Help Bring Home Missing People,
Monday, October 17 in West L.A.
9) TIM GRIMM, musician / actor / top folk-Americana Music Award-Winner, plus
THE SWEET POTATOES, play Wednesday, October 19 in Altadena
10) Whoa! More on WILL RYAN & THE CACTUS COUNTY COWBOYS –
CD release October 21 at “International Fork Day” Concert
11) TOM RUSSELL “Mesabi Tour of the West” in L.A. for Two Shows, October 22
12) ALEX BEATON, Musician Paralyzed in Accident, Regaining Movement
13) HUGE RESPONSE to last week's feature, “Artists Join 'OCCUPY WALL STREET'
as Unemployment, Economy Worsen,” and how YOU can respond
October 7 edition is available at
and the stories are:
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
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!
Questions? Comments? Contact us through our Blogspot site or by email at
tied to the tracks (at) Hotmail (dot) com
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YES, we invite you to add YOUR comments!
You can always find the LATEST EDITION of THE ACOUSTIC AMERICANA MUSIC GUIDE, with separate links for:
1) the latest NEWS FEATURES, with feature stories / reviews / editorials / current acoustic music happenings / "heads up" notices to buy advance tickets for shows likely to sell-out / news you can't find anywhere else from and about the world of acoustic and Americana music and artists;
2) the latest SPOTLIGHT EVENTS section, with new and updated info on festivals / artist workshops / schedules and calendars for concerts, club gigs, live music happenings, acoustic & Americana music-related events / and more;
3) The Guide's VENUE DIRECTORY of over 500 acoustic music-friendly venues in Southern California – the places TO HEAR MUSIC, or CONTACT TO GET GIGS.
It's all available 24/7 (& frequently updated!) at ~
www.acousticmusic.net or at
- or follow any of the links in the fifteen web sites and web groups that carry the Guide’s weekly News Features.
Entire contents copyright (c) 2011, Lawrence Wines & Tied to the Tracks. All rights reserved.