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Thursday, January 22, 2015



We appreciate you, our readers, for your QUARTER-MILLION PAGE-VIEWS per year.

Welcome to our new readers and, a BIG welcome back to our stalwarts. A complete Table of Contents is just below. You’ll need it for this hefty edition.

Quick note: This is the Guide’s first major NEWS edition of 2015. Some of the news features herein include dates of upcoming performances by the artists or bands profiled in the stories. But this edition is NOT an “Events” issue with an annotated calendar, though some especially exciting upcoming concerts, festivals, and other events are featured in our TICKET ALERTS in the last section. Otherwise, this edition is all about MUSIC NEWS, and it’s not inclusive of a calendar.

Now make sure your guitar strap is fastened tight, and hold on. There are great big enormous truckloads of Acoustic and Americana and music industry news. And, by golly, n’ hoot mon, an’ ohhh yeah, some of the features are themselves rather enormous in import. So let’s get started!

(the short answer? A LOT!)

♪ 1.0 Music industry insider…
1.1 Gibson at NAMM is “Not Your Daddy’s Gibson!” by Ted Drozdowski
1.2 2015 “She Rocks Awards” ~ A NAMM Event You Can Attend Without a Badge
1.3 Quickie Music Statistic ~ A Point for Thought
1.4 “Socially Responsible Streaming” ~ A New Distribution Paradigm?
1.5 L.A. Music Center’s Music Education / Student Participation

♪ 2.0 Hands-on the strings ‘n things…
2.1 Ever-Vibrant Florida Folkie Annie Wenz on How to Be an effective side player: “Percussion 101” ~ by Annie Wenz
2.2 Fiddle Players: Notable Events January 24th and in April, by Debbie Berry

♪ 3.0 Best freebies…
3.1 Free Lesson from "The Singing Zone," Online
3.2 Freebies, Celtic, Roots Music, Happy Surprises from the Air Force Band ~ in which band members share news of their multifaceted ensembles’ free music downloads

♪ 4.0 Tales from the road…
4.1 Yes, it Was HIM, but Was He Seated at Table Nine?
4.2 Dave Stamey’s Tale of “A Wedding in Lavina”

♪ 5.0 Publications…
5.1 “Zen and the Art of Recording,” Book and E-Book, New from Hal Leonard

♪ 6.0 Inspirations…
6.1 Limited Edition “Ringo: Peace & Love” Street Banner Set for Your Wall

♪ 7.0 Awards, accolades, honors…
7.1 Levitt Pavilions, Nationwide Free Concert Presenters, Announce $250k Grant Winners
7.2 The Roys Win their 4th Consecutive “Bluegrass Artist of the Year” Award
7.3 Will Goofy Accolades Add to Your Cachet?
7.4 57th Annual Grammy Awards Nominees now Online

♪ 8.0 In the Studio or on the Charts…
8.1 Lonesome River Band's New "Turn On A Dime" Contains Number 1 Single

♪ 9.0 Previews & Reviews…
9.1 Folk Star Guests Shine on “Nell Robinson & The Rose of No-Man’s Land,” CD Produced by Joe Henry ~ by Kim Fowler
9.2 Notable Co-Writes on Americana Album from Irishman Ben Glover ~ by Debbie Berry
9.3 Singer, Songwriter, Composer, Violinist, Humanitarian: Lili Haydn’s New “Lili Land” Album, Out Now ~ by Debbie Berry
9.4 Vegas Guitar & Uplifting Music Phenom Patrick Sieben’s Debut Album, “Under the Neon Light,” Due Feb. 24 on District 7 Records
9.5 Ashley Lian’s Indie EP Release, “Dear”
9.6 Adam Hood’s “Welcome to the Big World” Is Storyteller Folk Meets Roadhouse Honky-Tonk, Texas Style ~ by Lyndie Wenner

♪ 10.0 New Indie Releases: Quickie Notes
Just the facts, ma’am: eight new albums, short ‘n sweet

♪ 11.0 Music in film…
11.1 Motion Picture Academy Blows it for Silent Film History Buffs

♪ 12.0 Profiles: artists & bands…
12.1 Lisa Haley & the Zydekats Mark 20 Years as a Band

♪ 13.0 In the Venues…
13.1 McCabe’s New Concert Season

♪ 14.0 Ticket Alerts

♪ 15.0 Parting Thoughts


…Let’s get started!

♪ 1.0 Music industry insider…


By Ted Drozdowski

It’s interesting to see words from one arena applied to another. But in art, we expect it. So, when Gibson launched a new campaign with the opening sentence, “Evolution is defined as the gradual development of something into a more complex form,” it got us interested. And, heading into the annual NAMM show, every manufacturer wants to do that.

Their new message, in time for NAMM, is that today’s Gibson has evolved from the guitar maker of your father’s generation to a broadly-based company that caters not only to musicians — with its famous line of namesake guitars, plus Epiphone, Kramer, Steinberger and other brands, and Baldwin keyboards, and Slingerland drums, and more — now they have grown to cater to audiophiles, DJs, and live and studio audio engineers. Welcome to mega-merged music instrument makers.

“We’re not just a guitar company anymore,” Henry Juszkiewicz, CEO and chairman of Gibson Brands, told Billboard recently. He added, “We're a music company with a lot of different assets, many of which are in the consumer and pro electronics field. We’ve had in excess of a 30-percent annual growth rate since 1986, and acquisitions, because they were so sizable, are the majority of our growth at this point. But we continue to expand our core business.”

Juszkiewicz says, outlining the new Gibson’s reach and scope, “We have something like 27 offices with thousands of people in various countries. As an example, we have 100 people in Russia, and that's a fairly big market for us. About a third of our revenue is in BRIC countries [Brazil, Russia, India and China]. We have 20-percent of our revenue in South America. Through the Philips home-entertainment acquisition, we’re one of the top-five brands selling consumer electronics in China.”

With so many instruments, especially acoustic string instruments, coming to the US from Chinese manufacturers, it may surprise you that Gibson sells its guitars in China.

“And we do very well with guitars. We've been in China almost 10 years selling musical instruments,” he added.

You’ll be reading more about Gibson’s pro and home audio / video companies and their products — and, of course, plenty more about Gibson guitars — if you attend NAMM. Meanwhile, here’s a quick look at four of the most prominent players under the Gibson Brands umbrella:

• Stanton: The Stanton Group was acquired by Gibson in 2011, bringing the Stanton, KRK Systems and Cerwin-Vega brands — all owned by the Stanton Group at the time — under the Gibson umbrella. Walter O. Stanton, the inventor of the easily replaceable phonograph stylus, established Stanton in 1946. Today Stanton is a leading name in cutting-edge DJ equipment, offering everything from specially tailored headphones to turntables to CD players to digital media players to all-in-one complete DJ systems to mixers to accessories for all of the above — including cartridges, slip pads, vinyl cleaners and DJ bags.

• KRK: Since 1986, KRK Systems has been a leader in reliable and accurate monitoring for studio control rooms, from headphones to powered and unpowered speakers and subwoofers. The company was founded by Hollywood sound guru Keith Klawitter, a veteran movie sound engineer who was so frustrated by the inaccuracy and lack of clarity in monitors that he began making his own. Gibson signature model guitarist Johnny A is among the many endorsers of KRK gear.

• Cerwin-Vega: Cerwin-Vega is the veteran of Gibson’s pro audio line-up, established in 1954. The company specializes in loudspeakers for the home and professional market, and is a leader in the field of live music club and DJ house sound. Besides speakers, mixers, power amps and monitors, Cerwin-Vega offers consumer home theater and audiophile products in the more than 70 countries its product reach.

• TEAC: Les Paul is the father of multi-track recording, so given the Gibson Brands connection it’s only fitting that TEAC pioneered affordable multi-track recording for musicians in the 70s. Their Oscar- and Emmy-winning TASCAM division continues to innovate in pro audio as a leader in handheld recorders, audio-for-video, and recording products. On the consumer front, TEAC’s Esoteric line is respected world-wide for excellence in audio reproduction.

• Cakewalk: Established in 1987, Cakewalk is a leader in the field of music software for the Windows and Macintosh platforms. Their award-winning digital audio workstations and innovative virtual instruments are used by millions of musicians worldwide—including Grammy and Emmy-winning producers, composers, sound designers, and engineers—to produce audio for the music, film, broadcast, and video game industries.

• Onkyo: Complete home audio and cinema systems as well as components are Onkyo’s specialty. The company was founded in 1946 and today makes everything from receivers to Blu-Ray players to headphones to power amps to Bluetooth speaker systems and the award-winning EnvisionCinema movie sound system— essentially all things essential to maximize the home entertainment experience.

So, as you peruse the exhibit floors at NAMM, you may be seeing Gibson in many places you would not have expected.

More at 800-4GIBSON and at



First, if you attend this or any other NAMM-related event and you are NOT a badged participant at the NAMM Show, you MUST park someplace else. You must. We suggest the Amtrak lot at Anaheim Stadium, and ride the OC Transit bus; it’s all on Katella, and it drops you off right at the Anaheim Convention Center. Seriously: you cannot park at the NAMM Show or the hideously expensive hotel lots; all are needed by NAMM Show exhibitors, buyers, and other badged attendees.

The 2015 “SHE ROCKS AWARDS” are an annual performance and awards event presented and produced by The Women's International Music Network. Additional sponsors include L.A.-based LAWIM (Los Angeles Women in Music).

The 2015 She Rocks Awards happen January 23, 6–8:30 pm, at the massive annual NAMM Show, in the Anaheim Hilton Hotel’s Pacific Ballroom. The event features appearances and performances by COLBIE CAILLAT, THE BANGLES, MINDI ABAIR, and ORIANTHI.

Tickets are now on sale. Men are welcome, too. We reported in the Jan. 16 edition on discount tickets, but the offer is now expired. For info on tickets, go to:

A portion of proceeds benefit the Girls Rock Camp Alliance, empowering girls through music education.

Gearing up for its third consecutive year, the She Rocks Awards pays tribute to women who display leadership and stand out within the music industry, and has become a standard at the NAMM Show. Previous award recipients include female industry leaders SHEILA E, ORIANTHI, DINAH GRETSCH, JANIE L. HENDRIX, MARY PEAVEY, and more. All previous She Rocks Award winners are on the organization’s website, at

With featured performances, hors d’oeuvres and beverages, giveaways, a silent auction, networking opportunities and more, the She Rocks Awards brings together industry professionals, music icons, artists, fans and media to celebrate women in music. This year’s event is co-hosted by platinum-selling guitar phenomenon ORIANTHI.

Check out a recap of last year’s event at:



23.6 million. That's the number of followers the "most-followed person on Instagram" has.

Who? Justin Bieber. Obviously, “Big Music” is not about music with any depth, or finely crafted compositions with creatively integrated harmony, melody, and rhythm.

And we will offer a key reason why: in the absence of music education in public schools, 13-year-olds have no concept what music is, what it can be, what it should be from someone who seeks to make a living from it, and what it must be to endure and inspire three generations from now. But that’s not Big Music’s business model, is it? Nope. Big Music = Big Bucks based on overexposure of the intentionally disposable.

Meanwhile, Bieber himself pursues additional ways to sustain a counterfeit career of image without ever developing musical substance. There was last year’s media-hyped spoiled-brat foolishness with a monkey at an airport. Now he’s in an underwear commercial, looking like he was suddenly sheep-dipped at the tattoo parlor; he plays a drum riff, if you can call it that. A miniscule, simple and terribly sloppy first-lesson beginner’s drum riff. Then, in his close-up, seems to say, “My accountant,” as misheard by tv “entertainment” anchor Sam Rubin. Understandably misheard, Sam.

Which occasions a point ~ Hey, Sam: why don’t you report on people Bieber’s age who are playing their fingers to the bone to become accomplished musicians at Julliard, and Berklee, and Colburn, and Musicians Institute? Yeah, we know. “Entertainment” journalism is all about what boneheaded celebrity is misbehaving on the elevator security cam and how salacious and titillating some two-bit reality tv “actor’s” divorce is. If only the meaning and spirit and SUBSTANCE of “making a name for oneself in entertainment” could be reclaimed. Like when the word was used in “That’s Entertainment;” when anyone who wanted to be taken seriously in the performing arts had to study and learn and work-at and hone their craft.

But no. We collectively endured the results round-one of an era without universal music education in public schools, and we got indigestion noises to accompany rap. In round-two, we’re getting electrocution electronica that could be a nervous cat walking on the synthesizer keyboard. In a very real sense, austerity gave you Justin Bieber and his inept underwear drum riff.



We recently read a social media post that began, “I think we all agree we have a problem in the music business. Thank you for showing you care by liking Socially Responsible Streaming.”

Some readers will remember nu-folk / acoustic renaissance artist Raina Rose, who performed several times on the old “Tied to the Tracks” radio show. She is now a “Standing ‘O’” featured artist. It seems she has received $7.33 for over 70,000 plays on Pandora.

James Lee Stanley, well-known in Southern California acoustic circles, reported that his online quarterly revenue dropped from $1,500 to $150 because of the shift from downloading to streaming.

Rosanne Cash testified before congress that she received a mere $114 for over 600,000 plays on Spotify.

A new organization, “Standing ‘O,’” is declaring, “It’s high time we do something about it.” Quoting Buckminster Fuller, they assert, “In order to change an existing paradigm you do not struggle to try and change the problematic model. You create a new model and make the old one obsolete.”

They have created a business model that they say treats artists fairly. Standing “O” describes itself as, “a grassroots movement that’s changing the way fans and musicians interact and support each other, a community of musicians and music lovers that offers a fun and intimate experience when exploring music online and actually helps artists earn a living.”

They are currently recruiting active members for the Standing “O” Project. Check them out at:

They are currently offering 10 days free, with “no card required.”



It’s always good to see how professional presenters do things. Whether or not business models are scalable, whether or not you think you can bring a little live music to your neighborhood public school, a little exploration can lead to connections, and ideas can bring “ah-hah!” moments.

With the release of its “2014 REPORT TO STAKEHOLDERS,” the iconic Music Center complex declares, “2014 was a very productive year for Music Center Education programs with a nine-percent (9%) growth in overall participation. The 3,716 instructional hours we provided in its 2014 Fiscal Year (FY14) are the equivalent of over three years of school attendance – three years of arts education! Fun facts and figures, pictures of our remarkable students, quotes from amazed parents and teachers are available as a flipbook, a pdf, or downloadable one-sheets on specific programs.”

To get the report and view the webpage, go to:

♪ 2.0 Hands-on the strings ‘n things…


A comment Annie received when she first wrote this captures why we want to share it:

“…these same principles seem to apply to being a good sideman (or side-woman, as the case may be), whether on percussion, guitar, harmonica or anything else.... lock in, pay attention, leave space for others and never try to do too much... well done!” – Lawrence Meredith.

By Annie Wenz

I’ll call this “Percussion 101.” Folks – particularly non musicians and students – ask what I do when I perform with someone as a percussionist. I’ve been playing percussion for 20+ years and I’m proud to say I've studied & had the honor of playing with some of the best in the world, so I get, well, weird, when people think:

1) Anyone can spank a drum, and very little training / practice goes into it.

2) If you don’t have testicles you can’t REALLY be a REAL percussionist.

Really, I wish I had a dollar for all of the times the automatic assumption was, that the guy, was of course, the most experienced drummer, and the guy got the gig, no matter what. Once, while setting-up my drums on stage at a major music fest, the sound person asked who I was carrying drums on stage for!

That being said...

When I'm asked in advance, I first listen and make notes, and sometimes a chart, as to where my kick, snare, brushes, shaker and / or whatever parts hit. I play along and practice over and over ’til I’M happy. And then I practice more.

When I’m "house drummer" for a festival like Falcon Ridge, or if someone asks me to sit in, and I don’t know the song, I ask the artist to cue me with bigtime hi-de-ho on stops and outro, usually raising the neck of their guitar, sometimes visually.

If they give me a short advance count and say they want me “in” from the start, then we go for it! Otherwise, I often sit back and listen to the first verse and then come-in on the chorus or second verse. That gives everything time to build.

If I’m the primary percussionist, it’s not about me doing anything fancy or busy. My job is to hold down the groove and support and make room for the song.

This is a good place to say, “Less is more!” I've been known to just use a simple soft texture, like a brush on my boot or ankle shaker – with a kick – for a ballad.

I glue my eyeballs to the artist's strumming hand or tapping foot or hips or rocking body the minute I ascertain what part of their body is “on the money.” There are some folks who are way off with their feet, so following a foot that's tapping off-beat is a train crash. If the person doesn't have great rhythm, it’s up to me to try to rein them in – but not to the point of me doing or forcing the groove. Sometimes, I have to subtly split the difference.

If I’m playing with a kit drummer who's holding-down the primary groove (the typical situation), I watch them like a hawk for cues, and I play only what seems to punctuate / add to what they're doing. Sometimes, it’s just a subtle texture in a “hole” between what they're doing.

I listen to lyrics because sometimes what I play can punctuate the lyrics subtly.

I make sure not to make any bodacious “look at me look at me!” moves. I'm the support, and it's not about people watching ME.

Last of all: After all of the above, I make sure that I’m relaxed. I let myself feel the music. I lock in and I breathe and have fun! And, okay, I make believe I'm Bobby Kallus & Eric Puente & Cheryl Prashker & Jose Gonzalez.

After telling you about it, let me show you. Here was one of the SUPER FUN ONES, in which Peter Himmelman leads a conga line! v=wLl1QTzaCtg



By Debbie Berry

This Saturday, January 24, brings a WORKSHOP, in San Diego, from 1-4 pm. "FIDDLE WORKSHOP WITH CHARLIE WALDEN" is "a special workshop offered by and for old-time fiddlers in the San Diego area, followed by a jam and refreshments."

Charlie Walden is a master old-time fiddler and the leading Missouri-fiddle-stylist of his generation.

Registration is $20-$30.

Details, location, registration, etc, at:

Coming this spring…

April 8 - 12, 2015
Annual "JULIAN FAMILY FIDDLE CAMP" with classes and more in Fiddle, Mandolin, Guitar, & Banjo, happens in the mountains of E San Diego Co. Contact the Julian Family Fiddle Camp at 760-522-8458;

An early decision to attend may be rewarded by a five-to-ten-percent early-payment discount. The Julian Family Fiddle Camp lasts five days, and those who have attended will tell you that the tunes, skills, friendships and memories last a lifetime.

♪ 3.0 Best freebies…


Here's a video to watch that could help improve your singing voice. It's a commercial site, but this one's free:



First, don’t think of a spit-and-polish military marching band playing Sousa and “shipping over” music. These days, the US military services break their big bands into specialty ensembles. And they are so good they get festival bookings, playing Irish music, blues, bluegrass, jazz, and more. Plus, your tax dollars that support all that military spending give you back a dividend in the form of free music downloads. Here’s a look at some of what they do, as told by band members, and the music that’s available free.

by Senior Master Sgt. Bob Kamholz

Washington, D.C. -- Disguised as a special holiday kick-off event, The U.S. Air Force Band surprised the visitors of the Smithsonian's newest and largest museum, the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center adjacent to Dulles International Airport in Chantilly, Virginia. What was the surprise? Well, the band presented its latest innovative “flash mob” performance there on Tuesday, December 2.

They have a flair for this. Band members enter from every conceivable direction, clad in overcoats or attire that disguises their membership in the band, and instruments are sneaked or smuggled to each performer just at the moment he or she needs to play. Google it. You’ll find several years’ examples.


New Recordings Available, Including Free Downloads

by Technical Sgt. Mandi Harper

Washington, D.C. -- The U.S. Air Force Band ensembles have more than 50 recordings available, free for download, on the website. The most recent additions feature the CONCERT BAND, SINGING SERGEANTS, and CELTIC AIRE. Future releases include the AIRMEN OF NOTE and various chamber ensembles from the CONCERT BAND.

The CONCERT BAND's "Departures" was inspired by the men and women in the United States Air Force who voluntarily "depart" from their family and friends to locations across the globe to protect to serve in uniform. This recording demonstrates the heritage and ingenuity of our Airmen through music. The printed CD includes 13 stirring tracks, and the online version has three bonus tracks from the “Ender's Game Suite.”

CELTIC AIRE, the premier Celtic and folk ensemble of the Air Force, is presenting its first full-length album, titled, "As I Roved Out." Some of the tracks have been available for several months, but five additional tracks completed the recording in December. In traditional Irish folk music, the phrase "as I roved out" is the musical equivalent of "once upon a time." The recording's title track tells the story of a traveling man who fancies a young maiden. As the rogue travels on, he tells her he'll return "when broken shells make Christmas bells." Meaning never!

Coming soon is something that celebrates tradition. Way back in 1990, the AIRMEN OF NOTE started its popular Jazz Heritage Series (JHS), joining forces with internationally-acclaimed jazz artists. At the beginning of every JHS concert, the Note performs a few solo selections. The Note's newest recording "Openers!" represents the best of these selections and showcases the Air Force's high level of professionalism. Additionally, jazz fans worldwide can listen to past JHS programs in the broadcast archives:

You can enjoy these recordings and more at the Band's home page. To download mp3s from our website, right-click on a track and choose "Save Link/Target As." You will need to rename the track to keep the song title.

♪ 4.0 Tales from the road…


Some people would attribute it to putting the energy of a song out into the universe. At least in California. But then, this happened in California.

Musicians EARL GREY and LISA JOHNSON sent a message from a restaurant in Rancho Cordova, California, that read:

"WOW!!! Lisa noticed that MERLE HAGGARD was sitting in the booth next to us! I did not try to get his photo/autograph - he was enjoying his breakfast."

One comment came promptly. That read: “It's your karma. Either that, or all of you were hungry at the same time.”

Now, the tale is much more meaningful if you are familiar with L.A.-based folk singer-songwriter TRACY NEWMAN, and her song, “The Man at Table Nine.” Told from the perspective of a young waitress, it’s about – wait for it – meeting Merle Haggard in a restaurant, and it’s a tale with a certain twist. The song is a lot of fun. Here’s the video:



Performing songwriter DAVE STAMEY holds every top award and honor that can be bestowed on an individual performer and songwriter in the world of Western music. He wrote the following this past autumn.

“John says, ‘It was an easy decision for me. I looked around and figured the best use of my skills was to be here, on this ranch, following a bunch of sheep around.’

“He’s a big, smiling man, with a big sandy mustache and big hands. We are seated at a table at his son’s wedding reception in Golden Valley County, Montana, where I have been hired to play some music. John uses one of those big hands to gesture toward his own father, Bill, the 92-year-old patriarch of the Lehfeldt Ranch, who is seated at the far end of the table.

“ ‘Dad, there, he’s the same way. He flew bombers in World War Two, and had the chance to go to work for the airlines afterwards, flying those big planes. But, naw, he couldn’t get back here fast enough.’

“John is fifth generation Montanan, fifth generation rancher. Sheep. Lots of sheep. He runs 2400 ewes and 400 mother cows on mostly deeded ground. His son, Eric, and Eric’s new wife Jaime, plan to make their home on the ranch and continue the tradition, which stretches back to the 1880s when great-great-grandad first settled in this valley. I feel there is something profound in having that kind of connection with a piece of geography, and I tell him so. He smiles.

“ ‘It’s being married to the ground, that’s how I look at it. But it’ll be different for Eric and Jaime. They’re going to have to make some decisions down the line that won’t be so easy. It’s a different world.’

“I don’t usually play weddings. People want to dance at weddings, and I’m a solo performer, just a guy and a guitar – a singing storyteller, not a dance band. But the new bride insisted, it was what she wanted, please come, and it would fold-in nicely with a short tour I had booked through Montana into eastern Washington, so here I was. And I was glad.

“Lavina, Montana has a population of maybe 150 people. The wedding has drawn over 300. It is being held at the Slayton Mercantile, a beautifully restored brick and stone building dating from 1910 with the original hardwood floors underfoot and the tall rolling ladders still on their tracks for reaching stuff on the high shelves. There is a cable contraption still in place that was used to send cash up to the bookkeeper’s desk on the second floor.

“Every ranching family for miles and miles around has shown up, some in brushed Stetsons and sports coats, some in scotch caps and Carhart jackets, the women in dresses, or slacks, or jeans and boots. Lined, windburned faces, rough hands. Big smiles. There is an open bar, with two kinds of wine, but there’s not a lot of call for wine. These folks drink whiskey. Pendleton. Black Velvet. Instead of flower petals, aspen leaves were scattered across the floor for the bride to walk upon.

“Fall, in Montana.

“Pablo, one of the herders who has come up from Mexico to work for the Lehfeldts every season for over twenty years, got up during the ceremony and gave a prayer in Spanish, standing in front of the microphone with his hat in his hands. One of the groomsmen translated. The prayer was elegant and touching, and showed the regard and affection in which Pablo holds this family.

“Two of the groomsmen are from New Zealand, and have been coming here quite a while for the shearing — or, as one puts it, ‘De-fluffing the little animals.’

“There are couches along the back wall, and toddlers jumped up and down on them and squealed and laughed all through the ceremony. Nobody minded. Now, after the wedding vows and before the music starts, the entire 300 of us are enjoying the wedding supper: lamb and potatoes and beef, all from the ranch.

“ ‘It’s not about the work,’ John says. ‘There’s all kinds of other pressures that weren’t there before, weren’t there when I was starting out.’

“He reveals that there is an outfit, a big one, that has approached them several times with offers to buy the ranch, just for summer range. The dollar amounts they offered were startling. ‘I can’t tell them what to do when that happens. It’s going to be up to them, one of these days. It ain’t so easy to turn your back as people may think. It’ll be their choice, and it won’t be an easy one. Not an easy one at all.’

“To those of us who tend to romanticize the ranching culture, choosing to turn-down such offers may seem easy. Stay on the land, no matter what. Be true to your roots, to the traditions laid down by those five previous generations. But what if your kids grow up and move away and have no interest in these things? What if, all of a sudden, you wake up and you’re fifty-five, or sixty-five, or seventy, and your body isn’t working the way it used to, the winters seem harder, and longer, and your wife is still pulling the baler around. Is it as easy to say ‘no’ when you realize by saying ‘yes’ you can give her an easier life, and have your grandchildren’s college education paid for years ahead of the game?

“Could you say no? Really?”

More on Dave Stamey, his many top awards for his original music, how to get his CDs, and where he’ll turn up next, at:

♪ 5.0 Publications…


Well, “Mixerman has done It again!” ~ Ron Saint Germain, a producer and engineer with over 300 million in sales…

Hal Leonard publishes “Zen and the Art of Recording,” the third installment in Mixerman's "Art Of" series of books. The entire Mixerman series is now available in both e-Book format with video content and in print format.

Hal Leonard Books has long been known as a musician's best source of books on the music business, audio technology, instrument history, and more, has published Zen and the Art of Recording. The entire series, which also includes “Zen and the Art of Producing,” “Zen and the Art of Mixing,” and “The Daily Adventures of Mixerman.”

In “Zen and the Art of Recording,” Mixerman distills the inescapable technical realities of recording down to understandable and practical terms. Whether musician or self-taught recordist, whether at home or in a full-blown studio complex, you'll discover a definitive blueprint for recording within the current realities of the business, without ever losing focus on the core consideration - the music itself. As Mixerman writes: "The moment you start to think in musical terms, your recordings will improve a hundredfold."

"Mixerman has done it again," says Ron Saint Germain, a producer and engineer with over 300 million in sales that includes U2, Whitney Houston, 311, and more. Ron adds, "With his signature humorous and entertaining style, he imparts a world of invaluable information for the aspiring recordist and musician in an easy to absorb (not overly technical) common sense manner."

"’Zen and the Art of Recording’ describes an approach rather than a recipe," adds Bob Olhsson, who has worked with Stevie Wonder, Jackson Five, Marvin Gaye among others. "This is important because in the real world nothing works the same way every time. This is an excellent overview of the issues to be considered along with a broad variety of proven techniques for addressing them."

With an engaging narrative infused with his signature style, Mixerman provides personal lessons to musicians, engineers, songwriters, DJs, studio owners, and anyone else who wants an insider's look at how records are made..

“Zen and the Art of Recording” sells for $24.99 (US); it’s inventory # HL 00127033, and for ordering at your bookstore, ISBN is 9781480387430. Its width is 5.5," length is 7.5." 291 pages.

Complete info at:

♪ 6.0 Inspirations…


Be one of the few to own a pair of limited edition, double-sided street banners as they actually appeared during their time on display on light poles around Los Angeles from “Ringo: Peace & Love.” Each banner set features the iconic photography of John Wright.

Info at 213-765-6803 or go to

♪ 7.0 Awards, accolades, honors…


Levitt Pavilions — the national nonprofit behind the largest free concert series in America — is known to Los Angeles area residents for its two venues, both rehabilitations of formerly underused and deteriorating outdoor music stages. One is in L.A.’s MacArthur Park, the other in Pasadena’s Memorial Park. Levitt is a national nonprofit organization that exists to strengthen the social fabric of America. Levitt partners with cities to transform neglected public spaces into welcoming destinations where the power of free, live music brings people together and invigorates community life.

In December, Levitt Pavilions and the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation awarded $250,000 in matching funds of $25,000 each to ten nonprofits serving small to mid-sized cities across America. The grant awards are specifically to enable production of free outdoor concerts. It’s all part of the first-ever “Levitt AMP [Your City] Grant Awards.” In an effort to inspire and engage communities across the country around the power of what Levitt calls, “Creative Placemaking,” Levitt opened the selection process to the public to choose the Top 20 Finalists.

Last July, Levitt Pavilions invited applicants of two types, nonprofits and municipalities partnering with a nonprofit, to submit project proposals that would reflect the three goals of the Levitt AMP awards: Amplify community pride and the city’s unique character; enrich lives through the power of free, live music; and illustrate the importance of vibrant public places.

The public voted on the proposals over a four-week period in November, selecting their favorite projects online at the Levitt Pavilions website.

Sharon Yazowski, Executive Director of Levitt Pavilions, explained, “Each [applicant] made a compelling case for how the Levitt AMP Music Series will activate a public space and strengthen the social and economic fibers of their communities. We’re incredibly excited to partner with each of the 10 winners and ensure their Levitt AMP Music Series is a success.”

The ten winners span the country. Some are historic small towns – Cleveland, MS; Middlesboro, KY; Sheboygan, WI; and Denison, TX; and some are mid-sized cities – Anchorage, AK; Trenton, NJ; Bellingham, WA; Charlottesville, VA; Lafayette, LA; and Frederick, MD. Each winner will present ten free concerts featuring a diverse lineup of high-caliber entertainment in 2015 as part of the Levitt AMP Music Series, for a total of 100 Levitt AMP concerts enabled by these ten grants.

In Bellingham, WA, the Downtown Bellingham Partnership will present the Levitt AMP [Bellingham] Music Series in two locations, at the underused Maritime Heritage Park and on Bay Street, expanding upon their efforts to use the arts to revitalize and improve their downtown.

Charlottesville, VA;s radio station WTJU will enliven IX Art Park, the recently launched public art park in the heart of Charlottesville's Strategic Investment District near the University of Virginia, bringing together the city’s diverse populations and enriching community life through the Levitt AMP [Charlottesville] Music Series.

In Cleveland, MS, Delta State University Foundation will present the Levitt AMP [Cleveland] Music Series to invigorate the underutilized Green Space on the Crosstie Walking Trail at College Street, honoring the Delta’s rich musical legacy in conjunction with the historic launch of the GRAMMY Museum Mississippi.

Denison, TX will see Denison Main Street Inc. strengthen its city’s social and economic vitality by expanding the much loved Music on Main concert series in Heritage Park, a centrally located series that celebrates inclusivity, engagement and accessibility through music, to become the Levitt AMP [Denison] Music Series.

In the suburban Washington, D.C. community of Frederick, MD, the Downtown Frederick Partnership will present the Levitt AMP [Frederick] Music Series to activate the underused Carroll Creek Park Amphitheater and celebrate local culture, providing residents with a place to gather and enjoy a diverse mix of talented emerging artists.

The deep South is included, too. In Lafayette, LA, the Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority will bring new life to The Park at the Horse Farm with the Levitt AMP [Lafayette] Music Series, reinvigorating this beloved undeveloped piece of Cajun Country recently saved from commercial development by a community-wide effort.

Middlesboro, KY’s Discover Downtown Middlesboro will transform a centrally located vacant gravel lot on Cumberland Avenue into a gathering space, using the Levitt AMP [Middlesboro] Music Series to bring residents together and augment the city’s community-driven revitalization of downtown.

Way up north in Sheboygan, WI, the John Michael Kohler Arts Center will bring life to a new public space on the site of a former Boston Store, using the Levitt AMP [Sheboygan] Music Series to bring diverse audiences together and create a vibrant, public space in the city’s downtown core in need of rejuvenation.

Historic Trenton, NJ, where George Washington crossed the Delaware River and surprised the British army’s Hessians in a key maneuver of the American Revolution, is today a city too often in the news for the worst of reasons. The Trenton Downtown Association will use the power of the Levitt AMP [Trenton] Music Series to enliven the unused and historic Capitol Green public space, igniting community pride in the State’s Capital and encouraging residents to engage with the city’s rich cultural and historical offerings.

In addition to each recipient’s monetary award of $25,000 in matching funds, awarded to produce the ten free concerts, Levitt AMP winners will receive the Levitt “AMP [Your City] Toolkit” containing valuable resources to help them successfully produce their concert series. Funding for the Levitt AMP [Your City] Grant Awards is made possible by the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, a private family foundation.

Levitt Pavilions is a national network of outdoor music venues presenting the largest free concert series in America. Each Levitt Pavillion tailors its music offerings to its large city venue; each is in a metro area with a population of over 400,000. The nonprofit’s business model is built on financial sustainability and audience development considerations, and each venue offers 50+ free concerts annually.

Signature locations for Levitt Pavilions include Los Angeles and Pasadena, California; Westport, Connecticut; Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; Memphis, Tennessee; and Arlington, Texas — collectively serving more than half a million people annually through 300+ free, family-friendly concerts. Each Levitt venue is sustained by its own 501(c)(3) Friends of Levitt nonprofit organization, and each presents its 50+ free concerts every year ranging from acclaimed, emerging talent to seasoned, award-winning performers in all music genres. Due to accelerating interest from cities and engaged citizens, the Levitt program is growing. Developing Levitt locations across the country include Denver, opening in 2016, and Houston, opening in 2017.

Learn more at and



Nashville, TN – The brother & sister duo of ELAINE & LEE ROY – THE ROYS – are a formidable presence in bluegrass. And it’s a very big deal when artists take top honors in each of multiple years. And we’ll give you all the details, after we get something straight.

We need to guide you in with two prefacing points.

First, so many of the music awards relevant to, and coveted and treasured by, Folk-Americana fans and artists are not the “name-brand,” supposedly “mainstream” awards. So the Guide has always had the challenge of keeping up with a vast multiplicity of awards, honors and recognitions – or at least with the legitimate ones that aren’t somebody’s pay-for-recognition scheme – and reporting on as much as we can.

Second, another point is specific to bluegrass: a LOT of bluegrass that is solidly ensconced as standards has its roots in gospel music that, over time, gained acceptance as secular. So, while contemporary gospel or other “religious” music is not anything we cover, a lot of music in the repertoire of any bluegrass band is culturally rather gospel-ly. Naturally, there is an awards show that specifically recognizes that aspect of bluegrass.

In November, at the 20th Annual “ICM Faith, Family & Country™ Awards” show, THE ROYS won the “Bluegrass Artist of the Year” award for the fourth year in a row.

"Truly humbled once again," noted Elaine of the honor. "We thank the Lord Jesus and Mom and Dad," added Lee.

Following their acceptance of the award, THE ROYS delivered a stellar version of the poignant "Mended Wings" from “THE VIEW,” their fourth Rural Rhythm Records' release. The disc hit stores in September, debuted at #2 on the Billboard Top 10 Bluegrass Albums chart, and generated a #1 single with "No More Lonely" on the Bluegrass Today Weekly Airplay Chart.

The popular Bluegrassers have previously been honored with the many ICM Awards. In addition to “Bluegrass Artist of the Year” in 2014, 2013, 2012 & 2011, they won the organization’s 2012 #1 “Inspirational Country Single” prize for their song, "I Wonder What God's Thinking." That followed their consecutive 2010 & 2009 award for “Duo of the Year.”

The star-studded 2014 Awards show was hosted by legendary entertainer RAY STEVENS who was joined by co-host MEGAN ALEXANDER of the tv show “Inside Edition,” and it was taped for broadcast across multiple outlets. The show featured performances by RHONDA VINCENT; “American Idol” finalist and BMG recording artist DANNY GOKEY; Grand Ole Opry member JOHN CONLEE; CMA award-winner JOHN BERRY, and Curb recording artists SWEETWATER RAIN, and RACHEL HOLDER, made for a full evening of music.

There’s an abundance of info on THE ROYS at and at
Or from their label, Rural Rhythm Records, at:

You can find out more about the annual “ICM Faith, Family & Country” Week & Awards show at

Meanwhile, THE ROYS' “Bluegrass Kinda Christmas” was named one of Rolling Stone's 10 Best Christmas albums of 2014.

2014 was a monumental year for The Roys. The release of their fourth studio album, “The View,” was met with high praise. The first single from the album, "No More Lonely" became their first #1 on the Bluegrass Today weekly airplay chart. In addition to radio success, The Roys continued their streak at the Inspirational Country Music (ICM) Awards, taking home “Bluegrass Artist of the Year” honors for the fourth-consecutive year, in addition to winning "#1 Bluegrass Artist" at the 2014 International Acoustic Music Awards (IAMA).

There’s plenty more about THE ROYS at



"... King of Ho Sho, Governor of Waa Hoo and the Island of Wak." – from a title card in "The Thief of Baghdad," the 1924 silent film classic starring Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., and Julianne Johnston.

Surprisingly, those seem to be nominally available, having escaped the notice of multiple-platinum record winner WILL RYAN. Will, with his band of CACTUS COUNTY COWBOYS, often embellishes his pre-gig promo with delightfully wacky “titles” for sultan or potentate or grand vizier of this that or another place, real or imagined. It adds to the fun and gives you another place to take your stage banter when you’re changing that string that broke.

Thing of it is, Will Ryan is REALLY the “Official Singing Cowboy” of both Hollywood and Studio City. And his band often has been acclaimed as the best unknown ensemble of superbly accomplished roots musicians in L.A. Their repertoire of originals will remind you of a lot of Djangoesque 1930s movie music, at least as much as Bob Wills or anything western. So make a note to catch ’em next time they herd their assortment of acoustic strings onto a range near your corral – and hope they’ll bring along Chloe and her horns, if she’s in town.



A quick note for those who haven’t thought about it. The complete list of all the 57th annual Grammy Awards nominees in all categories – including the categories they don’t televise, like Folk music – is now online at the Recording Academy website, at:

♪ 8.0 In the Studio or on the Charts…


Their new album, now out on Mountain Home Music, is earning high praise from critics, and one if its tracks, "Her Love Won't Turn On A Dime," held #1 three weeks in a row on the Bluegrass Today Top 20 Song Chart.

Here are some review quotes:

"From slow and sentimental to blazing fast and hard driving, Shelor and crew never disappoint their loyal followers." ~ Larry Stephens, Country Standard Time

"Perhaps the best way to describe Turn on a Dime, their new effort from Mountain Home Music Company, is that from start to finish, it's a Lonesome River Band album -just what fans have come to expect from one of the most consistent hitmakers in bluegrass music." ~ John Curtis Goad, Bluegrass Today

"Longtime fans of bluegrass have been listening to Sammy Shelor hammer down on the banjo for a lot of years, always with a great band, great songwriting, singing, playing." ~ Carol Rifkin, Asheville Citizen-Times

"Lonesome River Band is back again with an all-new thirteen-track collection, showcasing the fantastic modern traditional bluegrass that has become their hallmark over the past three decades." ~ It's Only Rock and Roll

LONESOME RIVER BAND earned more fans in Southern Cal earlier this month, playing the annual Bluegrass Festival in Blythe, at the Colorado River Fairgrounds, followed by a concert for the Bluegrass Association of Southern California at Rancho Tierra del Sol in Northridge.

More at:

♪ 9.0 Previews & Reviews…


by Kim Fowler

NELL ROBINSON sings of her family’s lineage and journey through 250 years of war and service in her new CD, featuring musical guests JOHN DOE, KRIS KRISTOFFERSON, RAMBLIN’ JACK ELLIOTT, actress KATHY BAKER, and MAXINE HONG KINGSTON. Released November 4, 2014 on, distributed by Compass Records, and subject of the PBS special, “ROSE,” the songs of “Nell Robinson & The Rose of No-Man’s Land” integrate the heritage of her own Alabama family serving in 250 years of America’s wars.

Most of the source material for the album’s songs is archived letters, documents, mementos and generational lore, all centered on war and service. The songs begin with the Revolutionary War and reach to the present. Robinson weaves historic familial history with her lush vocal quality, and her artisan storytelling with musical guidance by Grammy-winning producer Joe Henry.

The album, was timed with a PBS special that rolled-out late in the fall as part of the series ‘Music Gone Public.” As usual, L.A. broadcast market folks will wait indefinitely before the show airs in Southern California, and if things follow the usual pattern here, all music performances will be held hostage and frequently interrupted by pledge drive begathons. Meanwhile, there’s no reason not to tell you about the record.

Nell Robinson’s Scots-Irish relations have fought in just about every American conflict since the birth of the nation, right up through Iraq and Afghanistan. The origin of the album began on stage, seven years ago, with her “Soldier Stories” receiving a standing ovation at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. As the show evolved, the potent and non-partisan album revealed itself. It began production under Joe Henry’s direction in 2012.

On the record, special guests include musical, theater and literary icons: two-time Grammy Winner & National Medal of Arts recipient RAMBLIN’ JACK ELLIOTT; actor, poet and musician JOHN DOE; actor and songwriter KRIS KRISTOFFERSON; award-winning author MAXINE HONG KINGSTON; and acclaimed actress KATHY BAKER.

Featured on the PBS cast, when it’s finally available in L.A., are Ramblin' Jack Elliott, John Doe and Maxine Hong Kingston.

On the CD, Joe Henry’s lucent production floats the songs and stories without weighing them down. The music is reverential without being solemn. Henry used Nell’s performing band as well as other musicians, including Grammy-winning GREG LIESZ on slide guitar, whose list of credits include everything from Daft Punk, to Wilco, to Bill Frisell; bluegrass favorite JIM NUNALLY on guitar & vocals; LEVON HENRY on clarinet; string stalwart KEITH LITTLE on mandolin & vocals; bassist DAVID PILTCH, who has played with Frisell, k.d. Lang, Richard Thompson; ZACH HARMON on percussion; and CRAIG EASTMAN on fiddle – a guy who has not only scored movies, but played with luminaries who include Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, and Sheryl Crow.

Here are notes on a few tracks.

“Wahatchee” is a story about Ann Hart, a historical figure from the Revolutionary War. “We are reported to be kin to her,” shares Robinson, continuing, “She was a Revolutionary War spy, a frontierswoman, good with a gun, fierce and powerful, known as “Wahatchee” meaning ‘war woman’ in the local Native American language. Home alone with her daughter Sukey, she managed to overtake some Redcoats that came to her house.”

Robinson wrote “Happy to Go” with Jim Nunally. “We wrote this song to capture the brotherhood and sisterhood bonds that develop in military and war,” says Robinson. “It is about the conflicts that families often have a difficult time understanding, between loyalty to military units and their own families.”

GUY CLARK and RODNEY CROWELL contributed songs for the album after meeting Robinson in Nashville. Crowell contributed “Scots Irish.” Guy Clark’s “Heroes” is about recent vets turning to suicide in greater numbers than active soldiers killed by enemy fire.

Plus there are traditional songs, and songs written by JOHNNY CASH and BILL MONROE.

Robinson spent the fall touring extensively. In each tour city, she worked with non-profits benefiting veterans. As an activist, she wants to continue to draw attention and funds for the needs of veterans, especially in areas of healthcare and “soul repair.”

There’s more at



by Debbie Berry

BEN GLOVER’s new “TOO LONG GONE” album features co-writes with MARY GAUTHIER and GRETCHEN PETERS. It’s just part of how Glover connects American and Irish homes with unadulterated Americana as done up by an Irishman.

Sometimes, sharing the press quotes tells the story. Like now.

“With all the talk of blackbirds, whiskey, rivers, and “curtains of calico,” it is evident that Glover has really done his part to soak up Southern culture” noted Popmatters.

“Throughout ‘Atlantic,’ Glover guides the listener with imagery that can only come from the Mississippi Delta — mudbanks and blackbirds, whiskey and pecan trees. …the tent revival moments of ‘Oh Soul’ and ‘Take and Pay’ make you want to clap your hands, stomp your feet, and ask for redemption right out loud.” ~ Elmore Magazine.

“Glover sings with real spark and there are a pair of fine duets with Gretchen Peters (‘Blackbirds,’ and the co-written ‘Mississippi Turns Blue’) and a song written with Mary Gauthier. ‘Oh Soul,’ a superb song of redemption…’Mary and Gretchen are High Priestesses of songwriting,’ said Glover, who has made a very good album.” ~ London Telegraph.

“Glover's fully-rounded artistry is equally at home channeling The Pogues on table-thumping exile return on ‘Sing A Song Boys,’ as purveying Townes Van Zandt gothic on the Gretchen Peters duet, ‘Blackbirds.’ ~ Uncut.

“If it's weighted more heavily towards Americana than the folk of Christy Moore or The Pogues that Glover grew up playing in home and pub sessions, it's more to do with the fact that at heart he's a rock 'n' roller, the greasy blues groove of ‘Take And Pay’ being ample proof. It's the heartfelt lyrics, however, that will keep you coming back to this album time and time again.” ~ MOJO.

And what do his Folk-Americana songwriting partners say?

Mary Gauthier says, “Ben Glover’s ability to connect with the human heart through his singing is an amazing thing to witness. Listen to him sing, listen to his songs, you will understand this. It’s a gift, and he uses his gifts beautifully. I love writing with him, and I’ve had him open several tours for me all over the world.”

Gretchen Peters adds, "Ben is a deeply, innately soulful singer-songwriter. He’s not afraid of the dark stuff, but he brings a spirituality to it that makes even his darkest songs feel more like prayers than dirges.”

There’s more at:



by Debbie Berry

Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter, composer, violinist and humanitarian LILI HAYDN has been touring her new CD, “LILI LAND,” her first album in six years and fourth of her career.

“Lili Land,” says Lili, “was written and recorded in the four years following a freak chemical accident in my home, in which the pesticides in the foundation used to prevent termites made me sick, caused brain damage, and forced me to get rid of everything I owned.” She continues, “After trying every therapy around, I finally recovered by way of practicing my violin.”

She adds: “My song, ‘How I Got My Brains Back,’ starts with a classical melody that helped me get well, and unleashes the healing mayhem of a rock violin concerto.” Lili explored this period of her life in a 2012 “TED TALK.”

Touring the new record, Lili and her band even made their way to New York City’s Rockwood Music Hall in November. Appropriate, since it’s a pretty cosmopolitan affair. Produced by Lili and mixed by Darrell Thorp (Radiohead, and Beck) with drum work spearheaded by Matt Chamberlain (Pearl Jam, Lana Del Rey, and Tori Amos), her 12-track album is a blend of quirky pop hooks, soulful melody, and raw grooves. It’s all unified by her unique brand of violin virtuosity, nakedly honest vocals and poignant lyrics that reflect her passion for social justice and personal soul-searching.

“Lili Land” features “Sea of Gold,” a song featured on Nic Harcourt's quirky nationally-syndicated radio program "Connections," and added to several non-commercial and college radio stations around the country. There is also a uniquely-arranged rendition of the Led Zeppelin classic “Kashmir” as tribute to the legendary band. Lili performed the song live in 1995 with Jimmy Page and Robert Plant at The Forum in Los Angeles and subsequently opened for them on their last U.S. tour. Joining her on “Lili Land” are acclaimed singer-songwriter-musicians MARVIN ETZIONI (“My My Cross The Line”) and ITAI DISRAELI and BLAKE MILLS (“Elephant Trapeze [Welcome to LiliLand]”).

There’s plenty more info at and for fb peeps, at



Las Vegas, NV – It hasn’t been that long ago. As Patrick Sieben was finishing college in Denver, a fellow musician introduced him to an agent. Presenting his uplifting material secured a gig for the young singer and multi-instrumentalist at the Red Rock Casino off the Vegas strip. That quickly led to a four-night-a-week residency. He continued attending school in Colorado Monday to Thursday, flying in to Vegas weekly to play Friday through Sunday. With that gig, another followed, and another, each a better situation for the rising artist.

Now, Patrick Sieben will release “UNDER THE NEON LIGHT” via District 7 on February 24, 2015. premieres the lyric video for his original, "B-Side Track," which can be viewed at:

The lead track is also available on iTunes, at:

Over the last three years, Patrick Sieben has become a bona fide attraction in Las Vegas. His fan base combines the millions who discover his ongoing residency at the Aria Hotel & Casino, plus those who have discovered him on the Internet. Both places, people embrace his musical repertoire that explores the theme of “living life to the fullest.” Sieben offers, "You have to enjoy every moment you can, because tomorrow it could be gone. What we have is now, and it may be all we get. Don't waste it."

Patrick Sieben wakes every day with a practicing mantra that he says, one needs to "live to live."

Sieben reflects, "There is no doubt this great city has presented an opportunity for me to perform almost every night. To be able to wake up every day and only have to play music is a beautiful thing. It allows me to really focus on playing. I've been able to hone in my craft, and really find myself as an artist."

As a performer, he approaches his artistry with the singular goal “to make people feel.” Whether that's happy or sad, he says he aims to deliver an experience to as many people as he can. Patrick envisions a career that will continue to grow “exponentially,” aiming to create music that listeners want to hear, which he defines as, "Something that's real."

His current collaborators are Ryan Martin (drums) and Danny Jacobellis (bass) and over the last three years they have played close to a thousand gigs. When in the studio, Sieben brings in lead guitarist Joel Shearer.

A significant portion of the album was tracked at WAX Ltd in Hollywood, with producer Wally Gagel (Muse, Maroon 5, Family of the Year). The rest of the album was recorded at the Blasting Room in Fort Collins with Chris Beeble, a buddy of his from college. The tracks were mixed by Andrew Berlin.

Patrick says, "We wanted to get out of the craziness of Las Vegas and L.A. and record somewhere where we could clear our minds. The Blasting Room was the perfect place. We were able to capture some raw, real moments in the studio that may not have come out the same way if surrounded by casinos and strip clubs."

The album presents a collection of songs that offer some insights to his personality. He’ll tell you he is living his life day by day, aiming to simply enjoy and experience “all the world has to offer.”

The first song to premiere, ahead of the album’s title track, is "B-Side Track." A lyric line from that song informs its name, though it sounds silly – at first. But hang on. The line is, "I wanna be a Taylor Swift song, it probably won't take too long." He shares, "There's no secret - if you have any type of personal relationship with Taylor Swift, you're probably going to have a song written about you. Maybe it's my smart ass nature, but this song became this dirty rock track of me poking a little fun at Taylor, but not in a mean way because I genuinely like her."

Maybe we just fell for the fact that dating a musician always gets a song written about you.

Sieben is a member of “Serving Our Troops.” The Minnesota-based group's mission is “to serve incredible steak dinners to soldiers, as well as their families back home.” They continue to do this all over the globe, annually. So far, his affiliation and commitment to the initiative has taken him to Kuwait and Norway to provide entertainment for the soldiers.

Prior to widespread release via all physical and digital retailers, all pre-orders will be shipped on Sieben's birthday, February 22, 2015. (We include that because it’s a nice little marketing shtick.)

Leading up to the street date, lyric and performance videos for the album’s songs "Weekend Ride," "End Of The World," and "Live To Live," will be presented via a diverse group of media partners and Sieben's web properties. He titled his label “District 7” to capture the union of the neighborhood he resides in (District) and the literal German definition of his last name (7). Sieben offers, "I wanted to tie-together my life and music career in Vegas with the roots I have with my family back in Minnesota."

As Sieben continues his journey, his music and lyrics will likely gain traction via that window of exposure to new fans. Las Vegas just may be the epicenter of discovery for breaking artists. For Sieben, it’s working, before his presence on the road can expand things.

For Patrick Sieben, what happens in Las Vegas is not likely to stay in Las Vegas.

There’s more at
And at



There is always an astonishing amount of current self-released indie acoustic music out there. As always, the Guide wants to take time to note that, not simply as a fact, but in terms of the artists making the music.

Ashley Lian is a folk / acoustic / singer-songwriter who is currently an art student in Baltimore, Maryland. With an acoustic guitar and some simple chords, she writes music for lyrics that are more or less journal entries and poems, personal dedications to people that have affected her life. These are soft, gentle songs.

“Dear” is her first self-recorded and self-released EP. It is a small compilation of songs written in her bedrooms over the course of two years.

She says, "So dear Mom, dear Dad, dear boys I used to like, and dear myself, this is for you."

That should qualify under that sought-after criteria of “universal” for a lot of our readers. Check-out Ashley, her music, and her new EP, at:



by Lyndie Wenner

“WELCOME TO THE BIG WORLD” is a biographical soundscape that ranges from Delbert McClinton roadhouse rock to Kris Kristofferson storyteller folk, with a mix of timeless two-step shuffles.

With producer Rachel Loy at the helm, singer, songwriter, and musician ADAM HOOD’s fourth full-length album, “Welcome to the Big World,” was released in November via the artist’s own indie label, “Adam Hood Music.” It’s available now on available now via Lone Star Music and iTunes. The CD release followed an exclusive premiere campaign for the album with Rolling Stone Country.

Rolling Stone Country exclusively premiered the album. Check out how he did it at:

Hood is an Alabama native. While he is appreciative of the opportunities his past two record labels provided him, he’s embracing this new chapter in his career, citing all the creative freedom that comes along with it.

In November 2013, he took to the crowdfunding site where his fans pledged their support, helping him reach his goal and allowing Hood to make the record he’s always wanted to.’s Marissa R. Moss notes that “‘Welcome to the Big World’ is a chance for Hood to showcase new songs and give a platform to those crowd favorites that didn't always get the same response from a label as they did from fans.” (11/3/14.) Moss’ piece quotes Hood as saying, "The ownership of it is rewarding." He tells Rolling Stone, "I didn’t want to cut anybody out of it or anything like that. But you start to realize that this is your work. I really like to have the final say — to have the deciding factor, that’s a big deal right there."

The album’s first single, “Trying to Write a Love Song,” was released earlier this year and hit Top 5 on both of the Texas Music Charts. The song – a straightforward, booze-and-truck-free anthem about chasing a woman in a hot dress to cure writer's block – was co-written by Hood, longtime Nashville songwriter Pat McLaughlin, and rising newcomer Logan Mize.

Other notable collaborations on the album include one with Grammy-nominated hit-maker Will Hoge, who co-wrote the imagery-rich “Postcards and Payphones.” It’s a candid ballad that describes the pain and loneliness of the touring life. Then there’s Hood’s co-write with Charlie Worsham, a fun-loving track titled “The Countriest,” which features Texas darling Sunny Sweeney in her guest harmony debut. A live and rowdy crowd at Billy's Icehouse in New Braunfels, TX, backs Hood on the raucous “Bar Band,” which is the second single from the album.

To coincide with the album release, Adam Hood went on the road with Texas musician Jason Eady with their “Southern Brothers From Another Mother” co-headlining tour. For that run, the two performed together as an acoustic duo, trading off original songs. Hood also played a few solo acoustic and full band shows to help promote the new record.

The album’s track listing telegraphs the contents rather well: 1. “Don't That Sound Like Love;” 2. “Trying To Write A Love Song;” 3. “Welcome To The Big World;” 4. “Bar Band;” 5. “Stars Around A Cajun Moon;” 6. “Whole Lot of Hard Work;” 7. “Postcards and Payphones;” 8. “The Countriest” (featuring Sunny Sweeney); 9. “Way Too Long;” 10. “He Did;” 11. “I Took A Train.”

Hood, solo or with the duo tour, played venues in November and December reaching from Austin to Nashville, Atlanta to Bowling Green to Birmingham, and all across Texas.

Much more info is available at and at

♪ 10.0 New Indie Releases:
Quickie Notes

Just the facts, ma’am: eight new albums, short ‘n sweet…

10.1 BAND / ARTIST: Leo Leo
GENRE: Indie / Pop. ALBUM TITLE: “Chronicles Of My Heart.”
LOCATION: Gibraltar, Gibraltar (island of).
DESCRIPTION: Exciting music packed onto one album featuring the single "Mr. Unemployed."
It's a bit of Indie, Folk, and Punk blended into a Pop music sound.
Similar Artists: Cat Stevens, David Gray, David Bowie, Tom Waites, Queen

10.2 BAND / ARTIST: Paul Erickson
GENRE: Classical / Acoustic. ALBUM TITLE: “Carcassi Project.”
LOCATION: Washington, USA
DESCRIPTION: Classical guitar. The Album includes Etude Selections from Matteo Carcassi's Opus 60.
Similar Artists: Andres Segovia, Christopher Parkening

10.3 BAND / ARTIST: Phil's Blues/Boogie
GENRE: Blues. ALBUM TITLE: “Phil's Boogie Blues.”
LOCATION: California, USA
DESCRIPTION: A little walkin' blues from an Artist who's got skills. Phil is offering his popular single with great sounding Blues/Boogie. People really like this guy on YouTube.
Similar Artists: John Lee Hooker WEB LINK: gws_rd=ssl#q=phil%27s+blues%2Fboogie+music AVAILABLE FORMATS: CD

10.4 BAND / ARTIST: Lewis & Evans
GENRE: Country. ALBUM TITLE: “Candle Light Country.”
LOCATION: Mississippi, USA
DESCRIPTION: Smooth Traditional Country Music. New release with 7 covers and 3 original songs.
Similar Artists: Brooks And Dunn, B.J. Thomas

10.5 BAND / ARTIST: T.D. Wilkins
GENRE: Country. ALBUM TITLE: “Baby Come Back Blues”
DESCRIPTION: With a solid Country rhythm and beat this is Country Blues music about a breakup and a fresh start, with no regrets.
Similar Artists: George Jones, Kenny Rogers

10.6 BAND / ARTIST: Arttunea
GENRE: Blues. ALBUM TITLE: “Experimental Project.”
DESCRIPTION: Arttunea features Jon Parker, an artist who has been to the school of hard knocks. He is based in the Detroit area, plays seven instruments, and sings.
Similar Artists: Steppenwolf, Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton

10.7 BAND / ARTIST: Cody Joe Hodges
GENRE: Country. ALBUM TITLE: “The Good Stuff.”
DESCRIPTION: Great Country music with steel guitar, fiddle, stand-up bass, guitar, drums, and more. Well-crafted songwriting, and good vocals.
Similar Artists: Jason Aldean, Billy Currington, Brad Paisley

10.8 BAND / ARTIST: Avabas
GENRE: Piano instrumental. ALBUM TITLE: “Piano Music for Relaxation, vol. 1”
LOCATION: Stuttgart, Germany
DESCRIPTION: Soothing piano pieces inspired by nature. Great for radio or film soundrack. WEB LINK:

♪ 11.0 Music in film…


Longtime readers of the Guide know that we often report on screenings of vintage silent movies, and always emphasize that they aren’t “silent” at all, but accompanied by carefully choreographed music. In their day, that music was performed live, and that same factor is usually at the center of revival screenings now.

In the late November, musician and film and TV industry insider Christopher Lockett reported via Facebook, “Well hell... just got word that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is not doing their ‘A Century Ago - the Films of xxxx’ event this year. That event traditionally sold out quickly and was a fantastic evening of cinema. Whoever made that awful decision needs to re-think the purpose of the Academy.”

Indeed, 1914 was a pivotal year in so many ways. Feature films became dominant that year, over shorts. Technology was increasing rapidly for in-camera and other effects. World War I had begun. Some of that year’s restored films have enjoyed screenings on Turner Classic Movies on cable. So there is no shortage of material from that year.

Once it was verified, others began to register similar thoughts: “This is a reversal of traditional values the Academy has had from its inception. It's a drag to see a lack of interest and lack of respect for film history, particularly silent film history. What a bummer!” wrote Lisa Dare.

Christopher publicly asked film maven Brent Walker, “Any chance of a last-minute resurrection of this event, but at some place like the Mack Sennett Studios? To me, this was always the event that kicked off a season of good cinema - start with the early films, segue through the studio's ‘prestige’ (not dumb popcorn movies for dim bulb intellects) releases, and then onto awards season. It's a major missing piece for me now.”

Walker replied, “This was the brainchild of Randy Haberkamp, who used to be in charge of programming, but was promoted to a higher position in the Academy. And from what I've heard, the new Academy heads don't want to show as many ‘old’ films as well. It sort of did go full cycle though, since he started in 1903 and took it through 1913, which was the last year before feature films started to become more prominent, and the nickelodeon era of mostly shorts was being phased out.”

Lockett got back with more, saying, “Man, that seriously bums me out. That they don't want to screen ‘old’ film in the Linwood Dunn Theater (named for a cinematographer whose career began in 1925) housed in the Mary Pickford (who first screen-tested for D.W. Griffith in 1909) Building just seems insulting. That event always sold out quick. Once a year hardly seems like a huge burden, even if the focus is on newer films. I shot some things for the Academy last year and there were a lot of changes afoot, not all of them good.”

Lisa Dare had more, too: “The Academy stopped doing centennial celebrations of actors and directors, too. Tyrone Power's centennial is being celebrated at the Hollywood Museum on Highland and at Barnsdall Park instead.”

Lockett couldn’t resist saying, “Onion-style headline: ‘Royal Shakespeare Theater announces it no longer wishes to present “old” plays...’ Just visited the Academy's page here on FB. No mention of the films of a century ago not happening. But there was a photo of the salad that Liam Neeson ate at a recent luncheon. Yep.”

Our thought? Must EVERYTHING be about momentary, fleeting grabbing of the easy fast buck, with no institutional memory of what it took to get here? Yes, we apply that to music, as well as film and TV. “Unavailable” isn’t as bad as truly lost, but to those too young to have ever seen any of something, what’s the real difference?

Even early, groundbreaking investigative news features were recorded-over, as were all the early Johnny Carson “Tonight” shows, and even some of the coverage of the early manned space flights. Joni Mitchell was right: “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone?”

♪ 12.0 Profiles: artists & bands…


Southern California may seem an unlikely home base for a GRAMMY Nominated – Americana / Cajun / Zydeco artist. Unless you’ve attended any of the big Cajun festivals in these parts. The fan base is big, knowledgeable, and supportive of authenticity.

That hardcore base of zydeco dancers, together with demanding fiddle and accordion aficionados and everyone else who generally loves great Americana, always flocks to any venue when Lisa Haley & the Zydekats are performing. In October, they celebrated 20 years as a band. The Guide extends our congratulations and the hope for many more years of fine originals, traditional Louisiana classics, and plenty more music-making ahead.

Get your “dose of Zydecosis” with Lisa Haley's "Chicken Fiddler" video, which currently has over 647,000 Youtube hits, at: v=llHKUzjggg4

♪ 13.0 In the Venues…

Each edition, we focus on an important venue for acoustic music. This time, it’s McCabe’s.


McCABE’s kicked-off their 2015 concert season on January 7. Tickets are available now for numerous shows at their famous concert hall behind the guitar shop in Santa Monica. More info and tix for all shows at: 310-828-4497;
McCabe’s upcoming shows:
Fri, Jan 23: McCOMBS SKIFFLE PLAYERS plus BIG SEARCH; 8 pm; $20.
Sat, Jan 24: THE AMERICANS; 8 pm; $15.
Sun, Jan 25: HANK McFEE; 8 pm; $20.
Fri, Jan 30: SEAN WATKINS, plus LAUREN SHERA; 8 pm; $20.
Sat, Jan 31: IAN MATTHEWS; 8 pm; $24.50.

Sun, Feb 1: ADRIAN LEGG; 8 pm; $22.50.
Fri & Sat, Feb 6 & 7: AL STEWART; 8 pm, both nights;$24.50.
Sun, Feb 8: ERNEST TROOST and HAPPY TRAUM; 8 pm; $20.
Sat, Feb 14: JORMA KAUKONEN; 8 & 10 pm; $36.
Sun, Feb 15: JORMA KAUKONEN; 7:30 & 9:30 pm; $36.
Fri, Feb 20: THE MASTERSONS plus AARON LEE TASJAN; 8 pm; $12.50.
Sat, Feb 21: “THREE WOMEN & THE TRUTH,” the folk all-star trio of MARY GAUTHIER, ELIZA GILKYSON, & GRETCHEN PETERS; 8 & 10 pm; $32.50.
Fri & Sat, Feb 27 & 28: DAVID LINDLEY; 8 pm, both nights; $24.50.
Sun, Mar 1: SLAID CLEAVES; 8 pm; $20.

♪ 14.0 Ticket Alerts

Here are the events we believe will sell-out. Get your tickets promptly.

Jan 22: “ECLECTIC GUITARS” featuring ERIC JOHNSON & MIKE STERN at the City National Grove of Anaheim; tix now on sale. This one is NOT a dinner show. Tix at:

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Jan 23, 7 pm: “ECLECTIC GUITARS” featuring ERIC JOHNSON & MIKE STERN, at the Regent Theater, 448 S Main St, downtown Los Angeles. Show is 21+, and is partially seated; seating is first come, first serve. Presented by Spaceland & Nederlander. Tix, $35 - $45, at:

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Sat, Jan 24: “THE MET IN HD: LEHÁR'S ‘THE MERRY WIDOW’” is an HD Opera Broadcast (delayed broadcast), in the Eileen Norris Cinema Theatre / Frank Sinatra Hall, on the USC Campus in University Park (L.A.) It begins with a Pre-Opera Discussion at noon, followed by the HD broadcast at 1 pm. Admission is FREE and open to everyone, but RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED and it will fill-up. Reserve your space online beginning Tue, Dec 9, at 9 am, at www.
The great Renée Fleming stars as the beguiling femme fatale who captivates all of Paris in Lehár’s enchanting operetta, seen in a new staging by Broadway virtuoso director and choreographer Susan Stroman (“The Producers, ” “Oklahoma!, ” “Contact”). Stroman and her design team of Julian Crouch (“Satyagraha, ” “The Enchanted Island”) and costume designer William Ivey Long (“Cinderella, ” “Grey Gardens, ” “Hairspray”) have created an art-nouveau setting that climaxes with singing and dancing grisettes at the legendary Maxim’s.

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Through Feb 1: “JACK LEMMON RETURNS” as performed by his son, Chris Lemmon in a musical story-telling style, plays the Broad Stage at the Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center, 1310 11th St, Santa Monica 90401; 310-434-3200.
The son of the Hollywood legend who starred in “Some Like It Hot,” “The Odd Couple,” and ao much more, performs “an immensely personal, and ultimately heartwarming story” about his Academy Award-winning father and their enduring relationship. Written and directed by Hershey Felder and performed by Chris as his father, “Jack Lemmon Returns” is one-man show that captures the magic of a bygone era, when Marilyn Monroe, Gregory Peck, James Cagney, Jimmy Stewart, and Shirley MacLaine were but a handful of the many stars who would pass through the Lemmon's Hollywood Hills home. The performance includes George and Ira Gershwin's "Love is Here to Stay" and "'S Wonderful," “Jack Lemmon Returns” is a loving tribute to a world famous dad, told with respect and dignity. Tix now available at 310-434-3200;;

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Sun, Jan 25, 8 pm: JESSE COOK plays the City National Grove of Anaheim. This is a dinner-optional event. A three-course prix fixe dinner including salad, entree options, and dessert is available for purchase for $30. If you plan to dine, we recommend arriving at 6 pm. Dinner concludes at 7:30 pm. Go to for menu details.
Tix at:

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Feb 14, 8 pm: SPARKS, accompanied by a 38-piece Orchestra, perform ‘Kimono My House’ and assorted songs from their 23 albums; presented by Goldenvoice, FYF, and Ace, at the Theatre at Ace Hotel, L.A. Tix, $43.50-$132.50, on sale Dec 17 at 10 am.

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Feb 21 & 22: "THIS AIN'T NO MOUSE MUSIC!" is a great documentary with Cajun, Zydeco, and Texas Blues, playing only on Feb 21st and 22nd at the Art Theatre, 2025 E 4th St, Long Beach 90814; 562-438-3723; With a limited run, it will sell-out early.
The film is the Story of Chris Strachwitz and Arhoolie Records., a feature-length documentary by Chris Simon and Maureen Gosling. “Smokin’ hot!” — Radio One, New Zealand. “One of the best music documentaries around...This film puts the heart and soul back into music and opens your mind to incredible artists you may never have heard of.” — The Film Reel, Toronto.
“Chris Strachwitz is a detective of sounds, an archaeologist of the deep American music, music with roots that strike straight into the country’s heartland. He is the guiding force behind the legendary Arhoolie Records, producing albums that the Rolling Stones and many others played the grooves right off of. Since 1960, Strachwitz has been recording the authentic pulses of the great American music, throbbing away in the backwoods of the nation. His label offers an unparalleled catalogue of blues, Cajun, wild Hillbilly country, Tex-Mex and New Orleans R&B. These diverse musical strands seem to have grown right out of the ground they are played on. With tape-recorder in hand, Strachwitz traveled to plantations and prisons, roadhouses and whorehouses, churches and bayou juke joints. He returned with recordings that would revolutionize the sound of popular music. In This Ain't No Mouse Music!, their vivid portrait of an obsessive sonic sleuth, filmmakers Chris Simon and Maureen Gosling take a hip-shaking stroll from New Orleans to Appalachia and right into very the DNA of rock’n’roll. In this beautifully shot film, we come face to face with the creators of indigenous music, from the great Clifton Chenier to fiddler Michael Doucet, from Flaco Jimenez to the Pine Leaf Boys, playing songs that are endemic to their place and circumstance, to dialect and class, to climate and landscape. Their music is now highly endangered by the merciless steamroller of pop culture, assimilation and commercialism, which makes Strachwitz's desperate pursuit to track down every last artist all the more urgent. But these songs aren’t meant to be locked away in a Smithsonian vault to be decoded by folklorists and musical anthropologists. This film is a living cultural history with a soundtrack that bites and kicks and screams. Even 50 years later, Arhoolie’s records remain alive, unruly and still so sharp that some songs can cut you right down to the soul. — Jeffrey St. Clair, Author ‘Born Under a Bad Sky.’”
More at:

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Feb 27: ALAN JACKSON with BRANDY CLARK & JON PARDI at Nokia Theatre, “L.A. LIVE, ” in downtown L.A. / Doors at 7 pm / tix, $25, $55.95, $79.95, $149.95 / went on sale Nov 7 at 10 am.

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Apr 2, 8 pm: PUNCH BROTHERS with GABRIEL KAHANE play the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood. Tix, $41.50, on sale now.

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May 15, 7:30 pm: THE PIANO GUYS play the Greek Theatre. Tix at:

♪ 15.0 Parting Thoughts…

Each edition, we close with two thoughts – one serious, the other, uhh, well, no so…

This week is the massive annual NAMM Show. It completely fills the entire Anaheim Convention Center complex, including the basketball arena, AND the outdoor plazas, AND all the convention and meeting spaces in the surrounding hotels. While a few events each day are in publicly-accessible areas and therefore do NOT require NAMM badges, we cannot emphasize enough: if you are not a badged attendee, you MUST park someplace else. Park at the Amtrak lot at Anaheim Stadium and ride the OC Transit bus. But do Not park at NAMM or the surrounding hotels if you are not a badged participant.

Okay, now for your not-so-serious moment…

"I watched an ant climb a blade of grass this morning. When he reached the top, his weight bent the blade down to the ground. Then, twisting his thorax with insectile precision, he grabbed hold of the next blade. In this manner, he traveled across the lawn, covering as much distance vertically as he did horizontally, which amused and delighted me. And then, all at once, I had what is sometimes called an 'epiphany,' a moment of heightened awareness in which everything becomes clear. Yes, hunched over that ant on my hands and knees with my butt in the air, I suddenly knew what I had to do... Quit drinking before noon." ~ Ned Johnson.

More, soon, as always.

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Lawrence Wines & Tied to the Tracks.
All rights reserved.
The ACOUSTIC AMERICANA MUSIC GUIDE endeavors to bring you NEWS and views of interest to artists everywhere, more specifically to musicians and the creative community, and music makers and fans of acoustic and Folk-Americana music, both traditional and innovative. We provide a wealth of resources, including a HUGE catalog of acoustic-friendly venues, and schedules of performances in Southern California venues large and small. We cover workshops and other events for artists and folks in the music industry, and all kids o’ things in the world of acoustic and Americana and accessible classical music. From washtub bass to musical spoons to oboe to viola to banjo to squeezebox, from Djangostyle to new-fangled-old-time string band music, from sweet Cajun fiddle to pre-bluegrass Appalachian mountain music to proto blues.
The Acoustic Americana Music Guide. We’re back. And we’re on it.

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