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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

NEWS EDITION: Bob Dylan performs Tuesday Night on TV; and other news

This edition is all News (Quickies, with one feature story) and one exchange of letters from Music Legends...


2) Our Feature Story:




# 1:


It's nearly over, and worth savoring 'til the end. David Letterman's second-to-last show is tonight. And Dave's musical guest is Bob Dylan. It's not just a big treat and a rare tv gig for Dylan. It's appropriate. Both Jay Leno and David Letterman always had room for folk-americana music performances and guest spots for artists who were releasing new records in "our" genre.

Since Leno left, Jimmy Kimmel and the current NBC regime have taken another ddiirection, one more akin with Saturday Night Live's musical sensibilities. As we expected and reported in advance, here in the Guide.

David Letterman genuinely likes our kind of music. It's anybody's guess where Stephen Colbert will take the CBS show when he grabs the reins this fall, and politics will be even crazier than now. So enjoy the tuneful last tango tonight.

Wednesday night's "Late Show with David Letterman" finale will be a retrospective in a series of clips and drop-in visits, similar to the prime-time farewell aired a couple weeks ago.

Beyond our notes in the Guide, newspapers and all those "inside entertainment" shows have been filled with commentary, some correctly reporting the end of an era, the last genuine connection with Johnny Carson, and more.

Here's a link to one we particularly like, from the Toronto Star:

"So Long, Letterman. Late Night Will Never Be the Same."


# 2:
Our Feature Story...
UPDATED 11:38 pm, May 19th.


You may know Mark Islam. He is a knowledgeable and well-connected singer-songwriter who produces and hosts a monthly all-acoustic recording artist showcase for charity called "Grassroots Acoustica."

Yesterday, Mark noted:

"In the past couple of weeks, an article about guitar solos being edited-out of country radio has popped up a lot in my news feed.

"Know what else has been edited-out of country radio? Female artists.

"Just forced myself to listen to contemporary country radio on an 8-hour roundtrip roadtrip between Nashville and Atlanta. Only heard three women artists through the entire trip - Gloriana, Kelsea Ballerini, and another girl singer I couldn't identify, who wasn't back-announced. I think that's a bigger story."

Only two of the songs in the current Billboard Top 25 Country chart are by female performers, plus one by a band with a female singer.

Mark Islam tells us, "Here's the [link to this] week's Hot Country Songs chart from Billboard that shows what I heard on my road. I didn't hear 'Girl Crush' once though, which tops this chart."

Mark drew a lot of comments, including these:

Allison MacLeod's response was typical of many. She said, "I think so too! Thank you - sharing!"

Karissa Noel responded, "Whoa, that's crazy! What about Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood? No Martina or Reba? Booooooo."

There wasn't complete agreement. Steven Neal Wagner said, "The station I listened to in Alabama played a lot of Lady A, Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert. Seems every time I turned it on, I heard 'Little Red Wagon.'"

We found the comment from Chris Elliott to be accurate and revealing. He wrote, "There are also very precise structure conventions that are difficult for a contemporary country songwriter to diverge from and still maintain label interest. Lots wrong in Nashville. It is a heavily managed music platform."

Mike Webber added, "What an awful contrast from that '90s window when women were making just about the only Country music worth hearing that was getting mainstream airplay. Loveless, Mattea, Yearwood, Berg, Bogguss and you could still hear Emmylou.

"So, has Kacey Musgraves been Dixie Chick'd now for writing songs sympathetic to equal rights?"

Joyce-Marie Morrin could have been speaking for us, editorially, when she added, "It's really hard for me to listen to country music for any length of time any more, no matter who's singing it. It's all sounding very familiar and the same, very formula-driven, same instrumentation, and it's really way too repetitive. Nothing to really blink at 'cause by now you've heard it all before. I think country music is in a slump which can only lead to reinvention and that means inspiration and creativity born anew.

"Someone is gonna break down the barriers, color outside the lines, and boldly go where country music has not gone before, or revert back to the roots, ground level and sprout anew! Because... their idenity with music may have influences of country, but creatively they are originals! Like Buddy and Julie Miller. To that I say break the mold!"

Joyce-Marie Morrin noted how much of what would have been embraced by the country genre is now Americana music. She wrote, "... Emmylou Harris and Randy Crowell have a new cd that just debuted and entered the Americana charts at number 29. Impressive, and I am curious what their new menu of tunes sound like in today's music market."

Tom Tom Slocum asserts, "Real Country Music has been dead for a long time. Honest Country Music lives on in Willie Nelson, Bob Wills, Asleep at The Wheel, etc."

Sue Lopez brought an interesting take, saying, "My theory is that Nashville has turned into L.A., L.A. has turned into New York, and New York is still New York."

Doreen Onuski said, "Mark Islam, I was kinda hoping Britt Ronstadt was gonna help this country music issue out. We know she's not happy about where country music is today!"

David Weingast took Mark's point and adfef more to complete it. David write, "...and all the other songs were about beer, and trucks and god and football, and just after the solo break the song gets all real-quiet for half a verse, THEN explodes to the finale. Mainstream country music has NEVER ever before been so god awful."

We found the discussion that Mark started to be worthy of thought and a challenge to our readers to listen to country radio to see if his experience seems to hold true -- for those who can stand to subject themselves to it. We can't. Sorry, Nashvulle. We've tried. We can't do it. It'll send us into the streets, screaming.

Beyond that? Chris Elliott nailed a big part of what today's country music has become.

David Weingast's characterization only omits a few things:

• the obligatory weeping fiddle passage in every song - because weeping fiddle is the only kind allowed, and

• "thet fahke Nashvuule ack-scent" what don't eek-sist nowhar 'cept in a siix block stretcha Muuuusic Row, and

• that stock song theme of the guy whose wife left him after they caught each other cheating, and she took his pickup truck and ran over the dog backing out of the driveway, and damn(!) he sure does miss that dog and that truck.

Mark, good for you for calling attention to this new sexist exclusion, whether it's regional or national.

In the end? Perhaps Steven Neal Wagner is right: "Give it another eight hours."


# 3:


The Guide's founding editor, Lawrence Wines, received honors as this year's Music Legend Award recipient on Sunday, joining Grammy winners, icons, and role models who are the previous honorees.

The presentation, and Lawrence's acceptance speech, came at the 55th annual "TOPANGA BANJO•FIDDLE CONTEST & FOLK FESTIVAL" Southern California's longest-running annual roots-americana music event, held at Paramount Ranch, the famous home of countless western movies, run by the National Park Service.

Lawrence noted,"If you're getting a big award? Forget the Staples Center or the Hollywood Bowl. You want to get it where the National Park Service runs things, because WHAT could be cooler than THAT?!"

Most of his speech, delivered to a large part of the 12,000 people at the event, was about the power of music to inspire people across all ages and the critical importance of restoring music education.

A video of the speech should be forthcoming. We'll let you know when it posts.

In the meantime, Lawrence says, "Thanks to all who made it a point to be there. It SURE WAS fun, wasn't it?"


# 4:



Dear Larry,

Topanga has honored itself by choosing you as their Music Legend Award Winner for 2015. You have always been a legend to me--no one pours as much passion, love, talent and craft into the celebration of folk music and live performance as you do--week in and week out, come hell or high water, in good times and bad, in sickness and in health. You have faced down every obstacle and challenge and keep Acoustic Americana going to promote the general welfare of working musicians throughout Southern California.

Every show an artist gives draws appreciably and measurably more people in attendance thanks to your inestimable efforts and the enthusiasm you bring to everyone who is proud to be included in your Calendar. There is no better publicity one could ask or hope for than one of your glowing tributes that you take it upon yourself to write in addition to listing all the basic information of an upcoming show, concert or program.

Thank you so much and I will be cheering in person when you are presented with this most well deserved award. You have been a wonderful friend and one of the people whose shared love of folk music makes me feel that I have devoted my life to something worthwhile. No one can stay committed to this calling alone; it's a community effort, every step of the way, and you are truly a community leader. I am so glad you are getting this recognition. No one has deserved it more.

Warmest Regards,


Larry's reply to Ross Altman:

Wow. Just as I am getting past the surprise that came from the Topanga organization that they had chosen me for this wonderful honor, along comes Brother Ross with words of tribute to humble me yet again.

I celebrated when you were the year's Music Legend, because you already were and always will be to all of us who have been privileged to attend any of your many finely crafted historical / tribute shows, or to enjoy a set of your originals mixed with folk classics.

I will add the promise of your presence to why I am giddy about the festivities on Sunday!



For upcoming FESTIVALS
and ticket alerts for concerts

See the Guide for May 14.

The Guide's big
And updated events
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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.
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