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Saturday, July 9, 2016


We present a multi-artist farewell to the late RALPH STANLEY. We have offers of two FREE RESOURCES AS DOWNLOADS for you -- one a guide to gigging, the other a complete free copy of "SONGWRITERS ON SONGWRITING." We have a look at a couple of upcoming festivals. There are some recommended concerts and events in here. An important artist is returning to the scene after a three-year hiatus. The two Levitt Pavilions are just getting underway with some rare Americana emphases. Plus there's plenty more within.


Contents / in this edition...





5) TWO LEVITT PAVILIONS SEASONS GET UNDERWAY: PASADENA AND L.A. — Hear "MacArthur Park" by its writer, IN MacArthur Park; catch TROUT FISHING IN AMERICA in Pasadena; and twin Schedule Sweet Spots of Americana Music







12) 8th ANNUAL BHAKTI FEST: Thousands of All Ages Gather for a Transformational Event


Let's get started!


# 1 news feature


How do you measure the contributions of one so iconic as Bluegrass and Appalachian music giant Ralph Stanley? We'll offer a few perspectives.


The Recording Academy® (the GRAMMY organization) issued a "Statement Re: Ralph Stanley" just after his death was reported on June 24, 2016. It comes from Neil Portnow, President/CEO of the Recording Academy, and it reads:

"Considered a patriarch of Appalachian music, GRAMMY® Award winner Ralph Stanley was a masterful bluegrass singer and banjo player. With his prodigious banjo picking, haunting vocal style, and intriguing songwriting, Ralph helped pioneer and popularize the bluegrass genre and inspired countless musicians while doing so. His work on the 'O Brother, Where Are Thou?' soundtrack helped bring about a bluegrass resurgence in the early 2000s. While he will be greatly missed, his contributions to music will live on. We offer our sincere condolences to his family, friends, fans, and collaborators."


The folks at Deering Banjo presented fine remembrances from several people who knew him. We share that here, in full. Their tribute begins, "The world of music lost one of the great banjo legends last week with the passing of Dr. Ralph Stanley. Learn more about him and read remembrances by Deering Sales Manager Barry Hunn, and Deering Artists Jens Kruger, Terry Baucom, Bennett Sullivan, and David Holt."

Here it is, from the Deering folks in their "Hooks & Nuts" publication:

Banjo Legend Ralph Stanley Passes

by Barry Hunn

The world of music lost one of the great banjo legends last week with the passing of Dr. Ralph Stanley.

Ralph Stanley influenced generations of five string banjo enthusiasts with his driving and sparkling bluegrass banjo. His signature arch top banjo and distinctive approach to both fingerpicking and clawhammer in the very early days of bluegrass placed him in the halls of legend.

For those who have not been exposed to this bluegrass giant, he was also noted for his haunting and lyrical singing. Probably his most well-known performance was in the movie “Oh Brother Where Art Thou” when he sang, “Oh Death.”

During his long career he was always true to the music that he loved and he was always encouraging to musicians that crossed his path. I was one of them.

When I was a young musician, I managed to be hired as an opening act for Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain boys. When my partner saw Mr. Stanley before the performance, she exclaimed “are you Ralph Stanley?” He very quietly replied “what there is left of him”. He was gracious and encouraging to two young musicians who were just getting started in a career in music.

From all of us at Deering Banjos, we wish to convey our condolences to the Stanley family and offer our profound thanks to this great man who inspired and still inspires millions to play the banjo.

Here are recollections from some famous musicians, contained in Barry Hunn's "Hooks & Nuts" story...

The music of the Stanley brothers was nothing short of amazing. The real, honest, and pure choice of songs, harmonies, and instrumentation made them a true national treasure. They called their music Mountain Music or just Folk, to avoid any resemblance to other Bluegrass type music of their time.

Ralph was known for his love of the archtop banjo, which he also clawhammered in an old fashion way. His haunting voice and the crystal clear banjo tone became a trademark for rural America.

Musicians from all around the world tried to imitate his distinct way of using the forward roll picked close to the bridge, which sounded to me like an old train rattling and rumbling over a steel bridge.

I was always fascinated with the realness of his artistic expressions and the clarity of his esthetic measures. Dr. Ralph Stanley will always be remembered in my heart and the heart of people around the world as a giant of American culture, who has made his mark as an innovator in tradition.

– Jens Kruger

The mountain-style banjo playing of Ralph Stanley certainly influenced a lot of players. And he was a professional entertainer all the way around…from the way he dressed for stage to the sincerity of every note he played and sang.

Since my Dad’s record collection contained a lot by the Stanley Brothers, I grew to love that sound early on. As a young boy I got to see Ralph and Carter together in person once. But after starting my own career in Bluegrass in the 1970s, I got to know Ralph and liked him a lot.

A few years ago I was playing a festival near Roanoke, Virginia where Ralph was also appearing. Just a few days earlier I had seen a publicity photo of the Stanley Brothers with Ralph holding an old raised head RB 250 Bowtie. Since I was playing a Bowtie at the time, I asked Ralph if he remembered the photo and that banjo. He said, “Yes, I do… and I wish I had it back”!

He loved the people and the people loved him… and I join all the others who will miss him greatly.

-Terry Baucom

Ralph Stanley was an inspiration to anyone who loved traditional mountain music. His soulful singing and driving banjo thrilled us for over 60 years. I owe a great debt to Ralph because he encouraged me to travel the southern mountains and visit the old timers if I wanted to learn the real music. So in 1969 I followed his advice and never looked back. I am forever grateful.

Ralph was one of the giants of America music.

– David Holt

Although I never met Ralph Stanley in person, he’s one of those special artists who make it so clear through their music who they are. For me, listening to his music paints a detailed picture of his life in southwestern Virginia and as a southerner myself, it inspires me to embrace my home more in the creation of my music.

It’s easy to just listen for technical prowess of banjo players these days (and for the most part its really fun!). But Ralph’s banjo playing brings a flow and feeling that is just easy and relaxing to listen to.

He serves the song, and its obvious that his main motivation – whether he was writing, singing, or picking – was telling a story. Know that even if you never met Ralph in-person, his music tells his story if you listen close enough.

Rest in peace, Dr. Ralph.

– Bennett Sullivan


Any time you could exchange a few words with Dr. Ralph Stanley, he made you feel special. In our case, we could have attributed that to the fact he knew he was speaking to music journalists who might or might not write about his latest project or most recent CD or upcoming tour or local concert. But that wasn't at the heart of it.

Dr. Ralph -- and let's be clear, he loved the "doctor" before his name, even though it was an honorary doctorate -- was more positive presence than musician, and that's not intended to demean his musicianship. The man was genuinely happy that his music made YOU happy. Or, if happy isn't necessarily the best word, given that we could be talking about a murder ballad or a sad and forlorn lost love or a tale of someone broken by hard work with no happy ending to the tale, well, then, let's say there was a little expression of fulfillment evident that you sought his presence and an exchange of words with him regarding his music or a particular performance or an arrangement of a particular song.

And if that sounds a lot like someone wrapped up in his own ego, that would very much be the wrong impression. Let's illustrate.

About a decade ago, Dr. Ralph's grandson Nathan Stanley was touring with the grand old man and his band. Nathan was 12 years old. He was doing his schoolwork backstage between his turns to come out and perform. During a break, our editor was chatting with young Nathan about his originals and influences. Dr. Ralph walked over and said, "Nathan, make sure you give this gentleman your CD -- not our CD, I'll make sure he has that -- but your CD. Get his card so you won't be counting on anyone else to be able to contact him and thank him for the time he is spending with you. Even if it's me, you should never count on someone else for what you need to do yourself. Never take for granted when someone shows interest in your music."

Our editor laughed and said, "Especially when he's a music journalist!"

Dr. Ralph, "Well, I don't know about that, but especially when it's someone who could be talking to any of the rest of us right now, but he's talking to you."

About a week later, a letter arrived. Inside the envelope, handwritten on a sheet of three-hiole notebook paper, was a nice letter from young Nathan. Of course, it was a thank-you for the time and interview that became a topic on the radio the Saturday following the conversation.

Chalk it up to a grandfather's pride that the family's youngest musician was following in his footsteps. Note that what the master was teaching was based on experience. Or, instead, recognize that all the practical dimensions were based in one place: a religious man who lived the teachings and tenets of love and respect, and knew that, whatever success he attained from his sought-after musical prowess, he still knew his own happiness was based on being an involved, caring person and a nice guy.


# 2 news feature


The big-deal annual "SUMMERGRASS FESTIVAL" happens August 19-20-21, 2016 , at a marvelous outdoor museum venue that regulars call "The Farm" in Vista (San Diego County). The festival is complete with a "Boot Camp, Kids Camp, Raffle," and more. We have info on a lot of that, plus why you should become a volunteer, and the performance lineup and schedule for all three days. Summergrass San Diego happens at the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum, a unique venue that harkens back to 19th and 20th century farm days. It's brimming with rural farm nostalgia from that era. It's like a farm, but with steam and gas engines chugging away on historic tractors, farm equipment, steampunkish industrial and Jurassic-y household contraptions, and other relics. There's the Weaver's Barn, the Farmhouse, the Schoolhouse, the 1930s gas station replica (posted price "32 cents a gallon" which is really expensive for back when), a yuge model railroad, the Blacksmith shop, and lots and lots of farm machinery to delight young and old. Full information on Tickets, Schedule, Camping and more is at:

This year Summergrass offers a stellar lineup:
♪ The Gibson Brothers
♪ David Parmley & Cardinal Tradition
♪ Chris Henry & Hardcore Grass
♪ Bluegrass Etc.
♪ Rocky Neck Bluegrass
♪ Sweet Tidings
♪ Virtual Strangers
♪ Vintage Martins
♪ Burning Hearts
♪ This Just In
♪ Gone Tomorrow
♪ Old Town Road

This combination of national and regional bands is highlighted on a turn-of-the-19th century stage built by the museum folks just for the festival. It's constructed without nails, using just dowels and pins to hold it together.

3 Days of live music from 12 national and local bands, activities including a Kids Camp, Meet the Bands, music workshops and family-friendly things to do, and spontaneous jam sessions, plus instrument raffles, tasty food, and a variety of vendors. Summergrass is a whole-family affordable event and not too far to drive.


If you've ever wanted to know how the pros do it, this is your chance. Summergrass Adult Boot Camp is "an intense music seminar for intermediate to advanced adults," happening Friday, August 19, from 9:30 am to 1 pm (no lunch break).

The instructors this year are:

Banjo - Dennis Caplinger
Mandolin - Chris Henry
Guitar - John Moore
Fiddle - Tom Cunningham
For info contact Jeff Johanning, 951-302-1503 or email or follow the Boot Camp link on their site and down load a registration form.

The BAND SCRAMBLE returns. The INSTRUMENT RAFFLE includes top-of-the-line instruments. The "First Annual Pie Society Meeting" offers pie bakers a competition.


Volunteers save $70 off the gate ticket price. 4 hours volunteer time = 1 day Summergrass admission; 8 hours = 2 days; 12 hours = 3 days.

The signup link is:

1. Pick a job and click VIEW
2. Sign in with your email
3. Pick a date/time and click SIGN UP
You will be notified of the availability of your gate pass and reminded of your shift commitment. If you prefer, contact Jim Henderson, the festival's Volunteer Coordinator, at 760-301-6626, or at and you can be signed-up manually.


3 pm - Rocky Neck Bluegrass
4 pm - Chris Henry & Hardcore Grass
5 pm - Old Town Road
6 pm - Dinner Break
7 pm - Burning Hearts
8 pm - Bluegrass Etc.
9 pm - Chris Henry & Hardcore Grass

10 am -This Just In
11 am - Bluegrass Etc.
12 noon - Chris Henry & Hardcore Grass
1 pm - lunch break / jams
2 pm - Virtual Strangers
3 pm - Vintage Martins
4 pm - Gibson Brothers
5 pm - Bluegrass Etc.
6 pm - Dinner Break / Jams
7 pm - Rocky Neck Bluegrass
8 pm - David Parmley & Cardinal Tradition
9 pm -Gibson Brothers

9 am - Sweet Tidings
10 am - David Parmley & Cardinal Tradition
11 am - Gone Tomorrow
12 noon - Kids on Stage
12:30 pm -Rocky Neck Bluegrass
1:15 pm - lunch break /
2 pm - David Parmley & Cardinal Tradition
3 pm - Gibson Brothers
3:50 pm - Instrument Raffle Drawings
4 pm - Vintage Martins
5 pm - festival ends


You can camp at the festival, or stay at the La Quinta Inn in Vista. Official Summergrass " Stay where the artists stay" lodgings at La Quinta Inn, 630 Sycamore Av, Vista 92083. Room reservations, 760-727-8180. Located a short drive from the festival.


Summergrass is produced by the San Diego North County Bluegrass & Folk Club, the San Diego Bluegrass Society, and the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum. All are 501 (c) 3 non-profit organizations.

For custom info, email:
phone: 858-679-4854


Advance tix save money. Check out prices and when they ramp-up, at:


# # news feature


Lots happening. Things of a vast variety. Jump right in and find something of your liking, happening this weekend and beyond.

Friday & Saturday, July 8 & 9: Annual "LOTUS FESTIVAL" at Echo Park Lake, 751 Echo Park Av, in Echo Park. Note thet I SEE HAWKS IN L.A. plays Friday night at 8 pm. The Lotus Festival in Los Angeles celebrates Asian Pacific cultures with two days of attractions and entertainment in scenic Echo Lake Park. The festivities take place in July when the eponymous flower is in bloom, and the weekend kick-offs with an opening ceremony, continuing with live music, a film screening, cultural performances and more. Teams compete in the colorful Dragon Boat Race on the lake and there are martial arts demonstrations and dance showcases, both traditional and contemporary. Each year, the festival focuses on a different ethnicity within the Asian Pacific region. Always fun.

7th Annual "L.A. FOOD FEST" in Exposition Park, Friday night, July 8, and Saturday & Sunday, July 9 & 10, begins at 11 am on the weekend. It's billed as "L.A.'s largest and most affordable tasting event," and proclaims that it "just got even better." TIME OUT Magazine's #1 reader-voted event in Los Angeles returns for its seventh consecutive year to present three nights and two full days of food, entertainment, culture and community for Angelenos, by Angelenos. The event kicks off Friday with a dinner celebrating the Food Fest's past and present. The main event spans an all-inclusive VIP "Golden Hour." The general admission MRKT opens at 2 pm, where attendees can choose their own adventure with food, drink and more for purchase from 100+ food, beverage, beer, wine and craft cocktail vendors each day. Tickets start at $15. Tix and more info at:

Sunday, July 10, 2-5 pm BULLFISH plays Viva Cantina, 900 Riverside Dr, Burbank. There are two stages there, and this is the band playing the Trailside Room (the back room). Viva Cantina is located at the entrance to the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. Cover is one purchase from bar or menu. Free parking across the street at Pickwick. Good food, great margaritas, and in that back room, there's a lovely view of the riders and horses strollin' by. In addition to the music.

Sun, Jul 10, 4 pm: KING WASHINGTON, four talented and very musical guys with three guitars, two acoustic, one electric, play Alvas Showroom, 1417 W 8th St, San Pedro 90732; reservations, 310-519-1314; Tix, $20. Complimentary hot coffee, tea, cocoa, and a filtered water fountain are provided. Bring your own food & drinks. They are: Tyson Kelly - guitar, vocals, keyboards; George Krikes - guitar; Billy Lee - bass, vocals; David Contreras - drums.

Sat & Sun, Jul 16 & 17: 32nd Annual "BILL PICKETT INVITATIONAL RODEO" rides in Southern California, celebrating the rich tradition of the black cowboy, at the Industry Hills Expo Center. Info & tix, www.billpickettrodeo,com

Sat, July 23, 7:30 pm: I SEE HAWKS IN L.A., plus TONY GILKYSON, at the Folk Music Center & Museum, 220 Yale Avenue, Claremont CA 91711; 909-624-2928. Acoustic music in a great setting from a well-toured (including England, many times) L.A.-based Americana band. Plus Tony Gilkyson, and you've got a memorable evening. Doors open at 7, 7:30 concert. Call 'em for tix.

Tue, Aug 2: I See Hawks In L.A. at the Hi Hat, 5043 York Bl, Highland Park; 323-258-4427. Music starts at 8 pm, Hawks play at 10 pm. All Ages.

Sat, Aug 13: Annual "SO-CAL HOEDOWN" brings THE BLASTERS, I SEE HAWKS IN L.A. with the legendary WANDA JACKSON, SHOOTER JENNINGS OFFICIAL with WAYMORE'S OUTLAWS, NEKROMANTIX, and many more, at the corner of 4th and French in Downtown Santa Ana.

Sat, Aug 20:: ALIAS MEANS with PAUL MARSHALL play the weekly "RANCH PARTY" concert presented by EB's Beer & Wine Bar in the West Food Court, at L.A.'s historic Farmer's Market, 6333 W 3rd St (3rd & Fairfax), Los Angeles 90036. Music runs 7:30-10 pm. Free.

Sat, Sep 10, 8-11:30 pm: I SEE HAWKS IN L.A. play Pappy and Harriet's Pioneertown Palace in the High Desert, 53688 Pioneertown Rd, Pioneertown 92268; 760-365-5956. It's always a party at Pappy and Harriet's.

More soon.


# 4 news feature


"Find success during a string of gigs" is the promise of CD manufacturing firm Discmakers with their free downloadable gigging guide. These folks have been at it since 1946, so they have a thing or two to share.

They say, "Maybe you’re just starting out — hitting a few spots back-to-back as the hometown hero. Maybe things are a bit bigger — a tour bus, five states, and a brand new album to promote. Whatever your path may be, 'The Indie Artist’s Guide to Gigging' provides essential information for any musician looking to make some waves on tour."

Main subjects include:
♪ Are you really ready to tour?
♪ Booking strategies
♪ Time well spent on the road
♪ Preparing for the night of
♪ And much, much more

*** You can get your hands on this resource right now. Download your free GIGGING GUIDE at:

*** How about some SONGWRITING HELP? In "Songwriters on Songwriting," five successful songwriters weigh-in on how to write a great song, how to work past writer's block, co-writing, knowing when your song is finished, and more. It's a free download at:

The company bringing you these valuable freebies is Disc Makers, They have set the standard for independent artists for 65 years, and have grown to be the leader in CD and DVD manufacturing for musicians, businesspeople, and filmmakers.
Take a look at their range of services, from post-production expertise to a tune up of your project to distribution packages to help you sell your finished product.
Read more on "Disc Duplication & Replication Services by Disc Makers" at:


# 5 news feature

TWO LEVITT PAVILIONS SEASONS GET UNDERWAY: PASADENA AND L.A. — Hear "MacArthur Park" by its writer, IN MacArthur Park; catch TROUT FISHING IN AMERICA in Pasadena; and twin Schedule Sweet Spots of Americana Music

We'll start with Pasadena, then get you to L.A. And we'll take things out of scheduled sequence. Because...

* TROUT FISHING IN AMERICA, a big time folk festival headliner, is doing a FREE show at Levitt Pasadena on Thursday, July 14. Activities begin at 5:30, and main stage music starts at 7 pm. Go early for good blanket-sprawling or beach chair claiming grassy ground. Take a picnic, but no alcohol, 'cause booze'll get ya busted. Trout Fishing in America is the long-standing and yet seemingly unlikely musical partnership of Keith Grimwood and Ezra Idlet. As individuals, they are about as different as one can imagine. Together, they blend seamlessly in a way that has captured the imagination (and hearts) of audiences of all ages for over three decades. Ezra on guitar and banjo stands 6’8″ tall while Keith on bass stretches to 5’5 1/2″ on a humid day. Ezra is more playful and extroverted while Keith is more serious and reserved. Each of them bring out the best in the other and the joy that comes from this musical interaction is contagious and impossible to deny. Trout Fishing in America was in the first wave of artist-owned labels (Trout Records) to successfully record and market their own music. Their recordings have garnered multiple national awards as well as four Grammy nominations. More at:

Levitt Pavilion in Memorial Park is at 85 E Holly St, Pasadena 91103. Ride the Gold Line light rail to Memorial Park Station and you're quite literally right there.


* Friday, July 8, Americana band BRIGHTSIDE brings a high-energy to Led by guitarist and vocalist Clayton Joseph Scott, Brightside is influenced by singer-songwriter legends such as Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, and Bob Marley. They step in the path of modern roots/rock performers, like Michael Franti to deliver a positive message, while invigorating audiences of all cultures to dance with a purpose. Activities commence Friday at 6:30, and main stage music begins at 8 pm. More at:

* Saturday, July 9th, the free show at Levitt Pasadena is by AREA 51, an eclectic Santa Barbara-based "dance band" with a varied playlist of Funk, Soul, R&B, Motown, Disco, Rock & Roll, and modern hits from the '60s, '70s, '80s, & '90s. Activities begin at 6:30 pm, main stage music at 8 pm. More at:

* Sunday, July 10th brings TIZER — a 2011 nominee for “Jazz Group of the Year” — to Levitt Pasadena, Activities start at 5:30 pm, concert at 7 pm.

* Friday, July 15, it's Americana band DARLINGSIDE at Levitt Pasadena. Friday, July 15. Activities commence at 6:30, main stage show at 8 pm. More info at:

* Saturday, July 16, catch acoustic Americana artist SAM LLANAS in Pasadena. Activities start at 6:30 pm, concert at 8 pm. Sam Llanas is an iconic American singer-songwriter from the midwest. He is considered a forefather of what is now called Americana music. Over his 30 year career, he has sold more than a million records, writing songs in the vein of artists like Bob Seger, Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp and Tom Petty. Sam Llanas has shared the stage with U2, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Tom Petty, David Bowie, Merle Haggard, Los Lobos. and many more. It’s his astounding unique voice that you hear on Robbie Robertson's classic song, "Somewhere Down the Crazy River." Sam Llanas (formerly of the BoDeans) will perform his most beloved songs, including “She’s a Runaway,” “Naked,” “True Devotion,” “Feed The Fire,” and his biggest hit, “Closer To Free.” More at:



Yep, THERE'S MORE, on Pasadena's "Grassyhill Emerging Artists Side Stage"...
* Friday, July 8, at 7 pm - Big Language
* Saturday, July 9, at 7 pm - Yioma Chuta
* Sunday, July 10, at 6 pm - Shaun B & Company

PLUS, pre-concert workshops (you can catch 'em throughout the season) are made possible by a grant from the Tournament of Roses Foundation.



The Levitt Pavilion in MacArthur Park kicks-off its season on Saturday, July 9, with JIMMY WEBB. The legendary Grammy-winning songwriter performs his “MacArthur Park” in the place that inspired it. Webb reveals the story behind that song and more of his hits – most of which were written in L.A. – including “Wichita Lineman,” ‘The Worst That Could Happen,” “All I Know,” and a range of others, unbelievably all written by the same person. And you'll hear all of them in a FREE concert that will give you a new perspective on how songs that so many have loved on the radio for half a century all came to be. Activities get underway at 6:30 pm, main stage music -- a A pop culture moment not to be missed -- begins at 8 pm. More at:

Jimmy’s Facebook page ( ) offers a fun countdown of some of the many and varied artists who have covered the Park’s namesake song over the years.

Picnic items with sweet green icing, to fully experience the lyrics, are optional. You are, indeed invited to bring a picnic, but no alcohol is allowed.

“Few singers blend grit and grandeur like Jimmy Webb…[his] voice is like an old Mustang heading through a treacherous yet often gorgeous landscape.” — Rolling Stone.

“At an age when other singers are losing their voices, Mr. Webb finds his mercurial, unguarded, singing…attaining the gritty authority of a softhearted country outlaw’s…Mr. Webb is still at the top of his game.” — Stephen Holden, The New York Times.

*** Sunday, July 10, Levitt L.A. brings the fave of generations of L.A.'s kids, THE BOB BAKER MARIONETTES. Activities, with PLENTY for the young short people, begin at 5, with the main stage performance getting underway at 7 pm. More at:


Venue is Levitt Pavilion, the renovated historic bandshell in MacArthur Park, 2230 W 6th St, Los Angeles 90057. You can ride the Red or Purple line subway and walk across the park to the venue, which is likely a shorter walk than it'll be from someplace you can find parking.


# 6 news feature


Something you can download, free, is the subject of this piece. But if we just print a url, you'll pass it by. And you really won't want to do that, once you know what it's about. So bear with us while we offer a bit of perspective as reason why you want to go get this free download.

We're not certain how broadly based this series is or will be. Presumably it will look at the last hundred years, or the full scope of the twentieth century. The episode in question here is a look at some specific aspects of World War II, including a very remarkable wartime musical event. Sure, there have been dozens of documentaries over the seven decades since World War II ended. The best of them do not leave you quite the same as you were. That can be true on many levels.

Some have been remarkable for the inclusion of music, occasionally by renowned composers. The 1950s brought the "Victory at Sea" series, with music by Richard Rogers that sold in individual records and boxed sets for three decades in record stores. The BBC produced "The World at War" in the '70s with a suitably dramatic soundtrack. Most recently, "World War II in Color" took black & white film, added new orchestral music, and applied computerized colorization for a generation that presumably refuses to watch B&W. (Though plenty of young people flock to film festivals to see "Casablanca," "Stagecoach," the Marx Brothers catalog, Laurel & Hardy, The Three Stooges, and other classics that, by law, cannot be colorized, so go figure. But we were talking about WWII documentaries.

The latest edition of this documentary comes from deep-digs in film archives. Best we can tell, it flies under just about everyone's radar, and we can tell you that it deserves more.

Produced by NHK, the Japanese television giant, it has English narration and uses film from around the world. Both B&W and color, much of it is rare or unseen since it was taken and catalogued, or simply processed and warehoused. There is some annoying editing in terms of the jumping-around that disorients the sequence of many events. That's because it takes things topically rather than chronologically. But forgive that minor flaw. We're writing about it here because of the musical dimensions. The series' soundtrack is suitably notable, but not outstanding. But some of the content is amazing. Like learning that starving prisoners in the Auschwitz death camp formed a choir, and one of their performances was the "Ode to Joy: from Beethoven's Ninth.

What really inspired us to tell you about it was another, more fully developed story of a powerful music performance / music history segment in the same episode. it just aired on KCET's Japan channel, and you can catch it there in several repeats this weekend. Here's the story that captivated us.

You may know that iconic Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich wrote his "Symphony Number 7: Leningrad," during, and to tell the story of, the Nazi's World War II siege of the city. (It is now renamed St. Petersburg since the dissolution of the Soviet Union). The debut of the epic work was broadcast to most of the world from inside the besieged city, where residents -- including the symphony's musicians -- were starving. It was a landmark of inspiration to the populations of Allied nations, and to soldiers and sailors of Allied forces at the time, and orchestras throughout the world made a big deal of performing it for their home crowds, and for the troops, for the duration of the war.

History notes those things. But history seldom reports the rest of the story. The documentary does, and does it masterfully.

The NHK film has footage of Shostakovich himself, inside Leningrad, making the full story come alive. In that footage, we see the composer speaking of stirring the spirit of humanity, through music, to put an end to fascism, to oppression, and to everything that would stifle humanity's highest aspirations. And unlike most sources that report "about" the performance from the ruined, starving city, we learn more. You see, Shostakovich very openly challenged the murderous regime of Soviet ruler Joseph Stalin. The composer included Stalin in his dramatic and breathtakingly courageous condemnation of fascism, asserting the rights of peoples everywhere, proclaiming all were entitled to peace, to pursuing their dreams, to advancing mankind, and to living in a better world. He did thjat at a time when any criticism of Stalinist edicts, however slight, got you killed in the Soviet Union.

Hearing key passages of the symphony with the alternating on-screen and spoken narration of the defiant and unparsed words of Dmitri Shostakovich is truly remarkable and highly recommended.

"A Century on Film" is available for streaming and download for two weeks after the broadcast of each new episode. View or download this edition now, at:


# 7 news feature


Grammy Award winner Michelle Shocked, long a favorite of nu-folk fans, returns to the stage after a three-year hiatus with a tour of “The Mercury Trilogy.” These performances showcase Michelle's classic albums: "Short, Sharp, Shocked," "Captain Swing," & "Arkansas Traveler." These albums will be played in their entirety at each concert and will incorporate an unprecedented theatrical dimension yet to be experienced in Michelle's work.

Michelle Shocked is a traveling troubadour whose musical talent is so eclectic it is difficult to categorize. As a young feminist, she left Texas to travel, Kerouac-style, and was caught up in Reagan-era grassroots politics. Her musical career was ignited by a bootleg recording made around a Kerrville Folk Festival campfire on a Sony Walkman. In a 30-year career that has seen critical acclaim at every juncture, she famously escaped major-label indentured servitude in 1996, subverting the artist-label relationship that helped lead to the current trend toward artistic self-containment. She has made good use of her independence, releasing more critically-acclaimed albums on her Mighty Sound label. Her 2009 album, "Soul of My Soul," was the latest of these.

"Michelle Shocked" is the nom de guerre given at her arrest in a political protest called "The War Chest Tour" during the 1984 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco, California. The demonstration challenged the practice of U.S. corporations receiving lucrative military contracts from the U.S. government while giving generous campaign contributions to both political parties, thus benefiting from political favors regardless of election results. "Michelle Shocked" was intended to invoke the specter of "shell shock" as a result of Reagan's Cold War policies. A committed Occupy Wall Street activist, she is now engaged in the Bernie Sanders revolution, and a fierce supporter of the grassroots artists' rights hashtag campaign, #IRespectMusic.

Michelle chose the artistic nexus of Saratoga Springs, NY, as the staging ground for launching “The Mercury Trilogy.” The Saratoga shows are being followed by various stops throughout the Northeast through July, culminating in a 24-night residency at "The Edinburgh Fringe Festival," the largest arts festival in the world.

At Edinburgh, Michelle will play "The Mercury Trilogy" over the full 24 consecutive nights, playing each album one night in sequential three-day intervals. After each of the three-day cycles, she will augment her backing band with top players from around the world, along with local Scottish talent, to create what she is calling "an ever-evolving accrued sonic density." This experience will reach its cathartic and celebratory apex as she performs the trilogy over the final three days of the festival with a monumental collective of performers backing her.

Immediately following the Edinburgh Festival, Michelle will embark on an eight-week tour of Ireland, England, and Scotland, taking, as she puts it, "the spirit and anarchic core of the residency on the road."

In 2017, Michelle will expand The Mercury Trilogy Tour to include 12 weeks of dates throughout continental Europe, followed, at last, by 12 weeks of dates in the US and Canada.

In the Spring of 2016, Michelle created the arts / activist collective “1000 Yard” with co-artistic director Josh Chambers. The mission of “1000 Yard,” she explains, "is to decimate exploitative institutions in the American performing arts culture, while providing viable alternatives to artists everywhere – challenging the belief that humane, respectful, sustainable production models for the performing arts are unattainable - and asserting that this mentality comes from either a complete and utter lack of imagination, or from the pervasive interests of those who benefit from this exploitation."

“1000 Yard” is also a producing entity – producing opera, film, music, theater, visual art, and literature while adhering at the bare minimum to the nationally accepted living wage of $15 per hour. “1000 Yard” intends to fight for those individuals who have been dismissed, debased, and disenfranchised by the culture at large, and to support and cultivate their artistic efforts.


# 8 news feature


Carson McHone is an Americana artist from Austin, Texas, with a sound that L.A.'s alt-country "Grand Ol' Echo" fans will love. She has shared the stage with Ryan Bingham, Lydia Loveless, Charlie Mars, David Ramirez, and Jerry Jeff Walker, among others. Carson toured as direct support for Shakey Graves in June 2015, and more recently with Gary Clark Jr. for his spring 2016 tour. Carson will continue touring throughout the rest of the year promoting her newly released full length album "Goodluck Man."

She released her debut self-titled EP in 2013 and toured nationally and internationally in its support. Her vocals are featured on Shinyribs‘ newest album "Okra Candy," a 2015 release, on Ray Wylie Hubbard’s newest song “Chick Singer Badass Rockin,” as well as on a duet on Mike and The Moonpies, their 2015 release, "Mockingbird." In 2014, McHone was selected as one of six songwriters to represent the city of Austin in “Project #ATX6.” That group played showcases in Toronto, Canada at NXNE (North By Northeast Festival) and toured Northern Germany, culminating in a sold-out showcase at the "Reeperbahn Festival" in Hamburg.

Carson McHone's West Coast Tour Dates...

July 16 - Timberfest! - Carnation, WA
July 17 - Triple Door - Seattle, WA
July 18 - Volcanic Theater - Bend, OR
July 20 - DNA Lounge - San Francisco, CA
July 21 - The Mint - Los Angeles, CA


# 9 news feature


RICHARD BYFORD has been hosting a music performance-interview podcast for some time, and it's been quite a while since we've mentioned it. This week's show features the talented San Francisco-based artist LISA SNYDERMAN who is, of late, performing as AOEDE (no, we're not sure which are the long vowels and which are the short). We already know she's worth a listen, as a rose by her previous name, and a listen'll let you learn how she pronounces it.

Check out the artist AOEDE out at

Listen to the podcast of "On The Village Green" at:


# 10 news feature


In Southern California, a festival of Sea Chanteys or Maritime music is rather rare and therefore a big deal. In the Pacific Northwest, they happen all the time and they're a big deal. Many of North America's best nautical music groups are located there. So you get multiple Shanty Sings (or Chantey Sings) purt near every week around Puget Sound and out on the islands, especially when the weather is warm and any rain is, too. In addition to what the local nautical museums host, or can tell you about, we have a resource you need to know. She's the queen of maritime music for the entire region. And she does a weekly email that reports, well, everything. Now, don't wait 'til the last minute and expect miracles. But a polite email to her will get you on the list for a short time or permanently. She's Alice Winship. (You just knew there had to be a "ship" there somewhere, didn't you?) Her email is:


# 11 news feature


Our friends at Deering, the always-innovative California-based banjo makers, published this Thursday. As we often do, we are taking advantage of the permission they have given us to share feature stories from their publication, "Hooks & Nuts," whose information appears on their website and/or blog ( ).

How To Transpose Music On the Banjo Using I, IV, V Chords

by Barry Hunn

Transposing is moving a song from one key to another. There are often two questions that new banjo players ask about this musical technique:
1. Why would I want to transpose a song?
2. How do I change the key of a song?
Both are addressed in this "how to" feature.

Why Do I Need To Transpose Music?

Sometimes, a singer has difficulty singing a song in a certain key. By changing the key, the song can be “placed” or “pitched” to fit the singer’s comfortable vocal range.

In addition to singers, there are some instruments that players find certain keys easier to finger. Mandolin and fiddle players often like playing in keys like A and D. Concertina players are sometimes limited to a specific key.

For banjo players, there are certain songs where the fingerings work best when played in the open tuning of the banjo, whether it is capoed or open.


What are the mechanics?

I’ve created a list of chords one on top of the other to show how chords relate to each other from key to key. But first, here are a couple of highly generalized rules of thumb about keys and changing key when transposing.

When we say a song is in the key of G that means the melody and the other chords all revolve around the G chord. Here is an example using a song written in the key of G, “You Are My Sunshine”. I’m listing just the words for the chorus and above the words are the chords that are strummed on the banjo during that section of the song.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You'll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away

Notice in this example, the song starts on a G chord and ends on a G chord. This is quite typical in most folk, popular, rock ‘n roll, pop, and even in classical and jazz music.

So here is a list of the chords used above in the song “You Are My Sunshine.” G, C, D

If you were playing your banjo with a singer and the singer could not sing the song in the key of G and told you “I usually sing this in A”, you would use the following chords: A, D, E.

All this means, if you go back to the song “You Are My Sunshine” wherever you see a G chord you would play an A chord. Wherever you would see a C chord, you would play a D chord. And wherever you would see a D chord, you would play an E chord.

In the list below, you will see G, C, and D. Underneath these three chords there will be other chords that will correspond to G, C, and D. It is most common to use Roman numerals when talking about the number of the chord. The I chord (this is a Roman numeral meaning the one chord) will always be the key that you are going to playing the song in. Here is the list:

I Chord IV Chord V Chord
F ---------------Bb------------C

Try It For Yourself

If you know the song “You Are My Sunshine” try strumming it using these various groups of three chords.

Start with the I chord on the far left of the list and wherever you see the G chord in the example above, put in one of the other I chord for the key you are playing the song in. Then reading the list from left to right use the chords on the same line as the I chord that you used.

For example:

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You'll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away

You have now just transposed the song from the key of G, to the key of F.

Here is another “You Are My Sunshine” example in which you will play it in the key of C:

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You'll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away

Knowing How To Transpose Music Is Handy

Being able to play in different keys makes you far more versatile. You can then accommodate instruments that are unable to play in some keys and you can also accommodate singers who need to place their voice in a range that is more comfortable.

As an exercise, take a few songs that you know well enough to hum, look at the chords listed above, and interchange the chords with the chords you usually use.

For example, if you know a song that has G, C, and D in it then transpose it to one of the other keys listed above. You will quickly start to see that while the chords on your banjo sound a little different when playing the song, the melody still works with the new set of chords.

The other wonderful aspect of transposing chords is you begin to see patterns that are common in every kind of music. And… It’s not such a bad thing to be very versatile and accommodating when playing with other musicians.


# 12 news feature

8th ANNUAL BHAKTI FEST: Thousands of All Ages Gather for a Transformational Event

And now for something completely different. Bhakti Fest is billed as "the preeminent sacred music and yoga festival dedicated to bringing spiritual consciousness and earthly freedom" to attendees and to the global recipients of shared proceeds of this nonprofit festival’s charitable endeavors. It returns to the Joshua Tree Retreat Center September 7-12.

Bhakti Fest offers nonstop conscious music and Kirtan/chanting on two stages, in a wide of variety of musical genres including blues, rock, pop, gospel, traditional, and hip-hop.

"A beloved annual event on the calendars of spiritual seekers, yogis, families, girlfriend squads, and others looking for an end of summer festival to commune with nature, each other and the divine" is what is proclaimed. Bhakti Fest has now expanded its offerings beyond the top yoga teachers, Kirtan artists and workshop leaders, to include features such as a Family Village for "parent and me yoga," kids music, and more, as well as a "Sound-Bath Dome" and "Sound Healings Under the Stars," the latest trend in musical meditation. In addition to its always enlightening workshop program, Bhakti Fest also hosts a "Sacred Women’s Tent" and a "Men’s Lodge" offering gender-specific programming. There, topics covered include Tantra, empowerment, and redefining masculinity.

Along with the new highlights, the event is known internationally for hosting a massive lineup of Kirtan musicians, master yoga instructors, and spiritual teachers. Bhakti Fest draws thousands of consciousness explorers from the U.S. and around the world. Kirtan and reggae influenced singer-songwriter Trevor Hall, known for his hits “Brand New Day,” “The Lime Tree,” “Unity,” and other songs, will headline the event. Other returning headliners include Grammy nominee Krishna Das; Jai Uttal, with his high energy reggae and ska-influenced Kirtan set; revolutionary hip-hop artist MC YOGI; and long-time Madonna collaborator Donna De Lory.

This year’s musicians also include the Kirtaniyas, Dave Stringer, Sean Johnson & the Wild Lotus Band, Saul David Raye, David Newman, Govind Das & Radha, Gina Sala, Girish, Brenda McMorrow, Gandharvas Kirtan, Larisa Stow & Shakti Tribe, Sri Kirtan, Fannah Fi Allah, Shantala and Pranja Vieira.

Several thousand participants share sacred space with the world’s finest teachers of spiritual knowledge, yoga, and breath-work. The festival will feature twelve hours of daily yoga classes in four venues, facilitated by incomparable teachers: Shiva Rea, Saul David Raye, Mark Whitwell, Kia Miller, Jennica Mills, Laura Plumb, Erica Burkhalter, Jaya Lakshmi & Ananda, Hemalayaa Behl, Mas Vidal, Janet Stone, and Kristin Olson, to name only a few. All levels of students are welcome—beginner and advanced yogis alike are encouraged to join! There is something for everyone.

The Bhakti Fest workshops aim to enlighten all attendees with talks by as Radhanath Swami, a philanthropist and author of "The Journey Home," who presents on his incredible spiritual journey; breath-work phenomenon, Michael Brian Baker whose students say his class “provides a life changing experience;” Manoj Chalam, a Murti scholar who uses humor and personal anecdotes in his lectures and workshops to illuminate Hindu mythology; and many more.

Presenters in the Sacred Women’s Tent include Dawn Cartwright, a Tantric visionary, sacred writer, world traveler, and innovator in bio-energetic Tantra fusion; Monika Nataraj, the creatrix of the 200-hour Mystical Dance® and Shakti Spirit® women’s teacher trainings in Thailand who also co-leads the Mystical Yogini women’s teacher training in India; Joanne Ameya Cohen a Certified Women’s Herbalist and Flower Essence Therapist, Plant Spirit Medicine Practitioner, Feminine Embodiment Mentor, Counselor, and Shamanic Practitioner, who is passionate about helping women to let go of past pains and hurts in order to reclaim their Wild Feminine; among others.

In the Men’s Lodge, Zat Baraka will help men to step out of the confines of their societal conditionings and into the new masculine way of being; other men’s lodge speakers will be announced. As always the annual festival will deliver an exclusive interview with Bhakti Fest elder, and spiritual icon, Ram Dass, whose book "Be Here Now" helped bring Eastern philosophy to the West in the 1960s.

Bhakti Fest also offers a healing sanctuary with massage, bodywork, energy work, and other wellness enhancing modalities. In addition, Bhaktis will feast on a variety of raw, vegan, and vegetarian food and beverage options. There is an extensive marketplace with eco-friendly, sustainable vendors who offer yoga gear, clothing, devotional art, musical instruments, CDs, crafts, jewelry and more. Bhakti Fest’s own Bhakti Shoppe will feature highly sought-after items from the bazaars of India.

Bhakti Fest is a vegetarian, family friendly, safe environment, free of alcohol and drugs. Children age 12 and under are allowed in for free and there is a specific Bhakti Family Village where children can take part in music, yoga and enlightened play.

The Joshua Tree Retreat Center offers a perfect setting for inner reflection and spiritual reconnection, with its natural high desert beauty. Accommodations onsite include new private apartments, beds in the men’s and women’s dorms, glamping, camping, and RV parking. There are also several hotels within a few miles of the retreat center that offer discounts for attendees. Info on lodging is available at

With a world-class lineup of musicians and yoga instructors, more than 60 conscious workshops, and 100 artisan vendors, Bhakti Fest asserts that it "offers the most heart-opening, consciousness-raising experience of any festival on the scene today." Attendees describe the festival as “being immersed in the greatest conscious party you have ever experienced, filled with music, yoga, dancing, love, light, and heart centered community.”

Tickets for Bhakti Fest West 2016 are available at:

Bhakti Fest is a nonprofit 501c3 organization and accepts tax-deductible donations. The festival donates a percentage of its funds to charities and other nonprofit groups that provide food, education, and environmental beautification programs around the world. These include Food for Life Vrindavan, Love Serve Remember Foundation, Ramana’s Garden, Seva Foundation, Share Your Care, and Woman’s Earth Alliance.

Bhakti Fest enjoys support of generous sponsors; I-CODA, Organic India, Health Ade Kombucha, Desert Essence, Coconut Bliss, Divinitree Yoga & Art Studio, Shakti Juice and White Swan Records.

More info at:


# 13 news feature

Late addition / THIS JUST IN...


Folk Alliance Region West (FAR-West) and Radio Submit have joined forces to advance the progression of Roots / Folk music across the globe. Radio Submit will present music from FAR-West "Official Showcase" artists to radio stations via their digital online music distribution network. This network includes thousands of member radio stations that utilize the website to discover and download broadcast quality music tracks.

FAR-West hosts an annual four day conference open to artists, presenters, related music professionals and other supporters. FAR-West's ongoing mission is to foster and promote traditional, contemporary and multicultural folk music, dance, storytelling and related performing arts in the West. FAR-West welcomes a wide variety of styles, levels and disciplines and encourages musical and cultural diversity and excellence. The next conference, which will feature the "Official Showcase" performances for 2016, is in Washington State in October.

Folk Alliance Region West (FAR-West) is the western regional affiliate of Folk Alliance International and includes California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, and Hawaii in the USA, and Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon and Northwest Territories in Canada.

Radio Submit is a powerful interface that allows artists and record companies to deliver crucial artist information to a variety of media outlets, including AM / FM radio, TV, print and digital destinations. Radio Submit was also the first to offer this full service EPK with the added capability of delivering broadcast-quality music. Radio Submit was created by, and is run by, music business professionals who know the value of helping artists go to advance their exposure and enhance their career paths.

Radio Submit representatives will join an assortment of industry experts as panel members at the FAR-West 2016 Conference, October 13th through 16th at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Bellevue, Washington.

Registration for the conference is now open. FAR-West is offering a variety of discounts to Folk Alliance International members, Canadian members, qualifying radio DJs and hosts, house concert presenters, small music performance venues, and AFM Local 1000 members.

Full info and registration for the 2016 FAR-West conference is on the organization's website, at:

The site also offers samples and downloads of all the latest New Music Releases currently going for radio adds via Radio Submit. Listen to samples of several radio programs looking for radio syndication at:

Radio Submit gives record labels and artists the ability to distribute high bit-rate broadcast quality music and promotion material to radio stations around the world for airplay consideration. their spokesperson tells us, "Getting radio airplay has never been easier using our digital music system. Radio Station programmers can now listen to you, view your promotion material and video, then download your new music and play it on their stations."

Artists, labels, songwriters & record promoters are invited to load your new music today for radio stations around the globe to consider your tracks for airplay.

Radio Submit's offices:

Utah Office:
Radio Submit
375 South Main - #127
Moab, UT 84532

Texas Office:
Phone: (512) 938-3461
13501 Ranch Rd. 12
Ste. 103-327
Wimberley, TX 78676

Florida Office:
9526 Argyle Forest Blvd.
Jacksonville, Florida 32222

Their global website and contact phone are:
Phone: 512-938-3461

For information on Folk Alliance-Region West (FAR-West) beyond the upcoming conference, check out:


The Guide brings you frequent editions covering MUSIC NEWS, festivals, events (from concerts to film festivals) and ticket alerts, published separately, and always available right here on the Guide's Blogspot site.

More soon, as always.

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Contents copyright © 2016, 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 forms. From the deepest roots to today’s acoustic renaissance, that’s our beat. We provide a wealth of resources, including a HUGE catalog of acoustic-friendly venues, and schedules and inside info on FESTIVALS and select performances in Southern California in venues monumentally large and intimately small and cozy. We cover workshops and other events for artists and folks in the music industry, and all kinds 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 bluegrass and pre-bluegrass Appalachian mountain music to all the roots of the blues and where the music is headed now.
The Acoustic Americana Music Guide. Thanks for sittin' a spell.


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