.Ah, the kaleidoscope of color with summer's approach. Other sites are a sheepdip of sameness. Poor Oliver Twist just gets more gruel when he pleads, "Please sir, may I have some more."
Let's get started.
Happy birthday today to musician EARL GREY.
both live and on-demand all weekend from Seattle, with "watch later" archives
This is easily one of our favorite road trips, and longtime readers can trace that back to our L.A. broadcast radio show days. 2021 is Folklife's second live/virtual pandemic year, and they have an ambitious webcast schedule daily through Memorial Day Monday.
You can get the full schedule and support the year-round nonprofit by buying some cool swag with the "50th" logo that you can wear to other concerts all summer. Link is below.
There are four channels, active at various times, covering live events streamed from the festival.
You can bounce around, between/among:
♡ 50 Years of Folklife. This channel hosts a live stream of music and dance performances, live interviews, panel presentations, and community discussions.
♡ Roadhouse. Participatory live stream of dance workshops and live dances that you can join in and dance along to virtually.
♡ Folklife Premieres. These artists are new to the Festival and are performances from Pacific Northwest artists.
♡ Gathering Room. This is a community-led virtual space for participatory singing, jams, discussions, and more.
The master link, to find all, is below.
Also note this year's festival is both sponsored by, and a benefit for, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.
When things resume for in-person attendance next year, expect a return to 26 simultaneous stages, plus music and dance exhibitions and workshops, and bunches of jams kept separated by enough distance that there's no cacophonous crosstalk. After all, the venue is the former World's Fair site, preserved in full as Seattle Center, so they have the room to make it a music explorer's adventure.
Meantime, you know the drill. Clear cyber connection. Device set not to accept interruptions. Pop some popcorn. Load up the ice bucket. Put your umbrella chair in the yard. Slather the sunscreen. And make your ears happy.
Daily webstreams offer live and on-demand options for performances and workshops, plus performances get archived. There are links to watch four channels on three sites, plus there's all the info on this year's artists and performances and programs for the year's cultural theme. And more than enough to make you want to go next year.
It's all at:
After consulting picks by writer Tree Langdon in her piece on the festival in "Illumination" (link below) and reconciling that with our own experiences, we offer the following guidance for navigating your web visit to Folk Life's 50th.
Remember, if you don't catch something live, you can consult the schedule and hit the day's archive.
■ La Famille Leger, a group of Acadian fiddlers playing traditional music, will get you up and dancing.
■ Vivian Williams, master fiddler and co-founder of Northwest Folklife.
■ Seattle Labor Chorus debuted on stage at a long-ago Northwest Folklife Festival where they were joined by none other than Pete Seeger. The Chorus continues its dedication to economic and social justice.
■ Cliff Perry Band and Friends are well known in NW Bluegrass circles, and teach Bluegrass Band class at Shoreline CC.
■ Michelle Demers Shaevitz, Board Chair for Northwest Folklife, doubles as Artistic Director of the "Mission Folk Music Festival" in Mission, BC, focusing on folk, roots, Indigenous, trad and global music.
■ Seattle Lilla Spelmanslag are Nordic folk’s next generation of musicians — all under 18, They play rhythmic, strong, lively music for dance.
■ Part 1 of the "Circle of Indigenous People Celebration" is today, Part 2 is on Monday. Check listings for performances and workshops.
Sunday, be sure you catch:
■ David Francey, presented by Mission Folk Fest. “Francey’s clear, simple songs speak volumes to his followers."
■ Jim Page, the guy who legalized busking in Seattle and has since been a major force on the scene. He was named by "Seattle Metropolitan Magazine" as “One Of The 50 Most Influential Musicians In Seattle History.”
■ Riley & Vivian, presented by Hearth Music, is Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno. Their self-titled record "is old-soul roots music to its core," says NW writer Tree Langdon.
■ Baby Gramps, presented by KBCS, has been called “The Salvador Dali of Americana Music.” You'll hear his acoustic National resonator guitar as he sings unique arrangements of rags, jazz, & blues songs from the 1920s & '30s, plus folksongs, sing-a-longs, and originals with wordplay, vaudeville antics, and -- there's more -- he does throat singing.
■ Strikes A Bell, an ensemble of sea chantey/maritime music singers from the Seattle area.
On Monday, plan to hear:
■ Lady “A,” blues and soul favorite for many years, known locally as “The Hardest Workin' Woman in Blues, Soul Funk & Gospel." A National Recording artist, she is not your ordinary Blues singer.
■ Randall Kimball, singer-songwriter who plays acoustic guitar, harmonica, and slide. He is from Haida Gwaii and currently resides in the Pacific Northwest.
■ Joe Seamons, musician and educator based in the Pacific Northwest and dedicated to helping people connect with their heritage through music and storytelling.
■ Fern Renville, theatre director, storyteller, teaching artist, and enrolled citizen of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, an eastern Dakota band of the Oceti Sakowin one of the seven council fires of the Great Sioux Nation.
■ Roger Fernandes, Native American artist and storyteller who shares the culture of the local Coast Salish tribes in his work.
■ Ryan Yellowjohn, traditional hoop dancer, of Shoshone Bannock/Quechan heritage.
Plus on Monday, there's:
■ "Face the Music: Confronting Racism With Living Legacies." It's a virtual two-part discussion about how music, traditions, heritage, and artistic lineage have powered community strength and led to insight for confronting social and racial injustice.
Read while you're listening, for deeper immersion in NWFL. There's more at:
Sad news, just in...
B.J. THOMAS DEAD AT 78
ARLINGTON, Texas – Five-time Grammy award winner and Grammy Hall of Fame inductee, B.J. Thomas, died today at home in Arlington, Texas at the age of 78 from complications due to stage four lung cancer.
Few artists have left a more indelible mark on America’s musical landscape than B.J. Thomas. With his smooth, rich voice and unerring song sense, Thomas’s expansive career crossed multiple genres, including country, pop, and gospel, earning him CMA, Dove, and Grammy awards and nominations since his emergence in the 1960s.
Thomas’ career was anchored by numerous enduring hits, among them his million-selling cover of Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” the Grammy-winning “(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song” and the iconic “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” which won the Academy Award for best original song. A five-time Grammy award winner and Grammy Hall of Fame inductee, Thomas has sold over 70 million albums worldwide, scoring eight No. 1 hits and 26 Top 10 singles over his 50+ years in the music industry. His lengthy chart history led to him being named one of Billboard’s Top 50 Most Played Artists Over The Past 50 Years. Such memorable hits as “I Just Can’t Help Believing, “Don’t Worry Baby,” “Whatever Happened To Old Fashioned Love,” “New Looks From An Old Lover” and “Hooked on a Feeling” have made him a staple on multiple radio formats over the years.
Born in rural Hugo, OK, Billy Joe Thomas moved to Houston, Texas with his family and where he grew up absorbing a variety of musical influences from the traditional country of Ernest Tubb and Hank Williams Dr. to the soulful sounds of Jackie Wilson and Little Richard, whose “Miss Ann” was the first single B.J. ever bought. He began singing in church as a child and in his teens joined the Houston-based band the Triumphs.
Thomas’s first taste of success came in 1966 when he recorded “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” with producer Huey P. Meaux. Released by Scepter Records, it peaked at No. 8 on the pop charts and became his first million-selling single. He released the follow-up single, “Mama,” and delivered his first solo album that same year.
Thomas’ second million-selling hit came in 1968 with the release of “Hooked on a Feeling,” from On My Way, his sophomore album for Scepter. During his days with the New York label, he became friendly with Ronnie Milsap and Dionne Warwick, who were also on the roster at the time. It was Warwick who introduced him to songwriter-producer Burt Bacharach.
In January 1970, Thomas topped the charts with “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head.” Penned by Bacharach and Hal David, the song was featured in the classic Paul Newman/Robert Redford film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, earning the Oscar for best original song. Sales quickly exceeded two million copies and it has remained one of the most enduring pop hits of all time, reoccurring in such films as Forrest Gump, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, Clerks II, and Spider-Man 2 as well as multiple TV shows over the years.
He followed that career-defining single with a string of pop/rock hits, including “Everybody's Out of Town,” “I Just Can't Help Believing,” “No Love at All” and “Rock and Roll Lullaby.”
After six years with Scepter Records, Thomas signed with Paramount Records where he released two albums—1973’s Songs and 1974’s Longhorns & Londonbridges. In 1975, Thomas released the album Reunion on ABC Records, featuring “(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song,” which holds the distinction of being the longest titled No. 1 hit ever on Billboard’s Hot 100.
Like many successful pop/rock artists, Thomas fell into drugs and battled substance abuse. His wife Gloria became a born-again Christian and the turning point in Thomas’ life came when he became a believer in 1976. He immediately quit drugs and found an avenue for expressing his faith in gospel music. Thomas signed with Myrrh Records and released the album Home Where I Belong in 1976. Produced by Chris Christian, the project won Thomas a Grammy and became the first of two Dove Award wins. The album became the first gospel record to sell a million copies. The warmth and emotional timbre of Thomas’s voice was well suited to the genre and he became one of gospel music’s most successful artists. His rendition of “Amazing Grace” is considered one of the most poignant of the classic hymn’s many covers.
In addition to his country and gospel success, Thomas also enjoyed a healthy run on the country charts in the 1980s with such hits as “Whatever Happened to Old Fashioned Love,” “New Looks from an Old Lover Again,” “The Whole World’s in Love When You’re Lonely” and “Two Car Garage.” “(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song” was No. 1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Hot Country Songs charts. It won the Grammy for Best Country Song in 1976 and was nominated for CMA Single of the Year. On his 39th birthday in 1981, Thomas became the 60th member of the Grand Ole Opry.
Beyond populating multiple radio formats with so many beloved hits, Thomas also voiced the theme song, “As Long As We’ve Got Each Other,” for the popular TV series Growing Pains, and has lent his voice to numerous commercials, including campaigns for Coca-Cola and Pepsi. He can also be seen on television hosting Time Life Music’s Forever 70s infomercial. As an actor, he also appeared in the films Jory and Jake's Corner. Thomas authored two books, including his autobiography Home Where I Belong.
In 2013, he released The Living Room Sessions, an acoustic album, which celebrated Thomas’s nearly six decades in the music industry. The project featured Thomas dueting with other high profile artists on his most beloved hits, which included teaming with Richard Marx for “(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song,” Vince Gill on “I Just Can’t Help Believing,” Sara Niemietz on “Hooked on a Feeling,” Keb' Mo' on “Most of All,” Lyle Lovett on “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” and The Fray’s Isaac Slade on “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” The album was well-received with critics praising it as a reminder of just how engaging his voice remained after decades of recording and touring.
Though Thomas will be remembered as one of this generation’s premiere vocalists and a consummate entertainer, the humble artist was most proud of his family. He’s survived by his wife of 53 years Gloria, their three daughters Paige Thomas, Nora Cloud, and Erin Moore, and four grandchildren, Nadia Cloud, Keira Cloud, Ruby Moore, and Billy Joe Moore.
A quote from his website exemplifies Thomas’ humble attitude and appreciation for life. “All I am is just another guy. I’ve been very lucky,” he shared. “I’ve had a wonderful life, I’ve been a husband and a father who cherishes his children and now I’m a grandfather, and I’m motivated like all these teachers and preachers and mothers and fathers to help my kids grow up with character and self-respect. I hope that doesn’t sound too grandiose, but that’s what it comes down to. It’s what I’ve tried to do with my music and with the majority of my life.”
Funeral arrangements are forthcoming and will remain private. In lieu of flowers, in-memoriam donations will be accepted by Mission Arlington, Tarrant Area Food Bank, and the SPCA of Texas.
~ Jeremy Westby
Americana Music news quickies this week
The Guide celebrates artists and nonprofit music organizations, including Folk Alliance International, the IBMA, and the Americana Music Association.
This Weekend on the Opry
The Grand Ole Opry is live Saturday and reruns Sunday on Circle TV. Saturday it starts at 5 pm PDT on WSM Radio online, and you can catch "Opry Live" on Circle TV starting at 6 pm Pacific for the live streams of the headliners' Opry performances.
Ways to tune in to the Opry
Everybody's fave trad Irish multi-instrumentalist troubadour, Ken O'Malley -- back in action
Online Sunday, in venues Thursday
• May 30 Livestream: "Memorial Day"
• LIVE SHOWS: San Pedro, Calabasas, Long Beach
• and he leads October Tours to Ireland
Sunday, 2 pm Pacific, 5 pm Eastern, 10 pm UK and Ireland, 60 minutes, free of charge.
See the show at https://www.facebook.com/kenomalleyirishmusic/live -- even if you are NOT on Facebook.
Tip him at:
Venmo: @kenomalley paypal.me/twlord
Or at Ken's website, www.kenomalley.com (click on the tip jar picture).
Live in venues...
EVERY THURSDAY, Ken returns with his weekly show at The Auld Dubliner, 71 South Pine Ave, Long Beach, 90802 from 5PM to 8PM on Thursdays. For more information, contact the venue at (562) 437-8300. Their website is http://aulddubliner.com/
EVERY OTHER FRIDAY, Ken continues to perform at newly Irish-owned Sagebrush Cantina, 23527 Calabasas Rd., Calabasas 91302 from 5PM to 8 pm every other Friday: June 4 and 18, July 2, 16 and 30 etc. For more information, contact the venue at (818) 222-6062. Their website is: http://www.sagebrushcantina.com/
EVERY SATURDAY, Ken will present a solo show at THE WHALE AND ALE, 327 W. 7th St, San Pedro, 90731 from 6 pm to 9 pm. For more information, contact the venue at (310) 832-0363. Their website is: https://www.thewhaleandale.com/
Ken leads two tours in 2021:
WILD ATLANTIC WAY TOUR TO IRELAND, RESCHEDULED TO OCTOBER 16 to 25, 2021. Info: https://kenomalley.com/ireland-tour-april-2021-the-wild-atlantic-way
HALLOWEEN SAMHAIN TOUR TO IRELAND, RESCHEDULED FOR OCTOBER 27 to NOVEMBER 5, 2021. Info: https://kenomalley.com/samhain-halloween-2021-ireland-tour
.A shocking, shameful 100th anniversary
Largely unknown due to intentional repression, it explains today's headlines
"The fact that a government abdicated its responsibility nearly 100 years ago and continued to do so in subsequent years does not absolve it of that responsibility today—especially when failure to address the harm and related action and inaction results in further harm, as it has in Tulsa."
~ Human Rights Watch
"The Tulsa Race Massacre" marks its 100 year anniversary on Memorial Day Monday. It was the deadliest racial violence the nation has ever seen, and is largely unknown to most Americans. No one can determine the death toll, because those murdered were dumped in unmarked mass graves. Historians agree that approximately 300 men, women, and children were killed, most of them black. A few white rioters were probably hit by friendly fire, and a few black men had and used guns in an attempt to defend their families and property. The destruction left 8,000 black Tulsans homeless.
It began as an incident in an elevator between one black man and one white woman. Children, really. Teenagers. He the passenger, she the operator. There was an allegation. By the next day there was full-scale civil strife.
It quickly became a conspiratorial riot by white racists, police, troops, and local officials to produce the mass murder of the city's black business owners, their wives and children, and anyone else of color who offered a target of opportunity. In addition to vehicles turned into impromptu armored cars, trucks with mounted machine guns, and infantry-like assaults by white civilians and police on Tulsa's black neighborhoods, airplanes were used by whites to drop homemade incendiary bombs on black civilians and the homes and churches where they took refuge.
One hundred years ago, Tulsa, Oklahoma's Greenwood District, several blocks deep along both sides of a central avenue, was the most successful and thriving black business, arts and live music district of any U.S. city. It was renowned as "Black Wall Street." Then it was gone, together with concerted efforts to erase all memory that it had ever existed. A motion picture, telling the story of what happened, is now being made using that monicker as its title.
A few survivors past the age of 100 still give testimony, and there are remaining clues. A postcard sold in the early 1920s is a sepia-toned photo of Greenwood afire, with flames and smoke reaching skyward like a city hit with aerial bombing. The caption reads, "Running the Negro out of Tulsa."
Monday night, May 31st, two documentaries will give the vast majority of Americans their first shocking introduction to what happened a hundred years ago and what led up to it, in detail.
A CBS News documentary will explore the The Tulsa Race Massacre at 10 pm and CNN will air "Dreamland: the Burning of Black Wall Street," at 6 and 9 pm Pacific, coproduced by NBA star LeBron James. Both those networks have been running stories, as have most US newspapers, covering survivors and their descendants. And that Hollywood movie will soon dramatize the shameful lost history.
A week ago last Wednesday, three survivors of the massacre, ages 106 and 107, gave riviting testimony before Congress.
The following morning, newspapers and tv news began running stories. In Los Angeles, KCBS morning anchor DeMarco Morgan did a well-illustrated story of what happened, including interviews with very lucid victims who are past age 100. Morgan's own great uncle was there, inside a theatre when it was bombed by the racist rioters. "CBS This Morning" began their series that day with another well-produced story for the national audience.
These videos are the film footage made 100 years ago of America's worst domestic terrorism:
Survivors and their descendants are currently suing the City of Tulsa for: (a) facilitating what happened 100 years ago, (b) covering it up at the time, (c) erasing it from the city's history, and (d) losses that followed in perpetuity to victims and surviving families.
And still there is white backlash on the subject of reparations to anyone who is black, usually without interest in learning anything about why calls for reparations are being made. In Southern California, the story of the outright theft of the black-owned Bruce's Beach resort by municipal interests is the subject of a current move for decades-late restitution. Similarly, readers may know that reparations for Japanese-Americans who lost homes, farms and businesses because they were incarcerated in WWII "relocation camps" took decades to be paid.
In Tulsa, this week also brings a missed opportunity that America's WWII internees never had. A well-planned Tulsa memorial concert, to feature music stars, poets and dramatic readings, was cancelled at the last minute when lawyers for a group representing survivors suddenly demanded millions in cash, beyond the millions in scholarships already built into the event. With no time and no mechanism to create so much money, producers say they had no choice but to walk away from that event.
C-SPAN also airs special programming:
_ _ _
The New York Times Magazine notes, "Today, Black Tulsans live six fewer years, on average, than those in Tulsa County overall. Black Tulsans are more than twice as likely as their white counterparts to be unemployed.
"Even a century after the Tulsa massacre, justice has never been served."
Read their feature story, "100 Years After the Tulsa Massacre, What Does Justice Look Like?" https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/25/magazine/tulsa-race-massacre-1921-greenwood.html
• From PBS' "American Experience":
• From "The Conversation":
"For most Americans, the Tulsa race massacre that took place on May 31 and June 1, 1921 is something they learned about through media accounts or documentaries. For Gregory Fairchild, a business administration professor at the University of Virginia, the event was part of his family lore. As survivors, historians and others call for the United States to acknowledge and atone for the massacre, Fairchild’s personal story serves as a reminder of the devastating toll the event had on Black individuals, families and communities." https://theconversation.com/from-grandfather-to-grandson-the-lessons-of-the-tulsa-race-massacre-140925
Yes, there are still capacity restrictions and most places still require masks. Some indoor music venues, like the Coffee Gallery Backstage, have announced they will require both masks and proof of vaccination when they reopen this summer.
There is reason to worry that maskholes will falsely claim they have been vaccinated. They seem to think it is a "freedom" issue. The rest of us want to be free from exposure to maskholes.
Returning to what used to be normal will surely look different, probably for a long time. Just ask Tokyo, as they consider whether to cancel the Olympics that have been delayed since last year.
Nonetheless, reopenings are happening. Here are some that are notable.
• The GRAMMY Museum in downtown L.A. reopened Friday with three new featured temporary exhibits, all scheduled for openings during the year of pandemic closure. Health care workers, first responders, and all essential workers can get free admission into June; check with the museum for info.
• Knott's Berry Farm reopened Friday, just in time to celebrate its 100th anniversary. Along the way of going from: roadside boysenberry stand, to a chicken dinner restaurant with cobbed-together ghost town of authentic structures from mining camps, to a major amusement park -- it was once an important music venue. For years, it was a FREE music venue with nightly performances by the Sons of the Pioneers and other icons of Western Americana.
• "Hamilton," the musical, reopens (earlier than expected) with a new cast at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood on August 19th. (Though we've never been able to figure why a hip hop musical about America's original defender of oligarchical capitalism become so beloved.)
Featured music review...
"No Solo" 5-track EP
Label: Art Killing Apathy
by Larry Wines
Eleanor Goldfield describes herself of late as "Creative Radical / Journalist / Filmmaker," curiously omitting performing songwriter / multi-instrumentalist / top-flight vocalist / musician. By the time you read this review, you'll be inserting all that at the top of her credentials.
True, you may be acquainted with her name without knowledge of her music. The woman is an accomplished creative powerhouse.
She is one of the 2020 recipients of the “Women and Media Award” presented by The Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press. She is currently a board member of the Media Freedom Foundation.
There's more. Her first documentary, " Hard Road of Hope ," covers past and present radicalism in, of all places, West Virginia. Her film received international praise, a "Best Feature Length Documentary" award, a "Best Woman Filmmaker" Award, and "Official Selection" laurels at 13 film festivals, including Cannes Independent. Plus she hosts podcasts, had a political hard rock band that toured extensively and opened for Tom Morello, and she's got 10 years in recording studios that include The Village in L.A. and a degree in Audio Science.
She has been seen frequently on-air/on-line during the year of pandemia in the company of Lee Camp, creator and host of "Redacted Tonight," "Moment of Clarity," and various other sociopolitical analyses, some satirical, some howlingly comedic, and some that employ ridicule for serious investigative and revelatory pieces.
There was no question we expected some high-caliber work from Eleanor.
Thus, before pressing play on the five tracks of her new EP, the chief questions we expected to answer were (a) whether these would be Roy Zimmerman-style, Tom-Lehrer-esque parodies or wholly original musical lambastings of those who desperately need their asses kicked up around their shoulderblades; and (b) whether her songs were more likely to become sing-along anthems at protest rallies, or songs performed for the crowd from the podium.
Either way, we expected clever, lucid, and very contemporary expression in the genre of protest songs. What's here is so much better than that. With the brevity of a mere EP, we get a much larger entertaining and revelatory look into the heart, mind and soul of an artistically formidable, creative conscious-driven radical.
Here are my notes and comments on each track:
1. Outlaw (3:51)
With guitar-driven elements of a classic rock anthem, the vocal message of the EP's opening track are the essence of plaintive protest for our time. "I don't want to be an outlaw, but you made me," through repression of avenues for question and dissent. You mentally fill-in the rest: because the system insulates and isolates itself from those who refuse to fawn over its celebrity oligarchs. The song doesn't use those words. It doesn't need to, going for and achieving more universality. Some will go immediately to thoughts of protests personally attended, from G-7 to Black Lives Matter to Occupy, where authorities began "kettling" the crowds and producing first the plastic zip ties and then the arrest records for participants that made them (us) outlaws. The song may transcend that: it just might be the missing-since-Vietnam voice of vicarious participation for those who haven't marched but are subconsciously courting an inner identity with those who do.
2. Child of Immigrants (3:27)
The impact of "Child of Immigrants" is immediate, multidimensional, evocative, and leaves no doubt you are experiencing an artist who is up to the task she set for herself.
Listening, your mind conjures images in kaleidoscopic frequency, at some point telling you this absolutely screams to become a video if that can be accomplished in a manner worthy of the precise crafting of the words and expressions that paint an entire reel of film inside your head. You think, too, of the powerful recitations by Amanda Gorman, first person to be named National Youth Poet Laureate. But this is not derivative nor is it homage, though both artists focus on issues of oppression, feminism, race, and marginalization.
But it would shortchange Goldfield to stop at that comparison. "Child of Immigrants" is a brilliant collage of contradictions that is somehow seamless. Name whatever genre, whatever mode of artistic expression you like, and you oh-so-rarely encounter such thought-provoking work where every line rings true, despite ever-changing viewpoints. Somehow Goldfield gives unified voice to opposing perspectives. If that sounds impossible, find a quiet place to really listen to this masterfully crafted track.
3. Pyre (3:06)
With its acoustic guitar and central theme, "The world's on fire, and I'm gonna stand where it burns," this will surely become an anthem at rallies for reversing climate change. And when the need arises, at gatherings to already be against the next war. It will certainly be learned and sung by others, though none will deliver it with Goldfield's soaring vocal chops.
Titling the song "Pyre" might seem odd. That is, after all, the term for the object of a funeral being consumed in flame, after life and dreams have ended. Turns out it's clever. The theme of "World on Fire" is versatile and resonant. It titles a British historical drama recently come to PBS, and musically it became Billy Joel's exoneration of a generation as "We Didn't Start the Fire," loved by radio in the '90s, but a song so lyrically complicated that nobody else ever sang it.
But Goldfield taps the sparks of a new time. One that demands all of us -- from pampered corporate oligarch to limited-means consumer faced with endless plastic crap -- face-up to the funeral pyre of civilization we stoke with our daily activities. You conjure how constrained corporacratic lack of choices forces us to accept what's profitable for those with the power to maintain the status quo, smoke stench and all. A songwriter doesn't have to harangue with lyrics that specify what has been done and continues to happen in our name, while our money was used to perpetrate and propagandize all of it as something it is not. She subtly and effectively puts them on notice that we are watching them -- as she reminds the rest of us to "stand where it burns."
4. A Shrugging Dune (2:22)
Anyone who has experienced the solitude of being even one dune face away from the road or from hordes of others slogging up the sliding sand -- whether upon the dunes of the Oregon Coast or Death Valley or the Eastern Mojave or south central Colorado -- is ready for immersion in this splendid piece of Goldfield's poetry. Everyone not acquainted with the tactility of fine-grained silicates will nonetheless make the journey of time and space, thanks to the track's minimalist instrumental harmonics and reverb echo that perfectly fits the words. This one is not overtly a protest piece. It's introspective exploration of a relationship. Perhaps it's a relationship with another who is or may become significant. Or perhaps with one's place in encountering and processing remote calm and separation from the turmoil.
5. Tangled (3:59)
This is Goldfield's musically solid, lyrically lean counterpoint exploring the feelings that inevitably go with choosing to stand up against things that promise comfort through conformity.
When one has "walked too far to find my home," and "buried... dreams in shallow graves," while, "the ghosts and echoes play again," thinking of the road not taken when "in another life, I'd roll the dice," her sentiments are resonant.
She appends each couplet of what might have been with "oh well," concluding with, "I'm tangled. Oh I'm tangled."
You didn't even get much of that introspection from Joni Mitchell or Joan Baez. After the intellectual smorgasbord of conflicting themes in "Child of Immigrants," the light-handed touching upon inevitable inner conflict is appropriate and refreshing.
This EP is a substantial first venture by Eleanor Goldfield without her band, following five albums with them.
Others perform on the tracks, which is a small part of why the EP is titled "No Solo." The rest of "why" is expressed below by Eleanor herself.
Playing on the album:
• Eleanor - acoustic guitar and rhythm, all vocals
• Jordan Ferreira - electric guitar, rhythm and lead
• Rich Mouser - pedal steel, and he engineered, mixed & mastered, and gets coproduction credits with Eleanor and Jordan.
• Misc. instrumentation incl. Rhodes and percussion - Rich & Eleanor.
All tracks were recorded at Mouse House Studios.
The only fault we find is printed lyrics in the package are jammed together and you don't know what's what or what's there on a first listen. Thus, an expected aid becomes a distraction.
We'll close with this bit of what Eleanor Goldfield herself had to say about the project:
"It is... of course a nod to the labor of building new worlds, of toppling empires and rattling thrones - work that can feel so lonely and yet it is work that is bolstered by millions. The single person holding space on the frontlines is not alone, no matter what our eyes perceive. They are backed by hundreds if not thousands of supporters - doing care work, jail support, outreach, media, scouting and more.
"So in that sense, this is to all those - the artists, the radicals - who feel alone, strange in an empty studio, scared on the street - you are not alone. This is no solo we sing, but a chorus en masse."
You can order the EP directly from the artist's site at:
The Contraptionists: two-man, one-man band from Rose's Pawn Shop
Their new album, "Working Man’s Dread," is folk rock through a '90s kaleidescope, and just out Friday
Paul Givant and Stephen Andrews are The Contraptionists: a two-man, one-man band, a sonic high-wire act driven by percussive precision, soaring, jangling, thumping instrumentation, and bold melodies fused with harmonies. An industrial folk-grunge experiment conceived and crafted in the booming halls of their loft on the edge-of-downtown-Los Angeles in a former factory, they bring fire, heart, and flash to their stage performance.
Givant and Andrews have played together for almost a decade in Rose’s Pawn Shop, releasing three studio albums and touring extensively. The Contraptionists evolved from RPS and takes some of its Americana folk threads, weaving and warping them through a stylized set of musical machines— “contraptions” made from drums, guitar, banjo, harmonica, stand-up bass, and vocal harmonies.
With technical skill and creative bravado The Contraptionists combine a working man’s grit with a rambling man’s fervor to create a big, layered sound with just two bodies. The duo make music out of American reflections, the dreams and nightmares seen in a far off motel room’s broken television screen. Stylistically and lyrically the music is an alloy of rock and folk elements- murder ballads, road legends, and lovestory songs for the hopeful and broken-hearted.
The advance reviews look good:
"...intelligently crafted narratives, the strong hooks caught up in an inventive mix of rural and industrial aesthetics and the currents of tight, spirited musicianship..."--Elmore Magazine
'“Working Man’s Dread,” a song that has no dread but rather its bombastic and upbeat melodies will get you pumped up and in the good mood right away."--Vents Magazine on the premiere of the title song
"... these songs are narratives about interesting characters and situations, taking place in a mixture of past and present, and employing elements of folk music, mixing it with pop and rock sounds, and straying to darker realms at times."--Michael's Music Log
LISTEN OR BUY "WORKING MAN'S DREAD" at:
We have a word about this holiday weekend.
As for our noting the longtime observance of what began as "Decoration Day" for placing flowers on the graves of those killed in the Civil War? It became Memorial Day when evermore wars kept producing evermore graves, and eventually the consciousness that led to the classic folksong, "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?"
Here's Joan Baez singing it in the 1994 Kennedy Center Honors for Pete Seeger. This year, she will be honored there, and we are as certain as we can be that a song affirming peace will be performed.
We've always been disturbed, even angered, when occasions to honor sacrifice and service by individuals are co-opted by war profiteers under the nebulous ruse of "preparedness." It's one thing to appropriately observe Memorial Day by remembering those killed in war. It's quite another to help assure there are always more deaths to remember. So we bring you a feature on the "World BEYOND War" conference you can attend virtually next week.
For that "appropriate observance" of Memorial Day?
If you play an instrument -- whatever instrument -- join-in the simultaneous solo playing of "Taps Across America" on Memorial Day Monday at 3 pm in your local time zone. Last year -- the first year this was done -- over 20,000 musicians, mostly trumpet players, took part. CBS correspondent Steve Hartmann, who devised it, hopes it becomes an annual tradition. We're with him on that. But we are not okay with anything that grinds-out a fresh supply for the cemetery.
Not music, but cool...
NoWar2021 online conference,
"World BEYOND War" is a global network of volunteers, chapters, and affiliated organizations advocating for the abolition of the institution of war. On June 4 through 6, people from around the world are coming together, through the organization, to unravel the war machine.
Across three days of panels and sessions with 300+ registrants from 25+ countries, "We'll explore the global impact of militarism and share effective strategies and tactics for demilitarizing our communities," say Sakura Saunders and Liz Remmerswaal, World BEYOND War Board Members. Liz doubles as the New Zealand Chapter Coordinator.
Check out the program and attend what interests you – there are trainings, workshops, and discussion groups on a variety of topics, from NATO to youth peacebuilding to nonviolent direct action training, digital storytelling, war's ecological impact, and much more. They'll use a new conference technology called 'Hopin' to re-create an interactive conference experience, complete with one-on-one and small group networking and virtual expo booths.
You can register today. Sakura and Liz add, "Invite a buddy to join in with you and have someone to talk to about it after."
Innovative indie self-promo
Karoline Hausted and Mark Davis are a Danish/American couple and musical duo active in several bands on both sides of the Atlantic. Each is an accomplished performing songwriter with a track record of delivering music that's reliably fun to hear.
Their latest promo is as masterful as any tv teaser. We decided to share it:
|Calling all Button Queens & Kings: Like, like, like!|
For better or for worse, making music these days goes well beyond simply writing songs. The work of getting the word out is an incredible juggling of tasks... but, there are simple ways you can help get To Wake You heard. Beyond pre-saving and following us on Spotify, you can do things such as liking To Wake You's Facebook page, subscribing to our YouTube Channel, following us on Instagram, and sharing our posts whenever you can... All of these will help in getting our music added to radio and other online playlists, which is sort of the name of the game these days.
Thank you so much for doing what you can!