Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Celebrate the Freedom to Read

While the Bus is in for service I've got some extra time for one of my favorite pastimes. This is a perfect opportunity to visit your local library and read a good book.

From the American Library Association –
“Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week of September each year. Observed since 1982, this annual ALA event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. This year, 2008, marks BBW's 27th anniversary (September 27 through October 4).

BBW celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met.

BBW is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers, National Association of College Stores, and is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.”

Please Stand By

The server on the Bus has been infested with a tenacious virus leaving me unable to post.

I have spent many hours trying to exterminate this bug with no success. The only option remaining is to wipe the drives and start fresh. Unfortunately, many files important to me have been lost, including a large collection of music, all photographs, and all email received in the past two weeks.

Most of the music library on the Bus (over 500 GB) is stored on an external drive and backed up on the now tainted computer. I am fearful of attaching it to another computer to check on its status, as it may have been connected to the infected one at some time after the attack.

The thought of losing the collection is heartbreaking. Much of the collected works were drawn from my own compilation of 78prm and LP recordings. Although it would take years to complete, my personal collection can be retransferred. The potential loss of files transferred from records loaned to me by gracious collectors over the years is another matter.

My apologies to the loyal riders on the Bus and to the artists submitted works to be reviewed.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Grayson Capps - Rott 'N' Roll

Beer stained floorboards, trailer parks, prostitutes, and hard luck are the world of Grayson Capps. His hard driving blend of Southern soul, country blues, and back country stomp was dubbed “Rott ‘N’ Roll” by his fans in New Orleans and is the title of his fourth album.

Grayson Capps is an articulate and insightful writer. A poet-laureate of the underclass. Born and raised in south Alabama, Capps was first introduced to music while his father and friends sat around drinking, telling stories, and playing and singing the classic songs of Hank Williams, Woody Guthrie, Tom T. Hall, and others.

Grayson Capps took up music and writing songs and poetry while on scholarship at Tulane University. During his years in New Orleans he formed two bands that saw moderate success. The devastation of Katrina forced Capps to leave his home in the Gentilly neighborhood of New Orleans. Since August 2005 he has been living in Franklin, Tennessee when not on the road.

Rott 'N' Roll is a superb follow-up to his 2006 post-Katrina album Wail & Ride (reviewed on the Bus here.) Grayson Capps’ ability to paint a picture with words invokes comparison with such great poet songwriters as Townes Van Zandt and Tom Waits. Frets magazine called him the “Bard of the Bayou.” The poignant tales are put to music by Capps’ band, the Stumpknockers (Tommy MacLuckie on lead guitar, Josh Kerin on bass, and John Milham on drums.) The liner notes state that Rott 'N' Roll was recorded over a few days at Capps’ farmhouse studio. The relaxed sound of good friends enjoying a good time comes through in the recordings.

Grayson Capps & the Stumpknockers are currently touring the South before heading to Europe in November. Check tour dates here for a memorable evening of “Rott 'N' Roll.”

Grayson Capps - Back To The Country.mp3

Artist: Grayson Capps
Title: Rott 'N' Roll
Artist Website: graysoncapps.com
MySpace: myspace.com/graysoncapps
Label: Hyena Records
Label Website: hyenarecords.com
Release Date: September 9, 2008
Order or download from: Hyena Records or your local independent record store.

It's That Important

Eight years ago, George W. Bush was nominated as the GOP’s candidate for president of the United States. Here are some excerpts from his acceptance speech at the 2000 Republican National Convention.

“This is a remarkable moment in the life of our nation. Never has the promise of prosperity been so vivid…

America has a strong economy and a surplus. .. We will strengthen Social Security and Medicare for the greatest generation and for generations to come… We will set [Medicare] on firm financial ground and make prescription drugs available and affordable for every senior who needs them…

Today our high taxes fund a surplus. Some say that growing federal surplus means Washington has more money to spend. But they've got it backwards. The surplus is not the government's money; the surplus is the people's money…

... When America uses force in the world, the cause must be just, the goal must be clear, and the victory must be overwhelming. I will work to reduce nuclear weapons and nuclear tension in the world, to turn these years of influence into decades of peace…

We will give low-income Americans tax credits to buy the private health insurance they need and deserve.

We will transform today's housing rental program to help hundreds of thousands of low-income families find stability and dignity in a home of their own…"

- George W. Bush
2000 Republican National Convention

Register and vote.
It's THAT important.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Rae Spoon – SuperiorYouAreInferior

Rae Spoon is a transgender folk/indie singer/songwriter from Calgary, Alberta who describes his own brand of music as “cowboy-folk that’s armed to the teeth with punk rock attitude."

Rae Spoon made his entrance into the music world at the age of twenty as one of the world’s only transgender (born female, now identifies as male) country singers. Spoon has toured Canada, Europe, Australia and the USA and performed with an impressive list of artists, including The Be Good Tanyas, Annabelle Chvostek (of the Wailin’ Jennys), Melissa Ferrick, Natalie Merchant and Earl Scruggs. Spoon has also been featured on CBC Radio 3’s “New Music Canada” and “Breaking New Sound.”

SuperiorYouAreInferior is something of a new direction for Spoon, who plays guitar and banjo. His earlier releases, Throw Some Dirt On Me, Your Trailer Door, and White Hearse Comes Rolling were filled with the cowboy-folk twang and prairie imagery on would expect of an artist from Alberta. On SuperiorYouAreInferior, Rae Spoon has traded his banjo for a computer and his acoustic guitar for an electric one. The sound may be more sophisticated that on his previous releases, but his songwriting and folk music roots still shine.

Rae Spoon - Come On Forest Fire Burn The Disco Down.mp3

Artist: Rae Spoon
Title: SuperiorYouAreInferior
Artist Website: www.raespoon.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/raespoon
Label: Washboard Records
Release Date: October 7, 2008
All of Rae Spoon’s CDs are available from: www.raespoon.com and musicishere.com.
(Note that SuperiorYouAreInferior will be available on October 7, 2008)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Johnny Flynn – A Larum

Johnny Flynn is a Shakespearean actor turned modern troubadour. The music is a blending of American and English folk traditions with the polish of pop.

YouTube Video: Johnny Flynn - “The Box”

For more information and three streaming songs from A Larum, see his interview on NPR’s “All things Considered” here.

Johnny Flynn will be bringing his troubadour stylings to North American audiences for his first domestic tour which he’ll be co-headlining with fellow Brit and Mercury Prize-nominated artist Laura Marling. To commemorate the tour, they got together for an intimate live duet, covering Jeffrey Lewis & Diane Cluck’s anti-folk tune, “Travel Light.”

YouTube Video: Johnny Flynn and Laura Marling - “Travel Light”

Johnny Flynn Tour Dates
13 - Allston , MA - ICC Church
15 - New York , NY - Bowery Ballroom
17 - Philadelphia , PA - Side Chapel @ First Unitarian Church
18 - Alexandria , VA - Birchmere
20 - Chicago , IL - The Bottom Lounge
21 – Minneapolis, MN – The 400 Bar
23 - Englewood , CO - The Falcon
26 - Los Angeles , CA - The Hotel Cafe
28 - San Francisco , CA - Cafe Du Nord
30 - Portland , OR - Lola's
1 - Seattle , WA - Tractor Tavern
3 - Montreal , QC - Pop Montreal Festival
4 - Toronto , ON - Rivoli

Artist: Johnny Flynn
Title: A Larum
Artist Website: www.johnnyflynnmusic.co.uk
MySpace: www.myspace.com/johnnyflynn
Label: Lost Highway
Label Website: losthighwayrecords.com
Release Date: July 29, 2008
Order or download from: Lost Highway Records and Amazon.com, buy at Plan 9 Music (Get a FREE Johnny Flynn EP when you purchase his new album, "A Larum," at Plan 9 while supplies last) or purchase from you local independent record store.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Pre-Release: Bob Dylan –
Tell Tale Signs: the Bootleg Series Vol. 8

The music of Bob Dylan provided the soundtrack for an entire generation. Tell Tale Signs is the 8th installment in the best-selling and critically lauded Bootleg Series which launched 1991. This two CD boxed set will be released by Columbia Records on Tuesday, October 7 and will also be available as a limited edition four LP boxed set. Both box sets include a 60 page booklet with rare photos, essay, and original credits.

Tell Tale Signs features 27 previously unreleased recordings and alternate versions of tracks from sessions which generated some of Bob Dylan’s most acclaimed and commercially successful albums from the last two decades, including Time Out Of Mind, “Love And Theft”, Modern Times and Oh Mercy.

Bob Dylan – Dreamin’ of You.mp3

For a limited time www.bobdylan.com is offering a free download of “Dreamin’ of You,” one of the 27 gems on Tell Tale Signs. The song was originally recorded during Dylan’s 1997 sessions with producer Daniel Lanois, which spawned Time Out Of Mind, the 1998 Grammy Award-winning Album Of The Year.

In celebration of the Amazon.com Music Store’s 10th anniversary, Amazon will offer an exclusive premiere of the new music video “Dreamin’ of You.” Watch the video at Amazon.com.

Artist: Bob Dylan
Artist Website: www.bobdylan.com
Title: Tell Tale Signs: the Bootleg Series Vol. 8
Label: Sony/BMG (Columbia Records)
Label Website: www.columbiarecords.com
Release Date: October 7, 2008
Special pre-order pricing available from: www.bobdylan.com and Amazon.com.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Jim Boggia — Misadventures in Stereo

This third release from Jim Boggia may well be the consummate power-pop record I have ever heard. Granted, I do not normally listen to pop, much less feature it here on the Bus. But the proficiency with which Boggia presents his craft crosses the musical walls that many of us erect. To be sure Misadventures in Stereo is filled with the smooth harmonies and emotion-grabbing hooks that define the genre, and Jim Boggia uses these delineating characteristics in a smooth, coherent manner that is especially satisfying.

Now, I am not a regular listener to pop music and hardly qualified to write an unbiased review, but I do appreciate good music and Jim Boggia makes some very good music. Jim Boggia was deeply influenced by some of the best that pop music has to offer. The best influences of the Kinks, Beach Boys, Harry Nilsson, Stevie Wonder, Cat Stevens, the Beatles, Aimee Mann, and Emitt Rhodes have been absorbed by Boggia and finely crafted into his own. The cut entitled “Listening to NRBQ” (an homage to NRBQ that features a guitar solo from NRBQ’s lead guitarist, singer and songwriter Al Anderson) is a reminiscence of a love affair and a mutual love of classic pop music that, to me sums up this well composed and flawlessly executed example of what popular music can be.

Misadventures in Stereo is a thoroughly enjoyable release that has spent a surprising amount of time in my CD player.

Jim Boggia - Three Weeks Shy.mp3
Jim Boggia says of Three Weeks Shy - “The guy in this song lost his brother in Iraq. There are over 4000 stories like this and counting. Please play this song in the months leading up to the election.”
I thought the song entirely appropriate for today.

Artist: Jim Boggia
Artist Website: www.jimboggia.com/
Title: Misadventures in Stereo
Label: bluhammock music
Release Date: August 5, 2008
Available for: purchase or download from: Amazon.com, CD Baby, or your independent local record store.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Fall Festivals - Update

This fall is shaping up to be a great festival season. Thanks to all who wrote to let me know of festivals that I had neglected to include in the Fall Festival List.

Our friend and frequent rider, John, reminded us of the Fox Valley Festival. Although I missed the festival, John took some great photos, check them out (link is in the comments to the original post.) Looks like a great time.

A very good friend from the Ozarks wrote to tell of a few festivals down his way. When I saw his note I just had to shake my head in disbelief. I can’t believe I forgot to list the Walnut Valley Festival (known to music fans worldwide simply as ‘Winfield’.)

Autumn is a wonderful time to enjoy some live music.

Lily Brothers - We're Going to Have a Big Time Here Tonight.mp3

Joe Maphis - Old Black Mountain Saturday Night.mp3

The Osborne Brothers - Hillbilly Fever.mp3

Country Gentlemen - On The Sunny Side Of Life.mp3

The following are additions to the Fall Festival List.

Jumpin’ Bluegrass ’08 & Virginia State Bluegrass Championship
Chesterfield, Virginia
September 11 – September 14, 2008
Website: http://www.vafolkmusic.org/Page4.html

East Troy Bluegrass Festival
East Troy, Wisconsin
September 13 - September 14, 2008
Website: http://easttroybluegrass.com/

Walnut Valley Festival
Winfield, Kansas
September 17 - September 21, 2008
Website: http://www.wvfest.com/

Starvy Creek Bluegrass Festival
Conway, Missouri
September 18 - September 20, 2008
Website: http://www.starvycreek.com/

Edmonton Chante Festival
Edmonton, Alberta
September 27 – October 04, 2008
Website: http://www.edmontonchante.ab.ca/

Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Celebration
Jerusalem Ridge, Kentucky
October 02 - October 05, 2008
Website: http://www.jerusalemridgefestival.org/

Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival
Guthrie, Oklahoma
October 02 - October 04, 2008
Website: http://www.oibf.com/

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
San Francisco, Callifornia
October 03 - October 05, 2008
Website: http://www.strictlybluegrass.com/

Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention
Athens, Alabama
October 03 - October 04, 2008
Website: http://www.athens.edu/fiddlers/

Turkey Track Bluegrass Festival
Waldron, Arkansas
October 08 - October 11, 2008
Website: http://www.turkeytrackbluegrass.com/id11.html

South Carolina State Bluegrass Festival
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
November 21 - November 23, 2008
Website: http://aandabluegrass.com/Festivals/SouthCarolinaStateBluegra.html