Only if it gets recorded: http://www.farcethemusic.com/2012/08/lyrical-satirical-country-listing-song.html
Archive for August 2012
Two new reviews have been posted to the Lonesome Road Review. Caroline Herring’s excellent Camilla is stunning. Within her voice, she possesses qualities that one considers when appreciating the likes of Laura Nyro, the McGarrigles, and Emmylou; she isn’t attempting vocal perfection, and by not doing so, achieves it. Lovely.
http://lonesomeroadreview.com/2012/08/26/camilla-by-caroline-herring/ will get you there.
As well, I recently purchased Country Funk: 1969-1975 from the Light in the Attic label; they may not service me, but they sure do put out fine albums. recommended if you like good music as practiced by the likes of Sam Lewis. Follow the link: http://lonesomeroadreview.com/2012/08/26/country-funk-1969-1975-by-various-artists/
As always, thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. Donald
Maria Dunn Piece By Piece www.MariaDunn.com
Alongside John Wort Hannam, Maria Dunn is Alberta’s most highly regarded folk music artist of the singer-songwriter variety. Since 1998, she has released albums of tremendous depth. Her music, her words come from the hearts and souls of the lives she imagines. Using the English folk tradition as her foundation, Maria Dunn has most recently created a thoughtful and illuminating examination of the struggles of female garment workers; while focused upon the experiences of those at the Edmonton GWG factory through the 1900s, the songs are universal.
As she did with We Are Good People, in which she looked at the early labour movement and history of Alberta and western Canada, for Piece By Piece Dunn has immersed herself within her subject matter to find inspiration. Through interviews with the women who worked in the factory (which closed in 2004 after 93 years) as well as examination of archival footage and documentation, Dunn has captured the lives, the hardship and the pride, of women who completed ‘piece work’ for the jeans and work wear company, both before and after Levi Strauss bought the works.
Dunn’s ability to connect the reminiscent memories and phrases of the interviewed women who worked in the factory into a cohesive narrative is nothing short of impressive. As within We Were Good People, Dunn has illuminated the continuing history of Alberta, informing us of a story we didn’t know to appreciate.
On her fifth album of original material, Dunn ties the hardships faced by the factory workers- often the family’s only breadwinner in difficult times, as often an example of the sacrifice made by the newly arrived as they built a life in Canada- to the dignity they achieved for themselves in performing labour that many other Alberta workers would never have considered for themselves.
As specific as the connections are to the Edmonton GWG factory, the album has universal appeal. “I Cannot Tell You (The Whole Story)” may be the story of one Vietnamese woman coming to Canada to find a greater life than her homeland will allow, but the phrases and experiences captured mirror those who left eastern Europe for Canada a century before.
The album’s most affecting song captures Dunn’s interpretation of the words and thoughts of Lillian Wasylynchuk, a worker who died of lung disease. “Blue Lung” looks at the health concerns of the women working within an environment filled with the blue dust from the jeans material, and makes a comparison to the fate of mine workers. “Speed Up” is a snappy song that shares the spirit of “Sixteen Tons,” another connection to other labourers.
Dunn’s voice is beautiful, and quite indescribable- I’ve been attempting to do so for a decade and always fail. Joining Dunn is long-time collaborator and producer Shannon Johnson, she of clan McDade. Johnson’s fiddling adds atmosphere and verve to the songs, never more apparent than on “Shareholder’s Reel.” Sharmila Mathur providers sitar and this colours the songs in a lovely manner, providing connection to those who came from Asia to work in Alberta.
The songs of Piece By Piece work both as a cohesive portrait of shared experience and as stand-alone slices of contemporary folk art.
The dreams of immigrants, the impact of World War II, passionate labour negotiations, lullabies sung after days of toil, and the associated challenges fill each of Dunn’s songs. As richly, they are populated by the realities of strong women. In sharing the stories and insights of these women- some of whom traveled from rural areas to find work in the city, others immigrants from Italy, Ukraine, Czechoslovakia, Vietnam, China, Pakistan, and elsewhere- Dunn has created a memorable and dynamic collection of songs that will undoubtedly extend her renown as Alberta’s finest folk singer and writer.
I spotted copies of Piece By Piece at Edmonton’s Blackbyrd Myoozik this weekend, but I don’t see it at iTunes yet. Just as well- the packaging is quite nice and adds to the listening experience. Buy the hard copy.
As always, thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. Donald
Over at Fervor Coulee Bluegrass, I’ve posted a new edition of “Gold…In A Way,” an ongoing series where I re-examine albums that I believe deserve another listen. This time out, Bobby O & Try A Little Kindness, his 2006 Rounder album that relaunched his bluegrass pursuits. http://www.countrystandardtime.com/blog/FervorCouleeBluegrass/entry.asp?xid=916 will get you there. As always, thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. Donald
My review of Radney Foster’s new album has been posted at http://www.countrystandardtime.com/d/cdreview.asp?xid=4928 I can’t actually find it on the website, so I was going to post it here…but then it came up when I did a Google search for the album cover art after reformating the review for inclusion at Fervor Coulee…oh, well.
Radney Foster Del Rio, TX Revisited: Unplugged and Lonesome Devil’s River
Radney Foster, who had his only two top ten hits as a performer with songs from his classic Del Rio, TX 1959, releases Del Rio, TX Revisited: Unplugged and Lonesome, significantly improving the 1992 Arista performances.
The sequencing has been minimally refigured- moving “Old Silver” up and “Went for A Ride” down in the lineup balances things nicely. “Louisiana Blue” benefits greatly from the sparse presentation- the lyrics possess greater resonance, and the new mood is tender. Listening to this new version of “Closing Time,” one realizes how over-produced the original sessions were: timely, but in hindsight a bit over-wrought.
“A Fine Line” is turned on its head, with the aggressive propulsion of drums and rock n roll arrogance replaced with awareness bred of maturity. The protagonist doesn’t come off any better than he did in the original, but that’s his own fault. With Jack Ingram singing backup, “Hammer and Nails” remains perfect.
Primary to the sessions are Martie Maguire (fiddle, vocals), Jon Randall Stewart (guitar, vocals), Glenn Fukunaga (doghouse bass), Michael Ramos (Wurlitzer, accordion), Matt Borer (percussion), and the original album’s producer, Steve Fishell (resonator guitars). While the choruses remain familiar, the tempos and textures are entirely new- and they work. Man, do they work! As anyone who enjoyed Foster & Lloyd’s It’s Already Tomorrow will attest, Foster’s voice remains identifiable and spot-on.
With the album re-imagined, I know I will return to this newly recorded set frequently. While nostalgia favors the Arista release, my ears prefer Del Rio, TX Revisited: Unplugged and Lonesome.
My review of Jon Byrd’s recent Down at the Well of Wishes has been posted at the Lonesome Road Review. http://lonesomeroadreview.com/2012/08/15/down-at-the-well-of-wishes-by-jon-byrd/ will get you there. It is an excellent album.
As always, thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. Donald
Three or four months ago I first heard Rosanne Cash singing “Land of Dreams.” I was semi-thrilled to hear her voice cutting through an evening of desk work; pleasantly surprised, even. However, having now heard and seen the commercial no fewer than 500 times I must agree with my wife: I’ve heard it enough. While I’m not to the point of muting with anger, I’m getting close.
Tonight, while scanning the channels, I stopped myself dead when I head the unmistakable voice of Wreckless Eric and the sounds of “Whole Wide World.” And I smiled and was happy watching a McDonalds commercial for the first time in memory. Pleased because I still love the song after all these years, and thrilled because someone whose music I’ve appreciated since grade ten is having a good payday: Take the K.A.S.H., as Eric Goulden might say.
I’m hoping I’m still thinking this way 499 replays from now.
Every once in a while, a website will ask readers to consider posting the first 10, 20, or 25 songs to come up on their music player set to shuffle. I enjoy such things because a) they appeal to my random nature, and b) I’m always glad to be sent on a trip to explore an artist, song, or album I’ve not previously encountered. Today I spent several hours working at the computer on a university paper and had the machine on shuffle. I found the mix to be quite interesting and thought I would share the last 30 songs that came up. Feel free to leave a comment with your most recent shuffle list.
1. Roger Daltrey- “Fallen Angel” from Under A Raging Moon: Fabulously over-blown, I downloaded this album and a couple tracks from Parting Should Be Painless late one night when I had too many iTunes credits and not enough sense considering I have both albums on vinyl and haven’t listened to either in two decades. Non-descript Daltrey; I was more pleased with a recent download of his Edmonton concert from last fall.
2. Doc Watson and David Grisman- “In the Pines” from Dawg Plays Big Mon: A recent download-only set from Acoustic Disc.
3. Dave Alvin- “Mary Brown” from Blackjack David: A song about a stupid man in love with the wrong woman. It could be a hundred years old.
4. Kate Campbell- “New South” from Two Nights in Texas: a live album. If I had to pick my favourite singer to listen to while reading Oxford American, it would be Kate Campbell. I love everything she does, and my friend Levene does, too.
5. Joan Armatrading- “Heading Back to New York City” from Live at the Royal Albert Hall: Even when she isn’t performing a song I particularly care for, as here, I appreciate Joan Armatrading.
6. Carrie Rodriguez- “Before You Say Another Word” from Live in Louisville: Shuffle is strange- third live album in a row. Also, third female artist, and an artist I recently posted about regarding a house concert.
7. Kim Carnes- “Just To See You Smile” from Chasin’ Wild Trains: The acoustic version of the song. Nothing like doing something special for the one you love. There is a wonderful song called “Lucid Dreams” on the same album, performed with Chuck Prophet. I went through a Carnes phase this past autumn; it only lasted a weekend, but I put together a fairly solid compilation as a result.
8. John Paul Keith- “The Last Last Call” from The Man That Time Forgot Nothing to say; good album.
9. The Vern Williams Band- “Cowboy Jack” from Bluegrass From the Gold Country: I still haven’t listened to this album in its entirely as it was a fairly recent purchase. Hardcore, west coast bluegrass.
10. Cliff Richard- “Devil Woman”: “We Don’t Talk Anymore” from Rock n Roll Juvenile was my introduction to Sir Cliff. In 1979 I was working at Dairy Queen with a woman who was a life-long Richard fan and was basking in his North American resurgence. Over time, I came to appreciate bits and pieces of his legacy.
11. Deep Dark Woods- “Charlie’s (Is Coming Down)” from CBC Radio 2′s Great Canadian Song Quest: A strong set of modern music about my country.
12. Mark Erelli & Jeffery Foucault- “Philadelphia Lawyer” from Seven Curses: An album of killing songs. Not a song I’ve ever particularly connected with- similar to “Pancho and Lefty” in that regard. I always enjoy Mark Erelli and I’ve written about his music a number of times…which reminds me, need to visit his sight for his monthly free download; I only remember every second month. Turns out- a nice version of Richard Thompson’s “Dry My Tears and Move On.” Thanks, Mark; makes up for the fact that you’ll be in Edmonton next weekend with Lori McKenna and I won’t be. Someday we’ll cross paths!
13. The Inmates- “Turn Back The Hands of Time” from Fast Forward: “Jealousy” from their First Offense album came up earlier in the day. Pub rock wearing a blues overcoat. When I was in grade ten, I doubt there was another album I played more than First Offence.
14. Feargal Sharkey- “After the Mardi Gras” from Songs from the Mardi Gras: Big fan of The Undertones. Just as big a fan of Feargal’s solo albums. Not a common combination, that. For the longest time, I didn’t even know this album existed. Found it on another of those long nights spent cruising iTunes.
15. Dave Alvin- “King of California” from The Best of the Hightone Years: Love my Dave Alvin. I’m not sure why, but when I’m thinking of my favourite singers, I don’t often include Alvin. But, he is.
16. Blaze Foley- “Our Little Town” from Duct Tape Messiah
17. Bobby Osborne & the Rocky Top X-Press- “Muddy Waters” from New Bluegrass and Old Heartaches: the legend’s latest; again, recently downloaded so I haven’t listened carefully all the way through. Love his voice, as always.
18. The Charles River Valley Boys- “Paperback Writer” from Beatle Country. Downloaded because of the Joe Val connection. Can’t say I really enjoy the album.
19. Steve Forbert- “Baby, Don’t” from steveforbert.com. Over the years, Forbert has given away a couple hundred songs on his site. Not so much recently.
20. Jerry Salley with Del McCoury- “Under a Lonesome Moon” from New Song, Old Friends: One of the many fine guest appearances Del has made over the years. Salley has long been familiar to those of us who scan songwriting credits.
21. Donal Hinely- “Half as Much as Nick Lowe” from Blue State Boy: Could be my theme song: “What am I, without you?”
22. Tom T. Hall- “The Barn Dance” from Country Songs for Children: Purchased as a result of being assigned last year’s Eric Brace-Peter Cooper tribute album. “There was a chicken doing the ‘Chicken Reel’…and the old cow did the ‘Cow Cow Boogie.’”
23. Cheryl Wheeler- “One Step at a Time” from Pointing at the Sun: An album I haven’t spent enough time with.
24. The Carter Brothers- “Hear Jerusalem Moan” from Cracks in the Floor. Another of my less financially rewarding writing gigs. I was asked to review The Carter Brothers’ latest album by a website on the increasingly standard agreement of having the album sent to me digitally. Then, I spend twenty dollars on iTunes to listen to the duo’s previous releases as background. While the music was terrific, it is these kinds of business decisions that conspire to keep me in the negative.
25. J. R. Shore- “The Story of Sugar” from Talkin’ On A Bus: Beautiful Alberta music. Piano. Harmonica. A talking, country blues that hits another level once Jan McKittrick comes in.
26. John Anderson- “1959″ from John Anderson: He has always had a great voice, and it was all that more remarkable in the early 80s when I first heard him singing “Swingin’.” I didn’t realize, at the time, that someone could sound like that! Maybe Anderson was my introduction to distinctive voices. Well, other than Mouth, of Mouth & MacNeal and the guy singing the “Oogachugga” bits on “Hooked on a Feeling.”
27. Red Molly- “Gulf Coast Highway” from James: This trio garnered quite a bit of attention a couple years ago, but they didn’t grab me a strongly as they did others. Still, this track with Fred Gillen, Jr., is a pretty sweet interpretation of the Nanci Griffith classic.
28. The Pretenders- “Break Up the Concrete” from Break Up the Concrete: Just in case I was getting a little soft.
29. Chumbawamba- “All Fur Coat and No Knickers” from The Boy Bands Have Won: Which, I assume, is similar in meaning to wearing a $50 tie with a ten dollar shirt. Chumbawamba announced their dissolution last month. Quite enjoyed the band.
30. Joe Pug- “A Thousand Men” from In the Meantime: Seems like a good way to end the evening. “Each good idea kills at least a thousand men.”