January 26, 2009

No bad news

Don't bring me bad news, no bad news
I don't need none of your bad news today

Those are the opening lines of Patty Griffin's song "No Bad News," one that I was looking forward to hearing when I purchased tickets to see the "Three Girls and Their Buddy show at the Orpheum Theatre in Boston on Feb. 22. Patty, Emmylou Harris, Shawn Colvin and Buddy Miller will be performing, singing harmonies on each other's songs and genuinely having a fine time. And to make things even better, I won a backstage meet & greet with the artists after the show. Now, I have never won anything my entire life so this is very cool. I'm not a big one to shake hands and drool over stars, and don't figure to do it here, but it is exciting to win a chance to say hi.
Now, of course, the "bad news." The Oscars are that night, something I didn't realize when I bought the tix in December. I really don't care a lick about the Oscars, never have, ... except it's my job to care. My day job as an editor in the Arts section of the newspaper makes the Oscars a big deal in my life. I'm hoping some miracle happens that cancels the frickin' awards show or maybe one of the musicians comes down with a cold and they have to reschedule... that would work too. Argh! Stay tuned to find out how this all plays out. For now, enjoy this clip from the tour (this may be my only chance to see them).

January 14, 2009

More banjo

Hanukkah has come and gone. There are so many great thing about this family celebration -- the food, the songs (including the not-quite traditional "Mule Train" (see below for 2007's version), and the great Hanukkah CD swap that my sister Wendy organizes. To me, the key to a good CD swap is coming up with a theme each year. One year it was the Voice Crush, performer's voices who just kill me. This year though I went with a banjo theme -- songs that have a banjo in it.
Here is my list:
"Ain't No Grave," Crooked Still
"My First Lover," Gillian Welch
"Cluck Old Hen," Kris Delmhorst
"Old King," Neil Young
"Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us," Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
Are You Walking & A' Talking With the Lord," The Sacred Shakers
Casimir Pulaski," Sufjan Stevens
"Swimming Pools," Thao
"1234," Feist"
"A Year From Now," Blanche
"Jezebel," Iron & Wine
"Squeeze Box," The Who
"Born to Hum," Erin McKeown
"Cumberland Blues," the Grateful Dead
"O Mary Don't You Weep," Bruce Springsteen

January 11, 2009

Bone of Song

Two posts in a day? What next! Yes, that's right. I just had to share this beautiful drawing my daughter Natalie did for me for Hanukkah. It's her interpretation of Josh Ritter's "Bone of Song." It's so exciting to see her develop her artistic skills and also share of the whole family's love for Josh's music.
To see a bigger image click on the image above or click HERE, it really deserves being viewed in a larger format than I am able to here.

Hello Dolly

OK, I realize that for serious fans of country music, this post will sound incredibly lame because for them, Dolly Parton is and has always been an integral part of the genre. I am not afraid to admit that I am incredibly late to the party and that I have just begun to explore the greatness of her music, but growing up in the Northeast in the '60s, we only knew of Dolly for her "unique physical attributes" and her kind of goofy persona. And I probably would not have thought twice of her if I hadn't fallen for Mindy Smith's album "One Moment More" a couple of years ago. Mindy did a version of Dolly's "Jolene" that was stunning. When I learned that it was a Dolly Parton song and that Dolly sang backup on the song, I had to search out the original version, which is fabulous. And recently when listening to the radio, the DJ mentioned that Dolly had covered the song "Shine" by Collective Soul (a song I'm not particularly fond of) and that it is "awesome." My brain just couldn't figure out how Dolly Parton would cover that song and what it would sound like. Well, if you haven't heard it, check out the video below. The song is a bluegrass bombshell. Her voice is amazing and the band rocks the 'grass like you've never heard. My name is Rich, and I'm a Dolly Parton fan.

January 4, 2009

Been gone so long

It seems like forever since I have had anything worth writing about. December seems like a blur. There were shows to see, but there were also colds to catch, family matters to take care of, and of course the holidays to survive.
I finally resurfaced last night at Atwood's in Cambridge. I had not been there before, and despite the cold I braved the night and am glad I did. Atwood's is a cozy neighborhood bar with apparently great food (though I did not partake). On stage were five lovely voices -- Anne Heaton, Aoife O'Donovan, Rose Polenzani, Laura Cortese and Jennifer Kimball. They took turns, trading lead vocals while the others supplied soaring harmonies and back-up musical accompaniment. The stage was fairly dark, and my camera failed to produce anything worth posting, but I was able to pilfer this photo from Nicole Soriano's Facebook page. Nicole (who I don't know) apparently put the whole show together so we have her to thank.
My resolution for the new year is to get to more shows and learn to use my camera to get better pics... and to write a lot more. Talk again soon. Happy New Year.