Category Archives: Music

Over the Rhine hits the Hudson Valley (ticket discounts included)

 

The husband-wife duo Over the Rhine, whose songs deal thoughtfully with life’s “big questions,” hit the Irvington Town Hall Theater on Saturday night, after stops Thursday at the Towne Crier and Friday at Club Helsinki Hudson.

I got the chance to speak with Linford Detweiler about his thoughts on the band’s 25-years together and what’s ahead, including a barn raising to create a venue and studio at the home he and Karin Bergquist share in southern Ohio. 

Special ticket prices are now available for the show. Orchestra seats are available for only $20, balcony seats for $15, and a few select seats as low as $10. Type in the discount code OTRIRV at checkout when you buy online here. 

Tap or click here to read the full interview on lohud.com or pick up a copy of Friday’s edition of The Journal News.

Sharon Van Etten, Diane Cluck, Lucinda Williams and more record ‘lost’ Karen Dalton songs

cfe97723-df5a-4bcf-883b-db3feb010d45Over the last few years, it seems that every last known recording of the late Karen Dalton — who in recent years has become a role model for women singers, particularly of freak folk variety —has been released, regardless of quality.

Her studio recordings, just two albums, don’t include anything Dalton wrote. Nor, as far as I know, do the three collections of unreleased tracks issued after her death.

More than a few articles about Dalton even say definitively that she never wrote her own songs.

Once again, we see proof that you should never say never.

Tompkins Square Records is about to release an album of songs Dalton wrote, made available by Peter Walker, who handles her estate.

The label, which has done much good work with Daniel Bachman, Bessie Jones, the Imagination Anthem series and other releases, will release the collection on May 26.

“Remembering Mountains: Unheard Songs of Karen Dalton” features 11 songs, each recorded by a different notable female artist, including veterans Lucinda Williams and Tara Jane O’Neil, DIY darling Diane Cluck, and indie icon Sharon Van Etten.

I haven’t heard any of it yet, but I’ll let you know when I do.

In the meantime, here’s the tracklist:

1) REMEMBERING MOUNTAINS – SHARON VAN ETTEN
2) ALL THAT SHINES IS NOT TRUTH – PATTY GRIFFIN
3) THIS IS OUR LOVE – DIANE CLUCK
4) MY LOVE, MY LOVE – JULIA HOLTER
5) MET AN OLD FRIEND – LUCINDA WILLIAMS
6) SO LONG AGO AND FAR AWAY – MARISSA NADLER
7) BLUE NOTION – LAUREL HALO
8) FOR THE LOVE I’M IN – LARKIN GRIMM
9) DON’T MAKE IT EASY – ISOBEL CAMPBELL
10) AT LAST THE NIGHT HAS ENDED – TARA JANE O’NEIL
11) MET AN OLD FRIEND – JOSEPHINE FOSTER

Share the joy of song with Walkabout Clearwater this Saturday (Videos)

Joe Crookston

Joe Crookston

If you’re looking for a family friendly musical event this weekend, Saturday night’s Walkabout Clearwater Chorus and Coffeehouse get-together in White Plains, New York, may be just the thing for you.

The April 11 coffeehouse is the latest in a long series of ongoing monthly gatherings that starts with an informal, low-key audience singalong as a warmup to a concert by notable solo artists and groups springing from the world of folk music.

Mustard's Retreat

Mustard’s Retreat

This month’s performers are Ithaca, New York, -based singer-songwriter Joe Crookston and veteran folk duo Mustard’s Retreat from Michigan. (Duo Kim and Reggie Harris headline next month.)

Walkabout Clearwater has been around for more than 30 years. Founded by Pete Seeger in 1984, it springs from the same agenda that spawned the environment-friendly Hudson River Sloop Clearwater organization, whose best-known project is the annual Great Hudson River Revival festival held every year at Croton Point Park in Westchester County, New York (this year on June 20 and 21).

Continues below videos.

“Walkabout Clearwater is dedicated to promoting environmental awareness and social action through song, education, and other activities,” the group’s website explains.

Anyone can buy a ticket to hear the guest artists. But if you want to get really involved with Walkabout Clearwater’s heart, you can join the chorus, a low-stress, no-audition singing group that rehearses separately at 6:30 p.m.  on the first Thursday of every month at the South Presbyterian Church, 343 Broadway in Dobbs Ferry.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Walkabout Clearwater Coffeehous, featuring Joe Crookston and Mustard’s Retreat

WHEN: Doors at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, April 11. Audience sing-along at 6:45, concert at 7:30.

WHERE: Memorial United Methodist Church, 250 Bryant Avenue, White Plains, New York.

TICKETS: $18 in advance, $23 at the door, $15 for students, $10 for children 6-12. Tap or click www.WalkaboutClearwater.org or call 914-946-1625.

Sharon Van Etten has a new EP coming in June

Sharon Van Etten's new EP is titled "I Don't Want to Let You Down."

The cover of Sharon Van Etten’s upcoming  EP, “I Don’t Want to Let You Down.”

Sharon Van Etten‘s been touring her last album, “Are We There,” pretty steadily since its release almost a year ago. But it turns out she found some time along the way to do some recording, too.

The fruits of the Indie superstar’s off-the-road work will be ready for sampling on June 9, when her new EP drops. It’s a five-song collection called “I Don’t Want to Let You Down.”

No chance of that. Maybe you’ve heard the title tune at one of her shows, but if you  tap or click here, you can hear it again.

It’s a straight-ahead, classic Van Etten. And it’s definitely not going to let you down.

Pre-order it on iTunes or from all the usual sources via the links on her website.

 

 

 

 

 

How Facebook helped Porter Carroll Jr. launch his second act in music — with Hall & Oates

Porter Carroll Jr. (Photo by Michael Nelson For The Journal News)

Porter Carroll Jr. (Photo by Michael Nelson For The Journal News)

Drummer Porter Carroll Jr. and some classmates from Woodlands High School in Westchester County, New York, made a big mark in the music business with the band they started in 1970, before they graduated  — an act that evolved into the  R&B group Atlantic Starr.

After a decade and a half with the band behind hits like “Circles” and “Touch a Four-Leaf Clover,” Carroll struck out on his own as a solo artist, but quickly turned to songwriting. Eventually, tastes changed and that work dried up, leading Carroll to give up the music business – forever, or so he thought.

He went to work hawking haberdashery at Bloomingdale’s and then moved to a long-running gig  in advertising.

Like all good things, that came to an end — in a layoff that put Carroll on the unemployment line for quite awhile, until he got a completely unexpected Facebook message that landed him a gig with Hall & Oates, turning him into a rock ‘n’ roller at age 52.

Read my interview with Porter Carroll Jr. and learn the rest of his remarkable story by tapping or clicking here to visit lohud.com, or pick up a copy of Tuesday’s edition of The Journal News at your local newsstand in Westchester, Rockland, or Putnam county.

INTERVIEW: Suzy Bogguss: ‘I’m still out there playing’

Suzy Bogguss

Suzy Bogguss

Country singer brings her eclectic sound to Daryl’s House on Saturday

If you even half paid attention to country music in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the name Suzy Bogguss will surely ring a bell.

She was on fire, releasing one platinum and three gold albums, along with six top 10 country singles. She was named top new female vocalist of 1988 by the Academy of Country Music, and won the Country Music Association‘s Horizon Award in 1992.

After taking a few years off after the birth of her son, Ben, in 1995, Bogguss returned with a decidedly folkier, indie approach to her craft. It’s kept her flying a little farther under the radar of mainstream country music, but hasn’t prevented her from having a decent career of touring and recording.

After Ben’s birth, “I was only doing about 40 to 45 shows a year when he was in his younger years,” Bogguss tells Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone?  “Now I’m really having to rebuild a lot and just let people know I’m still out there playing… I never really went away.”

On Saturday (March 28), her tour brings her to the Hudson Valley, where she’ll play at Daryl’s House, rocker Daryl Hall’s club in Pawling, New York.

It’s a good thing she didn’t disappear. Her latest album, “Lucky,” is a collection of 11 well-chosen and beautifully performed versions of songs by honky-tonk legend Merle Haggard, one of the originators of the swinging Bakersfield Sound.

Casual listeners may know Haggard best for the 1969 hit “Okie From Muskogee.” Bogguss’ collection omits that tune, and yet it’s still crammed with familiar numbers, including “Today I Started Loving You Again,” “If We Make It Through December,” and “The Bottle Let Me Down.”

‘I like where I’m at in my life’

At age 58, Bogguss sounds like an artist who’s enjoying her career more than ever, even side of being an independent artist who has to lug her equipment around without a road crew

“In my head, I still look like I’m 21 doin’ that,” she says. “But then I think about how ridiculous it must look to see a 58-year-old woman schlepping her gear around like a teenager. I think that’s probably pretty funny to some people, but for me, it just feels like, ‘Hey, that’s what I do.’

“I’m a working musician. We schlep our stuff through the airport. Sometimes I actually find myself with a giddy, stupid smile on my face walking through the airport with my guitar on my back going, ‘Yeah, I got a good job,'” she adds with a laugh.

“I like my freedom. I like where I’m at in my life. I like playing these smaller places,” she explains.

“I know what I’m doing, I choose my own gigs, I make my own choices, and I really like that a lot.”

‘Glad I’m not doin’ that anymore’

She says she’s reminded that she doesn’t miss her days of mainstream country stardom when she watches the ABC prime time soap opera “Nashville.”

“It doesn’t compare to the life that I have now, but it does compare to the life that I had in the ’90s. A lot of that stuff is true, especially when you get to the drama of record labels, and publishers, and just the everyday ‘I need to think of something that will make me be in the public’s eye.’ Like, ‘Here’s a new recipe for dip,’ you know. ‘What can I do to get people to look at me right now,”’ she says.

“That gets old, that really gets old — especially people coming to your house and showing you racks of clothes and sticking makeup brushes in your face every second. I feel for them when I see that stuff on the show. I go, ‘Oh, I’m glad I’m not doin’ that anymore.'”

Always eclectic

While she’s always been what she calls an “eclectic” country artist, making an all-Merle album was a bit of a risk, but one that was probably inevitable. It certainly got fan financial support, with 964 backers kicking in at total of $75,211 on the album’s Kickstarter campaign, which had a goal of $50,000.

But she admits that some fans have been a little leery of the idea of her doing Haggard songs.

“Some of my fans are going, ‘Honky-tonk music, that’s not what we’re used to from you.’ But then when they hear it, they’re like, Oh, that’s a Suzy Bogguss record, not a Merle Haggard record. Sometimes you have to get over those little perception hurdles. But, all in all, once they hear it, they’re delighted,” she explains.

deeper connection to Haggard

Her own connection to Haggard deepened as a result of making the album.

“My first song that actually got on the charts was a Merle Haggard song. It’s called “Somewhere Between,” and that was my first album title on Capitol. So I already had an affinity for him from my youth,” she says, adding that the process of making the album gave her a deeper appreciation for Haggard’s music.

“Listen to what an amazing craftsman this guy is,” she says. “I think I came out just thinking, wow, before, I always thought Merle Haggard has a gift, he can just sit down and write these songs that sound like this happened to him last night and it’s real easy for him.

“But as I got into arranging the songs, and these melodies and stuff, I was like, this is not easy stuff. He has worked his ass off to hone these things down to where there’s not one extra word in there.

“Half the time he didn’t even sing the chorus twice. He would just go, ‘OK, here’s a 2-minute song that’s gonna break your heart. Listen to this.'”

Album of originals up next

The experience also challenged her to do more songwriting herself, with husband Doug Crider.

“We took all of January off and we’ve been writing like crazy,” she says.  “I really got inspired by doing these Merle arrangements to go back and really hone my songwriting chops again. I will probably go back in at the end of the year and cut an album of all originals.”

IF YOU GO
  • What: Suzy Bogguss, with Craig Smith on guitar and Charlie Chadwick on bass
  • When: 9 p.m., Saturday, March 28 (doors at 7:30)
  • Where: Daryl’s House, 130 Route 22, Pawling, NY 12564
  • Tickets and info: $25 standing, $45 seated, available online by tapping or clicking here or calling 845-289-0185

 

 

 

 

 

Speed the Plough takes over Union Hall next Friday

Speed the Plough at The Fifth Estate in Brooklyn. (© 2014, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Speed the Plough at The Fifth Estate in Brooklyn. (© 2014, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

It’s been almost a year since I’ve seen Speed the Plough play live. It’s not that the band hasn’t been playing — while STP doesn’t mount major tours, there have been several gigs in the area since that appearance in May at The Fifth Estate in Brooklyn. Scheduling just hasn’t worked out for me.

So I’m looking forward to seeing them at Brooklyn’s Union Hall on Friday, March 20 — and making sure the scheduling works out this time.

The New Jersey chamber pop family band will be joined by two other notable outfits: the indie super group Heroes of Toolik and Jersey-rooted Deena & the Laughing Boys.

STP and its rhythmic, classically informed pop has been part of my musical life for a long time. I can’t explain that much better than in did in a blurb I was honored to have included in the band’s 2014 retrospective album “The Plough & the Stars”:

In this crazy, uncertain world, there are precious few constants. Speed the Plough is one of them. I feel like I’ve known this band forever, even if I didn’t really discover it until 1996 … It may never displace death or taxes as one of life’s certainties, but the world is a better place with Speed the Plough giving those two a run for the money.

The lineup has changed considerably over the years, but Toni and John Baumgartner have been there all along. And there’s usually been a Demeski (first Feelies drummer Stan Demeski, whose wife Janet is John Baumgartner’s sister, and now their son John) and, for a time, another member of the Feelies, Brenda Sauter, and her husband, Rich Barnes.

Heroes of Toolik is a band that hasn’t been on my radar before, and I can’t imagine why, given its heritage. But it’s there now, for keeps, and should be on your radar, too. It has quite a heritage, drawing its notable members from a bunch of important indie bands: Arad Evans, on guitar and voice, has performed with avant garde icons Rhys Chatham and Glenn Branca; Peter Zummo, on trombone, with the Lounge Lizards; Ernie Brooks, on bass, was in the Modern Lovers; drummer Billy Ficca fropm Television and the Washington Squares; and fiddler Jennifer Coates from Jenny Get Around. The band’s sound has a lot in common with STP, as this clip demonstrates.

Deena Shoshkes is somebody I’ve been planning to write about for awhile. She may be best known as a founder of Eighties indie band the Cucumbers, which was a mainstay of the Hoboken scene centered on Maxwell’s. Her second solo album, “Rock River,” was released just last yea. It’s a delightful collection of 12 tunes  that continues the joyful, almost childlike sound that the Cucumbers created. For a sample of her latest album, tap or click here.

Doors open at 8 p.m., with the show starting at 8:30, on Friday, March 20, at Union Hall, 702 Union Street, Brooklyn. Admission is $10, with tickets available online by tapping or clicking here. Call 718-638-4400 or email info@unionhallny.com for more information.