Category Archives: News

Get ready for The Chew Toys to put the bite on you (video, SoundCloud)

Jay Tag and Kevin Dickson are The Chew Toys. (Photo by Dave Ehrlich)

Jay Tag and Kevin Dickson are The Chew Toys. (Photo by Dave Ehrlich)

Northeast LA duo unleashing self-titled debut album on Sept. 2

The Chew Toys debut album coverThe infectious sound of The Chew Toys makes them one of the most entertaining new bands in Los Angeles these days.

The self-proclaimed queercore duo comprises married couple Jay Tag and Kevin Dickson, who have been polishing — maybe refining is a better word — their punk sound with dozens of live shows around Northeast LA since 2012.

On Sept. 2, this local legend will take break out of LA and take on the unsuspecting world with their first album, a self-titled collection of 13 songs — 11 of which clock in at well under 3 minutes — that are sure to become earworms.

Check out a video and a SoundCloud song sample after the jump.

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The road goes on forever in push to make ‘Roadrunner’ Massachusetts’ official rock song (poll, video)

Boston music maven and mayoral adviser Joyce Linehan promises to continue her fight

Jonathan Richman (pictured above on Instagram with Lil BUB, the rockin’  Internet cat) says “Roadrunner,” the iconic Massachusetts anthem that may be the Modern Lovers founder’s best-known song, isn’t good enough be an official song of any kind for the Bay State.

And since the state legislature ended its session last Friday without taking action on a bill to make it the state’s official rock song, it looks like he’ll get his way — for now, at least.

But Joyce Linehan, policy adviser to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, vows that the fight’s not over.

“Roadrunner might not be the official rock song of the Commonwealth, but it’s certainly the unofficial,” Linehan posted to her Facebook page Tuesday. 

But she followed up Wednesday morning with a stronger statement in response to a tweet from comedian John Hodgman, who has supported the “Roadrunner” effort.

“John Hodgman has spoken. I will fight on,” she posted.

 

Walsh introduced the  bill to make “Roadrunner” the state rock song back in February 2013, before he won the mayoralty in Beantown and gave up his legislative seat.

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Stew & Heidi Rodewald’s ‘Family Album’ conquers Oregon Shakespeare Festival (video)

Family_746x420If you find yourself in Oregon before the end of August, be sure to set aside a few hours to check out the world premiere of the latest musical play by Stew and Heidi Rodewald of The Negro Problem at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland.

For fans, “Family Album” will seem familiar, as they’ve incorporated songs fans have heard TNP play in concert or in other, less-structured, theater pieces over the years. And charismatic guitarist Christian Gibbs, who was a linchpin in Stew and Heidi’s breakthrough show, “Passing Strange,” steps forward to take a larger role in this show.

You’ll see what I mean by the familiarity when you watch the show’s video trailer and read the review in the Los Angeles Times. After you’ve had a look, go here for more information and  to buy tickets.

The show was created with director Joanna Settle, a longtime Stew-and-Heidi collaborator who now heads the theater school at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts.

Tickets have been selling well, but as of today, there are 16 performance dates for which seats are still available. Prices range from $25 to $99. Go here now for more information and tickets. The run ends Aug. 31.

 

Blues great Paul Geremia sidelined by stroke

 

Paul Geremia's "Love My Stuff," issued in 2011, is a superb collection of many of his most familiar tunes in live performance.

Paul Geremia’s “Love My Stuff,” issued in 2011, is a superb collection of many of his most familiar tunes in live performance.

Acoustic blues musician Paul Geremia had a stroke in late June, family and friends confirm.

Geremia, who is 70, spent a few days a hospital after he had the stroke the weekend of June 28, and was moved to an Ohio rehab facility. Friends who have spoken with or visited Paul say he seems to be progressing well.

Geremia, a native of Providence, R.I., is a first-rate bluesman, a songwriter and a scholar of early jazz and blues — one who has worked steadily at his craft since the 1960s. He has produced 11 albums since 1968 and has toured steadily

He is an amazing guitarist and is considered one of the best country blues fingerpickers on six and twelve-string guitar — acoustic only, he doesn’t record on electric — a soaring harmonica-player, and has a husky soulful voice.

He’s shared the stage with Babe Stovall, Yank Rachel,Son House, Skip James, Howlin’ Wolf, and most importantly, Carolina bluesman Pink Anderson, who had something of a career rebirth thanks to Geremia’s efforts. Geremia also absorbed the music of Leadbelly, Percy Mayfield, Charlie Patton, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson, Willie McTell, Scrapper Blackwell, Blind Blake, and many more. He also writes songs that fit neatly into that rich musical niche.

Blues musician Roy Bookbinder said recently, “Paul is the king of all of us.” The late Dave Van Ronk called Geremia “the best acoustic blues musician in America.” Acoustic Guitar magazine named Geremia “one of the best country blues fingerpickers ever.”

Terri Thal, who managed Van Ronk and Geremia in the 1960s, tells this story about Geremia:

“Recently, when Martus, the man I live with, and I went to the Turning Point in Piermont, N.Y., to hear Paul, as we do whenever he plays there, Martus asked, ‘Do you thing he’ll play anything new?’

“Of course, I didn’t know what Paul’s set would comprise. Lo and behold, the entire set was music we hadn’t heard before–or at least, for a long time–and we’ve heard Paul often.

“I think his memory is stashed with such a huge variety of songs and stories that he could go for many hours playing without repeating anything.”

Fans are encouraged to write to Geremia during his long recuperation. He’s reachable by email at  at paulgeremia@gmail.com or by post at:

Ohio Health and Rehabilitation
1087 Dennison Ave.
Columbus, OH 43201
Attn: Paul Geremia

 

Amy Helm’s Hudson Valley roots keep her anchored

Amy Helm

Amy Helm

I was thrilled to chat with Amy Helm the other day ahead of her appearance this Saturday at the 10th annual Pleasantville Music Festival in lovely downtown Pleasantville in Westchester County, N.Y.

Helm talked about her famous surname and her recent move out of ensemble work and into the spotlight as the leader of her own band, Amy Helm & The Handsome Strangers.

Read the full interview with Helm at lohud.com by tapping or clicking here, or see it in print in Friday’s editions of The Journal News.

 

Update: Rodeo Bar announces shutdown

Rodeo Bar is ending its policy of free live music at the end of July.

New York’s Longest-Running Honky-Tonk to shut down at the end of July; The Eugene Chrysler Band to play the venue’s final show

UPDATE: Around 11:45 a.m. Thursday, just hours after Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? posted an item confirming that Manhattan’s Rodeo Bar was no longer booking bands, the bar posted a notice on Facebook  that it’s shutting down altogether  after July 27. This is the full post:

Dear Rodeo Bar patrons and music lovers,

We are deeply saddened to announce that after 27 years in business, Rodeo Bar and Grill is closing its doors after July 27, 2014.

Here at New York’s longest-running honky-tonk, we stayed open during some of the city’s toughest times — Hurricane Sandy, the 2003 blackout, 9/11 — but recent rent increases, combined with a changing landscape, have made it impossible for us continue.

For the past three decades, Rodeo Bar has been home to thousands of bands, and we’re proud to have helped define the country, Americana and rockabilly scene in New York City for all these years. But more than that, we were supported by an incredible community of people from New York and all over the world who helped make this bar great. We can’t thank y’all enough.

For the rest of July, we’re open every night, and the music schedule is killer — and free, as it always has been. So come on down and join us for every show, every Shiner, and every moment with the horse trailer we call home. We’re going out with our boots on.

Much Love, and Until the Buffalo Sings,

Rodeo Bar

The final show at the Rodeo has just been announced: The Eugene Chrysler Band at 10 p.m. on Saturday, July 26. The announcement promises free CDs and guest stars.

My original post appears after the jump.

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Jonathan Larson’s lasting impact honored in song (video)

The crowd gathers to hear Jonathan Larson's dad and sister talk about the late composer in the Grand Tier lobby at New York City Center on June 25, 2014. (© 2014 Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

The crowd gathers to hear Jonathan Larson’s dad and sister talk about the late composer in the Grand Tier lobby at New York City Center on June 25, 2014. (© 2014 Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

New York City Center Encores! Off-Center (whose website is offline at this writing) revived “Rent” creator Jonathan Larson’s autobiographical show, “tick, tick … BOOM!” last week.

It was important enough that it lured Karen Olivo, a Broadway star (an alum of “Rent” and “In the Heights”) who has otherwise abandoned New York in favor of a life in Wisconsin, back to town.

And it really got actor and “In The Heights” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda fired up to write some reflections on Larson for The New York Times.

Leslie Odom Jr., of “Rent” and TV’s “Smash” fame, rounded out the cast.

If you missed it, that’s a terrible shame. But you can read the New York Daily News review here and check out the Times review here.

I saw the first performance, on Wednesday, and made a point to arrive early for the pre-show “Lobby Project” event in the hot-as-Hades Grand Tier lobby featuring Larson’s dad and sister talking about their late relative and promoting awareness of Marfan syndrome, the genetic disorder that contributed to his untimely death.

When “Rent” became a big hit after Larson’s death, his family and friends set up the Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation to provide grants for composers, lyricists, and book writers in musical theater. The grants program is now run by the American Theatre Wing as Jonathan Larson Grants.

After Larson’s relatives spoke about him, the subject of the grants program came up, and it was announced that 107 people had received money from it so far  — and that many of those people were in the packed lobby.

That’s when people pulled out sheet music or opened it on their mobile devices and broke into a serenade, performing Larson’s iconic “Rent” tune “Season of Love.”

It was a grand moment.

I managed to catch much of it on video. Check it out: