Category Archives: Country

Kelly Flint bringing ‘lots of new songs’ to Rye on Thursday

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Kelly Flint, who once was the voice of the New York City-based postmodern lounge group Dave’s True Story, is performing her own music in a show in Rye  on Thursday.

She’ll be one of a trio of singer-songwriters taking performing as on a Rye Arts Center Live! Coffeehouse bill at Le Pain Quotidien.

2439965Paul Sforza and George Kilby Jr. will also perform.

Flint, a Scarsdale resident, will be joined on the upright bass by fomer DTS bandmate Jeff Eyrich, who promises Flint will be performing “lots of new songs.”

Flint started performing her own folk-inflected songs in earnest after DTS broke up in 2007, though she was writing songs long before she started singing bandmate Dave Cantor‘s jazzy songs in DTS beginning in the mid 1990s.

Catch up with  what Kelly’s been doing lately by reading the interview she did with me 14 months ago for The Journal News/lohud.com.

IF YOU GO

What: Kelly Flint. Paul Sforza, and George Kilby Jr. in performance

Where: Rye Arts Center Live! Coffeehouse at Le Pain Quotidien, 30 Purchase Street, Rye, New York

When:  7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26 (Doors at 6 p.m.)

Tickets: $10 in advance (GO HERE to buy online), $12 at the door.

 

 

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Underground Horns, Blind Boy Paxton, The Foxfires, and Three Pints Shy perform tomorrow at Haverstraw RiverArts & Music Festival

HRA_AD4_2x2_8Stick around Rockland County on Saturday, Sept .17, and get yourself to the wonderful Haverstraw RiverArts & Music Festival.

It’s a one-day  celebration of the mighty Hudson River in a cool urban village that provided many of the multiple millions of bricks that transformed Manhattan and many other parts of what ‘s now New York City.

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Underground Horns

It was started in 2014 by Haverstraw RiverArts, to bring a full day of music and art set against the backdrop of the Hudson for the residents of Rockland and beyond.

From noon to 6 p.m., Emeline Park at the foot of Main Street will be transformed into a wonderland of art, live music, food, a beer garden, and craft vendors.

It’s all free.

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Blind Boy Paxton

Everything will be great, but the music will be especially hot this year, with a lineup that includes a danceable New York City horn band, a rising young country blues star, a West Nyack indie-rock band, and a Celtic combo. (Full disclosure: I helped recruit two of the bands.)

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The Foxfires

Here’s the music schedule:

Student musician & Welcome – Noon-12:30 p.m.

The Foxfires (West Nyack “Seagaze” indie rock) – 12:30-1:30

Three Pints Shy (Celtic) – 1:40-2:25

Student musicians – 2:30-3

Blind Boy Paxton (country blues) – 3-4

Announcements – 4:45-5

Underground Horns (NYC funk horns) – 5-6

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Three Pints Shy

If you go for the music, you should also check out the food and crafts and the professional artists who will display their work along the waterfront.

A special feature of this year’s festival is the 1885 wooden schooner Pioneer, which will offer rides throughout the day for $25 per person. GO HERE TO BUY TICKETS.

 

Late discovery: Robert Earl Keen revisits his past by going where he’s never been before

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Listening to Texas singer-songwriter icon Robert Earl Keen‘s new collection of bluegrass, “Happy Prisoner,” for the first time can be a bit of a shock — in a good way.

I know, it was released 10 months ago, but I avoided listening to it. I guess I feared it would feature more of the frat-boy, Shiner Bock-swilling tomfoolery that has defined much of his career.

Truth be told, I fell in love with Keen’s broken-down-sounding voice and folksy sensibility in 1984, when he (with “Jr.” appended to his name in those early days, though it’s hard to imagine anyone would have confused him with his geologist father) released “No Kinda Dancer” on Rounder Records. It was a nearly perfect document of one of that era’s freshest new singer-songwriter voices.

He quickly moved from the one guy, one guitar sound to a the bigger, boisterous sound he’s known for today. And, while I liked the persona much less, I continued to follow his music and went to his shows from time to time. Despite his over-the-top fans — I witnessed one of Barbara Bush’s troublemaking friends get expertly cut from the herd at an REK show at  the Bowery Ballroom in 2001 — I have to admit I still love that voice and sensibility.

“Happy Prisoner” may be Keen’s first, and probably only, dalliance on record with bluegrass. But I’ve got to say that it feels like it has far more in common with the singer-songwriter he started out being than it does with the Texas icon he’s become.

Tradition sounds good on him.

His take isn’t one of hidebound traditionalism, though, on any of the tracks. Keen — with a little help from his Texas A&M pal and onetime roommate Lyle Lovett and Natalie Maines of Dixie Chicks fame on a couple of tracks — serves up a fresh, entertaining helping of  rootsy storytelling.

I can’t get enough of this album, which includes bluegrass classics such as “Wayfaring Stranger” and “Hot Corn, Cold Corn,” alongside his peppy take on Richard Thompson’s “52 Vincent Black Lightning.” He even does a credible job on 1959’s “Long Black Veil,” first recorded by Lefty Frizzell but most closely associated in my mind with Johnny Cash, who released two versions of it — a studio cut in 1965 and a live version on the 1968 album “Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison.”

In all, this project went a long way toward reminding me what a genuine, original voice Keen has. And I have little doubt that it will help me — and maybe you — hear his back catalogue with fresh ears.

 

 

 

 

 

Ron Fierstein, longtime music manager, returns to his roots with new book about Polaroid-Kodak lawsuit

Ron Fierstein’s new book takes is about Edwin Land, one of the founders of Polaroid Corp. Land and Polaroid launched an epic battle against eventual rival Kodak. “It’s a fantastic story almost of operatic dimension,” Fierstein says. “They went from being mentor-protégé to arch-enemies over 60 years.” (Photo: Carucha L. Meuse/The Journal News)

I knew Ron Fierstein’s name from his successful career managing singer-songwriters such as Suzanne Vega, Shawn Colvin, and Mary Chapin Carpenter. And it occurred to me that he might be related to a Broadway macher.

What I didn’t know was that Fierstein, who moved to Chappaqua from Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood two decades ago, had a successful career as a patent lawyer before he helped Vega navigate to her early success.

He’s quit the music business and spent the last several years writing a book about the historic case he worked on while an associate at Fish & Neave in New York City: Polaroid vs. Kodak.

Fierstein took some time the other day to meet me in his Bedfore Hills office and talk about his life, his multiple careers, and the new book: “A Triumph of Genius: Edwin Land, Polaroid, and the Kodak Patent War.”

The book is a remarkably detailed account of a Land, a fascinating and brilliant man, and the souring of the relationship between his company, Polariod, and Eastman Kodak, its longtime “mentor” and friendly competitor.

Tap or click here now to read the full interview at lohud.com.

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

 

 

 

 

 

Langhorne Slim buys little pink house for a song

Langhorne Slim and Kenny Siegal at City Winery. (© 2014, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Langhorne Slim and Kenny Siegal at City Winery. (© 2014, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Langhorne Slim is a homeowner.

And it’s not just any home, but a little pink house on a street with a history in Nashville, where he’s been living for awhile.

“It’s magical,” Slim (born Sean Scolnick in the suburban Philadelphia town that comprises the second half of his stage name) said Tuesday evening.

Talking is something Langhorne Slim does well. He rambled and free-associated through a lengthy introduction of the his friends in the band Twain, who opened Tuesday night’s show, the second of a two-night stand at City Winery. And all his talking ultimately led to the story of his new house

Slim, like the majority of working musicians, didn’t exactly have the funds at hand to buy a house — even in Nashville, where prices are much lower than in the NYC metro region — on a whim. But when somebody in his life sent him a photo of this house, it was pretty much love at first sight.

Like any would-be suitor, he stalked it at first.

Langhorne Slim at City Winery. (© 2014, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Langhorne Slim at City Winery. (© 2014, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

“I sat in front of it,” he explained. Then, in what would have been a massively embarrassing moment for most people, but not, apparently, for Slim, a man came out and asked him if he had any questions about the house.

“Are you the owner?” was the first thing Slim said he asked.

With that question out of the way, Gary, the owner, invited Slim inside to show him around. During the tour, Gary asked Slim if he was a musician, because “we have a deal for musicians.”

Given that they were in Music City, Slim figured that was just a come-on, but quickly learned that it was for real. And that the neighborhood has a long list of resident musician. Slim even mentioned something about a Mariachi band that used to play on the house’s porch.

Basically, the way Slim tells it, Gary, who has put the house on the market for the first time in 30 years,  decided that Slim and the house were made for each other.

Money, in this case, was an issue. But love has a way of conquering all, so Slim kept at it, trying to win the house. He even wrote a song about the house, and sent it to Gary.

When he didn’t get an immediate response — the owners were in Belize at the time, but had been very quick to reply to his flurry of emails during negotiations —  he says he figured he had lost at love, and that the song sucked.

Lucky for Slim, there was just a delay, and it all worked out., in part because of the song.

So, his house is, literally, a little pink house. Well, maybe not so little, at least by New York Standards, as I believe it clocks in around 2,000 square feet.

It’s in one of Nashville’s hippest, quirkiest neighborhoods. And while Slim didn’t reveal the address, he did, by the end of the evening, provide enough clues in his delightful ramblings and in his love song to the house that it wouldn’t be hard to track down the address.

Out of respect for Slim, I won’t help him further erode his privacy by posting a photo, address, or even name the neighborhood. But believe me, it’s a pretty cool place. Almost makes me want to move to Nashville.

Speaking of privacy, Slim noted that somebody told him he should install privacy fencing around his newly acquired yard. But he refused, noting that “we all have penises and vaginas” and we might as well get used to seeing them occasionally.

It’s no surprise that Slim would buy a magical house. It seems like everything about Slim seems magical.

He’s uncomfortable having his photo taken — he politely shut down a camera-phone user sitting stageside at his show Tuesday night at City Winery. He wore a broad-brimmed hat and had the stage lights dimmed — making photo-taking difficult at best. And he even announced that while he would pose for photos with fans at the end of the show, he’d really rather skip that part and just give fans a hug and talk awhile.

Twain at City Winery. (© 2014, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Twain at City Winery. (© 2014, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

But now, about the show. After a remarkable set by two of three members of Twain, a fantastic band whose lead singer evoked Roy Orbison, among other ethereal vocalists, Slim took the stage.

He played some of his best-known tunes, reaching back to some of his earlier material, but giving plenty of attention to his most recent album, 2012’s The Way We Move.

He also brought that album’s producer, Kenny Siegal, whose Old Soul Studios in Catskill, N.Y., was where that album was recorded, onstage to accompany him with a 12-string on a few songs — some of them from the album Slim will start recording with Siegal in Nashville in short order.

 

 

 

Carlene Carter Pays Tribute to Her Family (Video)

carlene carter album cover

The onetime country wild child brings her love letter to family traditions to The Cutting Room in Manhattan on Wednesday Night

You might think that it would be a no-brainer for a blogger who named his blog after a Carter Family song to write about Carlene Carter’s latest album, Carter Girl.

But you’d be wrong.

I’ve been listening to her wonderful collection of a dozen tunes — drawn from three generations of her family heritage — regularly since its April release. But I haven’t been able to bring myself to write about it.

But now, with Carlene stopping in New York City for a show at The Cutting Room on Wednesday evening, the time has come.

Carter Girl is a loving tribute to Carlene’s family, with songs taken from three generations — her grandparents’, the Carter Family, her mom June and stepdad Johnny Cash’s, and her own.

It’s one of the most heartfelt tributes imaginable, but one that maintains a clear artistic vision that doesn’t fall into a fawning tone. Carlene embraces her family heritage in a seriously loving way, sounding as good as she’s ever sounded.

In a way, Carlene seems to have reached a point in her artistic life much like that of stepsister Rosanne Cash. But while Rosanne used new songs to explore her roots and more on The River & the Thread,  Carlene has tackled family classics to do the job.

Nine of the 12 tunes are credited in whole or in part, to Maybelle or A.P. Carter, her grandparents, who were the original Carter Family. One is her mom’s, one was written by her aunt Helen Carter, and the remaining tune — the unabashedly sentimental tale of her grandparents,  “Me and the Wildwood Rose” — by Carlene.

The album features Carlene in some memorable pairings — Willie Nelson duets on “Troublesome Waters” in a version that brings to the fore its heritage as an old Protestant hymn (Fanny Brice’s “Blessed Assurance” from 1873), Elizabeth Cook on the Carter Family take on a traditional song subject, “Blackie’s Gunman,” Kris Kristofferson on “Black Jack David,” another classic reinvented by the Carter Family, and Vince Gill on “Lonesome Valley 2003,” another Carter Family classic re-imagined by Carlene and Al Anderson as a take on her mother’s death.

She won’t have her star helpers with her when she takes the stage at The Cutting Room. But a reviews of her Oct. 12 show in Boston suggests that Carlene and her guitar are more than capable of putting across the Carter Girl tunes, along with some old favorites and some unrecorded gems, quite well.

You’ll be sorry if you miss this show.

If You Go

Carlene Carter performs at 7:30 p.m.. (doors open at 6:30), Wednesday, Oct. 15. The Cutting Room, 44 East 32nd Street, New York, NY.  Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 on day of show, and available by tapping or clicking here.