Pioneering composer and electro-acoustic violist Martha Mooke of Nyack at the Art Cafe in Nyack on Nov. 17, 2015. (Photo: Peter Carr/The Journal News)
Veteran electro-acoustic violist Martha Mooke is unleashing her new CD on the world with a brunch and concert on Sunday, Jan. 13, at Manhattan’s Cutting Room.
She’s no ordinary violist, so it’s fitting that her new disc, with its beautifully rhythmic, meditative tunes that open windows that offer a peek at the sonic world of her imagination, is titled “No Ordinary Window.”
“I slip through the cracks of defined boundaries,” she says. “I keep re-creating my way…. I try to take on challenges.”
I had a chance to spend an hour talking with Mooke about the project, her career, and her life in Nyack.
I’m trying something new by posting info from time to time about upcoming shows that are really worth checking out. (If I get really organized, I’ll try to do this on a regular basis — at least once a month.) I’m keeping them short, but I’m including info and links so you can pursue these opportunities with ease.
If you read the Village Voice, you probably saw the recent cover story about the authentic young bluesman Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton. I first saw Paxton as a member of Jessy Carolina & The Hot Mess (known at the time by the much funnier name the Bill Murray Experience). It was — and still is — a great band, and Paxton was only one of many memorable things about it. While Paxton is getting a helluva a lot of exposure as a solo artist, he’s still listed as a member of JC&THM. (Oddly, the Voice piece doesn’t even mention his association with the group, which I’ve seen at small venues like the Cupping Room Cafe and in Washington Square Park. Also, the Voice cover photo is flopped, making Blind Boy appear to be a left-handed player when he’s most assuredly right-handed. I’m not sure I can blame the Voice for the flop, though, since another photo that appears to be from the same shoot is on Blind Boy’s Facebook page, depicting him as a left-handed banjo player. And given that it has the photographer’s credit on the image, it must have been the shooter’s choice.)
If Paxton appears with the band at Terra Blues on Feb. 28, I’ll be thrilled, but I won’t be disappointed if he doesn’t. He’s a prodigious talent, but he’s just one of the band’s great talents. The band plays old-timey American pop and jazz and does it well. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen this band, so I’m really looking forward to this show. (I realize now that the six-string banjo he’s playing in my photos will offend purists, but I’m guessing that was for convenience, as he also plays the more traditional five-string model, though I’m not sure whether he has a four-string version.)
Jessy Carolina & The Hot Mess play at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, at Terra Blues, 149 Bleecker Street, Manhattan. The club charges an entrance fee that lets you stay all night. Table reservations are available from 6-8 p.m. After that, it’s first-come, first-seated. For more info about making a reservation, tap or click here.
BLOG BONUS: If you want to be sure to see Paxton in action, you can do it on Friday, April 17, at the 7th Annual Brooklyn Folk Festival. Tap or click here for more information on that three-day program.
This mellow singer-songwriter is a native of Richmond, Virginia. He made a big splash in 2012 with his first album as a leader, “Big Inner.” He’s got a great baritone voice and a sort of happy stoner affect, which adds a dreamlike aspect to his musical storytelling.
His new album, “Fresh Blood,” drops on March 10. But he’s having an album release show at BRIC House (next door to the BAM Harvey Theater) a week earlier, on March 3. Last I checked, tickets were still available. He’s performing with a 30-piece orchestra, which should really show off his work in a whole new way. I’ve listened to the new album once already, and it’s at least as strong as the last one. So this is going to be a great show.
Here’s a video of a song from the new album:
The show is at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 3, in the BRIC House Ballroom, 647 Fulton Street, Brooklyn. Tickets are $18 in advance, $22 on day of show. For info and tickets, tap or click here.
This one’s a real nostalgia trip — imaginary nostalgia, I guess, for someone like me, who never saw The Cowsills back in the day. (I have seen Susan Cowsill a number of times, solo and in the wonderful Continental Drifters, however, so it’s not as if I have no Cowsills experience whatsoever.)
The band’s first hit “The Rain, The Park & Other Things,” was on the 1967 debut album. The Cowsills also inspired TV’s “The Partridge Family.”
The Cowsills are scheduled to play a 50th Anniversary reunion show at the Cutting Room in NYC in April.
Two of the original performing Cowsills are dead (Barry died during Katrina, and Bill died of an illness around the same time), but this lineup of 7 still has 5 members with the family name, plus drummer Russ Broussard, who’s performed with Susan Cowsill for years and married her after her divorce from Peter Holsapple.
The Cowsills perform at 7 p.m. (doors at 6) on Saturday, April 11, at The Cutting Room, 44 East 32nd Street, Manhattan. Tickets are $30, plus a $20 food-drink minimum. For more info and tickets, tap or click here.
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.
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.
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.