Sunday, May 01, 2005


Telluride celebrates 30 Years With a CD and DVD Set

From Rounder Records
Rounder Records is proud to announce the June 7th release of Telluride Bluegrass Festival: 30 Years, a CD and DVD celebrating the 30th anniversary of Colorado’s Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Featured performers on the CD include Nickel Creek, Sam Bush, Hot Rize, the Waifs, Kasey Chambers, and the Yonder Mountain String Band. In addition to concert footage of all of these acts, the DVD boasts performances from Emmylou Harris, Bela Fleck, the Alison Brown Quartet, and an array of compelling interviews with the artists, fans, and organizers of Telluride. In most cases, the songs featured on the DVD are different from those on the CD release.

For four days in the summer of every year, the idyllic mountain village of Telluride plays host to one of the most engagingly eclectic, freewheeling roots music festivals in the world. While grounding itself in classic bluegrass, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival is unafraid to book musicians from many genres – including rock, folk, jazz, and jam artists. The result is an uplifting, creatively energized environment with a positive undercurrent of social and environmental responsibility. The vibrancy of the Telluride experience is so perfectly captured on both the CD and DVD editions of Telluride Bluegrass Festival: 30 Years that one can almost smell the cool mountain air by just listening or watching.

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Rounder Records


In works on fiddling etc., the pickings are good

From the Boston Globe
Who can doubt that the world is too much with us these days? And so in abreaction people turn back to the past, to what seem like simpler times: listening to box-issue CDs of 1960s folk music, seeking out vintage instruments, maybe even taking up ukulele or Hawaiian guitar -- sales of both of which are booming. Meanwhile, repelled by the ever-increasing commercialization that has turned country music into just another barely distinguishable branch of pop, thousands of listeners have found an alternative in bluegrass, swelling the ranks at festivals and concerts.

''Discovering Bluegrass" is the subtitle of Stephanie P. Ledgin's recent ''Homegrown Music" (Praeger, $39.95), and her book is indeed a lively, readable introduction to this distinctly American form. Chapters cover in a basically conversational mode the crossbreeding of Appalachian and African-American strains that formed bluegrass, its history, bluegrass festivals, instruments, and major performers.

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Boston Globe


The Appalachians - Documentary tells story of people’s relationship to land, history, world

From the Huntington (WV) Herald-Dispatch
Mari-Lynn Evans was watching the third hour of "The Appalachians" a few nights ago when it happened again.

Johnny Cash appeared on the screen, and she broke down.

"There are pieces that still after all the gazillion hours of editing and all the times I have seen it, it still brings me to tears," Evans said. "Maybe it’s just me."

If the Bulltown, W.Va., native seems a little emotionally attached to "The Appalachians," you would be right. It is her life’s project -- the story of her people and their grapevine-tangled relationship with the mountains, with history and the world outside.

Those who can’t make it to the preview can tune into WVPBS. The statewide PBS network will air "The Appalachians" beginning at 7 p.m. Sunday, May 8 with the first hour, which deals with the religion and music brought here by mostly Scot-Irish and German immigrants.

The second hour, which airs 7 p.m. Sunday, May 15, covers Native Americans, the forced removal of the Cherokees, the Civil War, the railroads, Hatfield and McCoy feud, birth of the hillbilly stereotype and the coal wars.

The documentary concludes at 7 p.m. Sunday, May 22, covering the Depression, the New Deal, migration to northern cities, strip mining and mountaintop removal and how the gospel and bluegrass of Appalachia helped feed the country music industry.

That segment features such nationally known local stars such as Loretta Lynn, Ricky Skaggs, Jimmy Dickens, Gandydancer, Marty Start, Roseanne Cash and the late Johnny Cash.

All three parts of the film will be shown from 8 to 11 p.m. Wednesday, May 18.

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Huntington Herald-Dispatch


Lovely Loretta

From the Modesto Bee
With those initials, the title "living legend" just comes naturally.

But Loretta Lynn's career in country music goes beyond legend. While many artists saddled with the label have stopped producing new, vibrant work, Lynn is receiving some of the best press of her career.

She returns to play Modesto's State Theatre on May 10. In May 2003, she played a sold-out show at the venue.

At 70, the "Coal Miner's Daughter" from Butcher Holler is in the middle of a full-blown musical renaissance. If the No. 2 Billboard country album, two Grammys and a Country Music Television Johnny Cash Visionary Award in the last year weren't enough to prove it, then how about her new, cool credentials?

When introducing Lynn at CMT Awards, Reba McEntire said, "At an age when most women seem to slow down, it seems Loretta is just getting started. Loretta has proven that she still has much to say, and no one else can say it like her."

Lynn keeps that trophy, and all the others she has amassed over her 45-year career, at her Tennessee ranch museum.

She won her first — and up to this year only — Grammy in 1971 for "After the Fire Is Gone," a duet with Conway Twitty. But the award in her collection isn't the one she picked up that night. After the show, she was in the airport with Twitty. "First thing I done was drop my award and break it all to pieces," she said. "Conway was laughing, then he dropped his and it went all to pieces. I said, 'That was a cheap award.'"

Country icon Loretta Lynn returns to Modesto at 8 p.m. May 10 for a show at the State Theatre, 1307 J St. Her twin daughters, The Lynns, will open the show. Tickets are $80 reserved balcony, $100 gold circle. Call 527-4697.

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Modesto Bee


Oklahoma’s music festivals run the scale

From the North Texas e-News
Oklahoma’s music heritage can only be described as eclectic. From The Light Crust Doughboys and Woody Guthrie, to the Gap Band and The Flaming Lips, Oklahoma has produced an amazing array of musical styles and stars. Oklahoma’s early Jazz scene produced stars, like Charlie Christian and the Oklahoma City Blue Devils.

We can even claim our own Red Dirt genre, with bands like Red Dirt Rangers, The Great Divide, and Cross Canadian Ragweed, among others. The current crop of Country stars, like Reba, Garth, Vince, and Toby, are descended from the likes of Wanda Jackson and Roger Miller. Bob Dunn, from Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, is considered the father of the electric guitar, even though you may have thought it was Les Paul. Dunn’s recordings with electric steel guitar were the first of their kind way back in the 1930s. Some Oklahoma musicians are bona fide legends, like Byron Berline, J.J. Cale, and Jesse Ed Davis.

olk music, which covers a lot of territory these days, gets its due at several events around the state. The biggest might be the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival, held in his hometown of Okemah, July 13-17.

Bluegrass may be another form of folk music but this music genre has its own spotlight in Oklahoma and may be the state’s most popular form of musical entertainment. Bluegrass with world flavor fills the air at the Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival in Guthrie, Sept. 29-Oct. 1.

If Western Swing is your thing, Pawhuska hosts the Bob Wills Festival, Sept. 10. Western Hills Guest Ranch, Wagoner, has the Oklahoma State Fiddlers Jam, Aug. 18-20, and the Western Swing Weekend, Nov. 3-5.

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North Texas e-News


A Cowboy's Debut

From the New York Times
Cowboy Jack Clement, the influential producer and songwriter of country music, will make his New York solo concert debut tomorrow at Joe's Pub. Hired at Sun Records by Sam Phillips in 1956, Mr. Clement wrote Johnny Cash's hit "Ballad of a Teenage Queen" and worked on pioneering records by Jerry Lee Lewis, Charlie Rich and Roy Orbison. He later produced classic albums by Charley Pride and Waylon Jennings, and even several tracks on U2's 1988 album "Rattle and Hum" (Island). The concert coincides with screenings of a new documentary, "Shakespeare Was a Big George Jones Fan: Cowboy Jack's Home Movies," at the TriBeCa Film Festival; its last showing is tonight at 7:15 at the Regal Battery Park Stadium 16.

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New York Times


Rapper wants to be country's first black star since Charley Pride

From the Earthlink
Cowboy Troy can't walk into a concert venue without turning heads. He knows there's no way a 6-foot-5-inch black country rapper can escape the curious stares. Especially when he's wearing a Superman T-shirt. The spotlight, he admits, can be intimidating.

"There are times where if you let it wear you down, you can feel the pressure," says the 34-year-old Dallas-raised artist. "There are times when I find myself walking through venues and I can kind of feel the looks from people. `Oh, so he's the one.' I walk through places and I can hear the whispers. When the lights come on and the music starts and you're out there on stage and you hear the people cheering, clapping, it's pretty cool."

It's also historic. Cowboy Troy Coleman is country music's first rapper, a purveyor of what he calls "hick-hop," a mixture of authentic country instrumentation, hip-hop rhythms and flowing, rhyming words.

And if he's successful, he will become the first black country artist to break out since Charley Pride almost 40 years ago.

Cowboy Troy first attracted the attention of country fans in 2004 during Big & Rich's tour. He rapped on "Rollin' (The Ballad of Big & Rich)," a cut from the pair's 2-million-selling debut album, "Horse of a Different Color."

When he performed that rap at last year's Country Music Association Awards in Nashville, he was the first black artist since Pride to take the stage at the awards show.

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'Floyd and Clea,' saviors with a song

From the Chicago Sun-Times
As Lee Smith pointed out in her novel The Devil's Dream, country singers tend to live more dramatic lives than the rest of us. Scrambling their way up from humble beginnings, they're prone to despair, self-doubt and dissolution, often ending up at rock bottom even before they come within hollering distance of the heights -- which can only mean that a comeback's in the offing.

And so it goes in "Floyd and Clea Under the Western Sky," the sketchy but soulful musical (with a foot-tapping alt-country score by David Cale and Jonathan Kreisberg) now receiving a fine premiere directed by Michael Wilson at the Goodman Theatre. Cale's script follows Floyd, a gifted but down-and-out singer-songwriter in his 40s who makes an unlikely connection with Clea, a young woman on her way to fame and fortune in Nashville.

He's also, incidentally, a lovely singer with a sweet baritone and a nifty, winking way with a lyric. The striking thing about the songs, aside from their gorgeously atmospheric use of Dobro and pedal steel, is that they're neither pastiche nor homage; they're real country music, which is something of a miracle in an era when the major Nashville label heads wouldn't know such a thing if it bit them in the seat of their Armani suits.

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Chicago Sun-Times


Fiddler's Jamboree a big success

From the Camden (TN) Chronicle
The 49th Annual Fiddlers’ Jamboree at Holladay School could not have had a more perfect day. The sun was bright with a cool breeze and the crowd was bigger than ever.

Other than the delicious food, the highlights of the Jamboree are the parade and the music competitions. Holladay Fiddler Festival participants were treated to a display of three Apache Helicopters as they performed an impromptu fly-over over the school grounds during the festival.

Complete article lists winners in various categories...

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Camden Chronicle

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