Tag Archives: musician

Jerry Garcia Family Launches Online Visual Art Collection

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Jerry Garcia Family Launches Online Visual Art Collection

March 02, 2017

Jerry Garcia’s family has announced the launch of a new online collection of visual art from the legendary Grateful Dead guitarist, offering up creations from throughout Garcia’s life alongside commentary from his daughter Trixie Garcia.

The Jerry Garcia Collection features both known work and some previously unseen art from the guitarist, who was an prolific visual artist along with his music career.

“I think it was just a way he was able to communicate with the world,” Trixie says in the introduction video, which can be seen below. “I always considered him kind of multilingual. He was fluent in all these different languages, and when words failed in one point, he had other options to express himself.”

Visit the gallery here and view some of the pieces below.

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Read more: https://www.relix.com/news/detail/jerry_garcia_family_launches_online_visual_art_collection#ixzz4af3ds8PG

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Jefferson Airplane’s Paul Kantner dies at 74

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Jefferson Airplane. White Rabbit. Live Woodstock 1969. Original video

https://youtu.be/c2yQLXTuctA

Jefferson Airplane – Somebody To Love (Live at Woodstock Music & Art Fair, 1969)

https://youtu.be/2EdLasOrG6c

 

The musician had been in ill health in recent years, with Kantner suffering a heart attack in March 2015, according to the paper.

 With Jefferson Airplane, Kantner helped pioneer the oft-imitated psychedelic sound: simple, fuzzy guitar lines steeped in dreamlike reverb. The group formed in 1965 and, within a few years, scored hits with “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit.” In their first run, five of the band’s seven albums went gold, including 1967’s Surrealistic Pillow and 1968’s Crown of Creation.

Verging on a breakup in the early Seventies, Kantner recorded a solo album, Blows Against the Empire, with Jefferson Airplane singer Grace Slick, crediting it to Paul Kantner and Jefferson Starship. The album was nominated for a Hugo Award presented to the best science-fiction and fantasy works. After formalizing the band Jefferson Starship, the band went on to greater commercial success than Jefferson Airplane, scoring platinum and gold records, including the double-platinum 1975 record Red Octopus. Kantner quit the group in 1984, but would rejoin in 1992 and continue to play with them until his death.

“Our condolences go out to the friends, family and fans of Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane on the news of his passing,” members of the Doors wrote on their Facebook page. “Music would not be the same without the sounds of The Doors and Jefferson Airplane, which both contributed so heavily to the signature sound of the Sixties and Seventies.”

Paul Lorin Kantner was born on March 17th, 1941 in San Francisco. His father was a traveling salesman, according to the Chronicle, and he was sent to military school after his mother’s death. He found inspiration in science-fiction books and folk music, dropping out of college to pursue music.

Jefferson Airplane came together after Kantner began playing in a folk group with former actor turned singer and guitarist Marty Balin and vocalist Signe Toly Anderson. The group subsequently brought in guitarist Jorma Kaukonen and bassist Jack Casady. Balin plucked Skip Spence, a guitarist, for drums because he “looked like a drummer,” and with the first lineup complete they commenced playing rock reminiscent of early Beatles, folk, blues and ballads. The year they formed, they became the first San Francisco band to sign to a major label.

The group’s 1966 debut, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, was a modest hit, charting in the lower half of the Top 200, but their fortune would change when lineup changes would welcome model-turned-singer Grace Slick, who’d been playing with the Great Society, into the fold.

With her powerful voice, the band recorded their breakthrough hits and became one of the defining bands of acid rock’s free-love movement, printing bumper stickers that read “Jefferson Airplane Loves You.” Their 1967 album, Surrealistic Pillow – which marked a turn toward more understated guitar playing with overtones of jazz and even Indian sensibility – brought the “San Francisco sound” to the mainstream. Later that year, they’d score a lesser hit with “The Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil,” a harder-rocking song that Kantner wrote that would become the lead track on their After Bathing at Baxter’s album.

Kantner’s writing would become more politicized toward the end of the Sixties, and as Jefferson Airplane became falling apart – with Kaukonen and Casady forming Hot Tuna – and Balin leaving, the guitarist stepped into a larger role. He and Slick collaborated with several other San Francisco musicians.

After putting out Blows Against the Empire, which featured members of Crosby, Stills and Nash and the Grateful Dead, Kantner and Slick formed Jefferson Starship. Balin returned to the fold in time for Red Octopus, a Number One album, and the group’s mainstream rock ambitions came into focus. The album’s lush “Miracles” earned them a Number Three hit, and their next two albums – 1976’s Spitfire and 1978’s Earth – would also earn them Top 10 singles. By 1980, though, Kantner was the only original Jefferson Airplane member left in the lineup. He suffered a cerebral hemorrhage that year but recovered and continued with the band.

In 1984, he left the group and formed a legal agreement with the other members that they could not use the “Jefferson” name without the approval of all respective members. Slick kept her band’s momentum with Starship, which earned a big hit with “We Built This City,” without Kantner.

Kantner and Jefferson Airplane would reform in 1989, when they put out a self-titled album, and again in 1996, when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Kantner put together Jefferson Starship – The Next Generation in 1992, which led to a trademark infringement suit with his former bandmates. He would continue to play with them, eventually dropping the Star Trek-y part of their name and putting out two albums, until his death.

Outside of his main bands, Kantner recorded two albums with Slick and a 1983 solo record, Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra. He also recorded with the KBC Band, which featured fellow Airplane members Balin and Casady.

In 1970, Rolling Stone asked Kantner why it was important for him to play live. “[We’re] trying to make consciousness,” he said. “Pointing things out. Just make people enjoy themselves. We didn’t even know what we were doing when we started doing it. Looking back, all we were saying was, ‘Look, we’re having a good time.’ And nothing else. Just sitting around having a good time with all this shit going on around us. Pretty soon people start filtering in, saying, ‘Hey, they’re having a good time.'”

Kantner is survived by three children: Gareth, Alexander and China.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/jefferson-airplane-guitarist-paul-kantner-dead-at-74-20160128#ixzz3yqGgsrwT
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ABOUT DAVID CROSBY AND INTERVIEW

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crosby2CROSBY 
#David Crosby: The Dramatic Story of the Artists and Causes that Changed America (2000) 
https://youtu.be/Ib-_JSK51ys
David Crosby – If Only I Could Remember My Name (Album, February 22, 1971)
https://youtu.be/Q18Tht5bBtg
Stories and Songs from David Crosby
https://youtu.be/W1uUs-JT_kI
#ANA_CHRISTY #BEATNIKHIWAY.COM
David Crosby Interview: MOJO Magazine 

Interview by Sylvie Simmons – Portrait by Piper Ferguson – Courtesy of MOJO

The voice of cosmic America has lived the hippy dream and drunk from the well of seIf-destruction. His first solo album for 20 years sees him looking back while moving forward. “I want the magic!”

He’s still recognizable as the man on the front porch on the cover of the 1969 Crosby, Stills & Nash album. His long hair is silver and wispy now but still qualifies as a mane and frames a moon face with laugh lines, sideburns, bushy brows and a thick, white, groomed mustache. (“If you keep it clean, he recently told an American men’s magazine, “girls love it.”) There’s something of the sultan about David Crosby, even when wearing a checked flannel shirt — in tribute, perhaps, to Seattle, where CSN have come to be feted with a Founders Award gala at the EMP Museum of Music, Sci Fi and Pop Culture. He’s an imposing man though there’s four stone less of him than the last time we talked.

“I go to the gym three days a week and work out, and I feel terrific but, you know, it’s a very odd situation to be in. I’m 72 and I have three fatal diseases. Hep C, which there’s no cure for and which is currently dormant — I had the transplant (a liver in 1994) and it saved my life. Heart disease — I’ve had two heart attacks and I have five stents in my heart. And diabetes, which is a real killer, and a disease of paying attention, which is very difficult for someone as scatterbrained as me. But,” he says, his eyes twinkling, “I’m managing to stay alive. The truth is I’ll probably have several more years of being able to make music and having a strong enough voice to sing it.”

As if proof were required, Crosby recently completed a European tour with Crosby, Stills & Nash, and is now also set to release his first solo album in 20 years. Simply titled CROZ, it will see him take to the road once again and draw on what has been a lifetime of remarkable music and sanguine experiences. Saving his period in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young for a later date, it is Crosby’s personal story that we focus on during what is an engaging and typically candid conversion. . .

You were born in Los Angeles in 1941. With a cinematographer as a father, were you more into movies than music as a kid?

Film was fascinating to me. I went with my dad to the set a number of times and I wanted to be part of it. I wanted to be an actor. But there was a lot of music in the house.

What are your earliest musical memories?

Classical first, then folk. There was a Philharmonic radio show that was on every Sunday morning of my life, and they had records, albums – l’m talking big, thick books of 78s. Then when LP records, which were 1O-inch then, came out, I encountered folk music: The Weavers, Josh White, Odetta. My brother [Ethan], four years older, was a musician and, when I was around 16, he gave me my first guitar – his old guitar, when he got a better one. And that’s what started me off playing and singing. Folk songs first. I would learn two chords and go back and forth between them. What took it to the next level was my brother started listening to 1950s jazz – Chet Baker, Dave Brubeck, people like that. That caught my ear pretty strongly; listening to jazz really widens your world. I didn’t really like any of the pop music on the radio until The Everly Brothers, and they were fantastically good.

Was there an epiphany that made you choose music over acting?

Yes, and it had to do with the other haIf of the species. Movies took a very long time to come out, and in order to get the attention of a girl by being in a movie, you had to have actually been in a movie which the girl in question had actually seen. So it was a very long and iffy process to winding up with what you had in mind. Whereas if you went down to the coffee house and sang really well, it could happen tonight, and that was very appealing to me! (Laughs) But as soon as I started being able to sing a song to somebody and have it affect them, that was it. I knew exactly what I was supposed to be doing. There was never any maybe or any “Should I have a real job?”, it was directly to music. I always felt bad that my brother, his whole life, never did find his path, not as a musician and not in life. I always felt a little guilty for having it fall so completely dead-center on me. (Ethan Crosby committed suicide in 1997.)

Did you perform with your brother?

Yes, for a long time – he played bass, I played guitar and we both sang. But you know how it is with brothers. I wound up off on my own very quickly – from Los Angeles to Phoenix to Colorado to Florida to New York, the Village – anywhere there were coffee houses, which meant I could get a job and eat, and eating is good. Then I went back to Los Angeles where I encountered Roger McGuinn and Gene Clark.

What were your first songs like?

The first one was called Across The Plains – l’ve always been fascinated with wagon trains and the movement of people west. It wasn’t a very good song. I think the first song I wrote that was any good was Everybody’s Been Burned, which I did when l was with The Byrds (and was released on 1967’s Younger Than Yesterday).

What’s the most important thing you took with you from Greenwich Village?

The Village was rich territory. There were two really good mentors, Bob Gibson and Fred Neil. Freddy taught me a very great deal – among other things that there was music all around me and I had to widen my perception of it. You could be in an old elevator car and the cables would be going “bomchicka-chicka-chika- ching-ching” and he’d whisper, “See man, music.” Yes, we were herbally enhanced. One time in Florida we were sitting outside smoking one and listening to a bamboo thicket singing in the wind. He made me conscious of that, and he taught me things about how to play the guitar and how to sing. He was a great singer. A hero.

Did you meet Bob Dylan then?

I didn’t get to meet him until much later, but he changed my head the way he changed everybody’s head, because he elevated the dialogue. lt wasn’t, “Ooh baby”, it was, “It’s all right ma, l’m only bleeding”. It was the important stuff, and that stuck with me. When we had a chance to do Mr.Tambourine Man later (with The Byrds), I was all for it.

Was Dylan all for it?

When Dylan came to the studio in LA to hear what we were doing with his song, he heard that there was something going on. When he listened to it you could hear the gears whirring in there. He was strongly impressed. I mean, Roger McGuinn is enormously talented; he took Mr. Tambourine Man and turned it into a great record. I did a good harmony but he’s the one that made that record what it was. And it was the first time that I know about that anybody put good poetry on the radio. Shortly thereafter, possibly within days, Bob had an electric band and was offending people at the Newport Folk Festival. He knew exactly what he’d heard and I think he was pleased by it and I think his reaction was, “Give me an electric guitar.”

The Byrds were also big Beatles fans.

I remember Roger and Gene (Clark) and I going to see A Hard Day’s Night – that was our first time seeing them – and, man, we came out of that movie completely gobsmacked. We didn’t know what to think. We knew one thing: that we wanted to be them. They blew us right out of the water. They changed everything.

You’ve told MOJO about several escapades with The Beatles in the past. Are there any untold stories that you’ve hidden from us?

(Rubs his chin and hesitates) Hmm… I used to go to the press conferences to watch how they did it. There’s actually footage of me doing it. John [Lennon] particularly got really put off by stardom and the press, but they made an attitude up to deal with the idiots. I did that with Dylan too, to watch how he dealt with the dumb questions… And I also remember a night at George Harrison’s house where everyone had dinner and Ali Akbar Khan played. He blew our minds. George told somebody, l’m not sure who, that l’d turned him onto Ravi Shankar. I know lwas carrying one of [Ravi’s] albums around and turning people onto him whatever chance I got. “You ain’t heard nothing, try this.” The only person I heard that could move a melody around as well as Ravi Shankar was John Coltrane.

On the road with The Byrds in the summer of ’65, you’d be rolling big ones and playing Coltrane and Shankar cassettes.

Yes, and another album: the first album of the Bulgarian National Folk Choir under the direction of Philip Koutev. These little Bulgarian women could sing better than anybody I d ever heard. lt affected me in terms of harmony because they did things that were so daring I couldn’t believe it, working with dissonance in a way that was musically advanced. lt was like listening to Bach and then encountering Stravinsky. All of a sudden the chords got a bit more dense.

In October 1962 the tension within The Byrds came to a head. Was it a blow when Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman fired you?

My strongest feeling was, “You guys are going to regret this.” I wasn’t happy about it but I didn’t feel like my life was over, not at all. I was already singing with Stephen Stills and I was already writing my own songs. And I went off and got a sailboat and started sailing, and that was a joy. I was a young, egotistical, talented but feisty guy. I can understand why they did that! They were advised to do so by a manager I had brought to the party, and they were tired of me. I was not easy to deal with. I wanted a bigger piece of the pie. I wanted to be one of the people writing the songs, I wanted to sing lead on something, because I was a pretty good singer.

I miss (that band) now. It’s not until much later that you realize the value of some things in your life. I would do a Byrds tour or a Byrds record in a minute, and l’ve tried to convince Roger over and over to do it but he’s not interested, and music isn’t something you can legislate into being. When they were walking out the door they said to me, “We’ll do better without you” – which is an unfortunate line, I think more for them than me. I think that may still be stuck in his craw a little bit.

On Henry Diltz’s 1969 cover photo of Crosby, Stills & Nash you looked like the archetypal hippy, living the dream.

I was. Being a hippy was the most natural thing in the world for me. I liked having long hair. I liked smoking pot, and hippies treasured music, so that put me in a good place. And it was fun. It was not the ’50s, Pat Boone and [radio/TV drama] Father Knows Best, it was a new place to go. But it had a precursor, the beatniks. I had already read Kerouac and Ginsberg and encountered thought- streams that were breaking new ground and looking at things a different way.

CSN and CSNY remained engaged with counterculture politics, much more so than many of your peers.

Yes. That sort of happened along the way. It’s not that we started out being political, they politicized us; it smacked us in the face. We didn’t like it that they shot Kennedy and we really didn’t like it when they went into Vietnam, and that the black people in the South could not vote in their own country. Dr Martin Luther King – man, if you encountered his words you were not the same human being. He would change your life. And we certainly didn’t trust the government. The old line was never trust anybody over 30. We thought we’d never be over 30.

By the end of the ’60s you’d found all sorts of ways to threaten your life. How did having an arsenal of guns and being coked out of your brain gel with being a hippy?

It’s a fair question. And it’s two separate things, not really connected, until later. When I was , growing up, we had a house in Carpinteria where we were growing lemons and avocados and my dad would go down to Hollywood to work, and out in the country, when you’re 12, it’s just part of the deal: you get a .22 – a very small calibre rifle – and you learn to shoot. So I’d encountered guns before and I didn’t really have any interest in them until later when these horrific murders took place at our producer Terry Melcher’s house. (The Manson murders of August 9, 1969, which occurred at Melcher’s former home on Cielo Drive.)

I thought about that and went out and got a 12-gauge, which is a shotgun, the biggest home defense weapon. So I don’t feel the same as most of my compatriots. I do shoot, I maintain a level of competency at it and I try to be responsible about it. I don’t think the problem’s in the gun, I think it’s in the people.

But guns and cocaine?

Terrible mix. Again, I never shot anybody though, even when I was really, really on cocaine. Cocaine, separate issue. When we encountered cocaine, the people who brought it around – we had to go to a criminal to get our weed – said, with a straight face, “Here, try this. It’s not addictive.” We didn’t know it would destroy you. We knew heroin was big daddy evil. All we knew is it gave you energy for days and made you feel like you were on top of the world. lt was a very seductive drug, easy to get and very easy to get strung out on very fast. That was a very destructive thing in my life. When I encountered it, which was towards the end of The Byrds and the beginning of the CSN era, I misused it massively and it really got its hooks into me. Seriously; 20 years. It’s probably the most evil drug on the planet and worse if you’re freebasing, which I got into later on.

Coke is notorious for its adverse effect on music, and yet in the wake of CSNY’s debut Deja Vu you released an exquisite album, your solo debut, If I Could Only Remember My Name in 1971.

I wasn’t doing much coke; that’s when I started doing heroin. I was in a very strange state, I had songs, good songs, and we had just finished Deja Vu, and my girIfriend [Christine Hinton] had been killed. I didn’t have an instruction booklet on how to deal with that one, and heroin, of course, is an anaesthetic. lt doesn’t really do anything but make you suppress the pain and you don’t really deal with it, which of course is not a good idea. If you stuff it, and I stuffed it, you stay there for longer.

But… there’s a lot of joy on that record, because that’s where I needed desperately to go. Graham Nash came a lot, Jerry Garcia came even more, almost every night – he was a good friend and he liked it that I was as open to the accident of music as he was. Phil [Lesh] came very often, Jorma [Kaukonen], Grace lSlick] Paul lKantner], Joni lMitchell]. They were all friends. lt saved me. Because I could dive into making that music and spend a whole night stacking harmonies on myseIf, being the Mormon Tabernacle me, and it would elevate me out of the hole that I was in.

Fast-forwarding: in the mid’80s, in Texas, you were sentenced to five years on handgun and freebase cocaine charges. Nash read a plea to the judge saying confinement in prison will possibly kill him. I actually wrote a thank you letter to the judge saying, “You saved my life. You may not know it but you did.” I tried to quit and slipped a number of times, and it took me going to prison to make it stick.

How in hell does someone whose life personified freedom, travelling and doing whatever you wanted, cope with being locked up?

You see that (flat screen) TV? Make it about four times that big. I lived in that space for a year – nine months in prison and about three months in jail.

l’d have lost my mind.

Well I didn’t, I found it. I woke up. It’s a tough place to wake up.

Were you able to make any music while you were in there?

Yes. And it was funny, because we used to tell ourselves that getting high was where we’d get all these ideas for making great music but l, at the very end, had stopped writing completely. The last decent song I wrote was Delta, and then there was probably two years of nothing as the drug use went up.

When I was in prison I would write letters to my wife Uanl, and every once in a while I would write a line in the letter where l’d think, “That was a good line.” I started writing a song and I realized then that “No, I didn’t lose it, it’s coming back”, which was a huge boost for me. We had a band in the prison – there were guitars that had been donated – and once a week we got to go out to a little cinder-block building and play music. I was the only professional but the other guys were pretty good. The lead guitar player, Billy Jones, had shot a cop so he was never going to get out, ever, and he was a pretty good player. The drummer, a black kid, he was quite good. lt was fun and it was something to do – and something to do in there was a big deal. And when I got out I was no longer addicted and I was able, with the aid of 12-step stuff, to make it all the way out.

Do you ever have the drug-taker’s equivalent of wet dreams?

Yes. They’re called slip dreams. If you’re trying to quit from hard drugs everybody has the exact same dream where you did it, you have the pipe in your hand and you’re using again. You don’t feel the high; you wake up absolutely panic-stricken – “Oh my God, oh my God!” – because you know how close to death you came and you’re trying so hard not to slip. lt took years, literally. l’m not worried about hard drugs at all now. They haven’t been snapping at my heels for 25 years now but if you lay down a line of coke on that computer right now there’d be a David-shaped hole in the wall. l’d run that fast.

To move onto the third part of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll, you had quite a reputation with the ladies. ln your song Triad you urged two of your girIfriends to share you.

I did. And I did that a number of times. It’s not actually something that you can do in real life and sustain. Somebody always feels that they’re the low man on the totem pole. lt can be the guy feeling that the girls are ganging up on him or one of the girls. But it was a good song. We’ve changed it totally now – we play it in a completely different way that’s a lot of fun.

You have a new solo album, CROZ. 

Yes. I wrote it with my son.

James Raymond, with whom you had CPR?

CPR was fun and we made some good music, but it didn’t make any money so we couldn’t continue. I don’t have any money to make an album. You know, I Googled myseIf the other day and it said I was the richest guy in show business and worth $250 million. Such complete utter bullshit… l can’t even afford to buy a new car; l’ve a 2004 Ford truck.

Finally, of all the bands you’ve played in – The Byrds, CSN, CSNY, Crosby & Nash, CPR and solo – if you could work with only one of them from now on, which would it be?

I’m tempted to say solo. And singing with Graham is just a joy. It’s like two old fighter pilots who know where the other guy’s wing is and you can literally fly six feet apart, no problem, and do it all, upside down, no problem. But if I had to pick one band it would be CSNY. Because that’s the one that would push me the most to really go for the peaks. And that’s because of Neil. The thing I love about Neil is that he is never, ever satisfied. He wants the magic and I love that. I want the magic.

Ann and Nancy Wilson (Heart) #Stairway To Heaven Live HD

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Ann & Nancy Wilson (Heart) Stairway To Heaven Live HD

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He Wrote One Of The Most Well Known Songs Of All Time. This Rendition Brought Even Him To Tears. – Even the most unlikely fans were moved to tears during this incredible performance. Honoring Led Zeppelin, and one of the most brilliantly composed songs ever written, Heart covers the classic “Stairway To Heaven”. Ann and Nancy honored the band and the song by pairing it with a brilliant orchestra and choir. This song was originally released in 1971 composed by guitarist Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. Many have called it the greatest rock song of all time. It has been voted number three on the list of 100 Greatest Rock Songs. It is estimated to have over 2.8 million radio station plays which played back to back would run for 44 years straight. Seeing Robert Plant himself being brought to tears over this rendition makes it all the more incredibly moving. What a tremendous performance!

https://youtu.be/xufuZ0dCmLA

COOL PEOPLE -twisted measure a-accapella

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About

Founded in 1999, Twisted Measure is Elon University’s first co-ed a cappella group.

“Chandelier” (Sia) – Twisted Measure A Cappella

https://youtu.be/RAGX9XfOXZc

 Since its foundation, Twisted Measure has recorded 6 studio albums, and has enjoyed performing at various events around Elon as well as up and down the East Coast during the group’s annual Fall Break tour.

 As a tradition, the group has always performed barefoot. Why? Going shoeless seems to bring a little more “sole” to the music.

In the past year we have sung for Elon’s President, Leo M. Lambert, performed the National Anthem at several Elon Basketball games, recorded and released a new album, and celebrated our 15th Anniversary with a huge 2-day concert event!

 Most importantly, Twisted Measure is a group of friends who love to sing together.

https://youtu.be/pSjr6ixi4ik

“Work Song” (Hozier) – Twisted Measure A Cappella

https://youtu.be/h1xf4CZnVHs

COOL PEOPLE – At Just 25, Jerron ‘Blind Boy’ Paxton Channels the Spirit of a Bygone Era

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At Just 25, Jerron ‘Blind Boy’ Paxton Channels the Spirit of a Bygone Era

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HAVE A LISTEN∇

Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton at Ozark Folk Center

 http://youtu.be/WdC4tr3nWZI

Categories: Blues, Feature, Longform

When Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton sits in for a set at the Jalopy Theatre in Red Hook, Brooklyn, it is a raucous affair. It’s not uncommon for his audiences to whoop, holler, and stomp in unison — hard enough to shake the floor. Paxton shifts from piano to guitar to fiddle to a five-string banjo that looks like he time-traveled to the 1920s, stole it from a juke joint, and dropped it on the ground a few times on the way back. His repertoire of old-timey music is vast — altogether, he says, he can play two or three thousand songs.

On this particular autumn night, his set includes Irish jigs, a pop song from the 1930s called “The Very Thought of You” (recorded by Al Bowlly, Bing Crosby, Doris Day, and Elvis Costello, among many others), and bluegrass favorite “Old Johnny Booker” from the early 1900s.He also throws in an obscure spoken-word number from the mid 1960s (and from deep in the well of the black oral tradition), a story of doomed lust entitled “ ’Flicted Arm Pete” that he recites while accompanying himself on the piano.

It was way down in this little town that they call Louisville,

There once lived a fast-fucking whore by the name of Lil.

Now Lil had nipples on her titties just about as thick as your thumb,

Lil had jaws on her pussy that would make a dead man come.

But one day out of the mountains came a long-dicked creep,

That was a sonofabitch that we all call ‘Flicted Arm Pete.

Paxton can get away with even the dirtiest verse. “He’s — pardon the expression — a magic negro,” says Los Angeles–based musician and performer Brad Kay, a longtime friend and mentor. “I think he could walk into a meeting of the Ku Klux Klan and have them all singing along.” Paxton’s grandfatherly bluesman bearing, which one woman in the audience describes as “adorable,” doesn’t hurt. Kay compares his friend’s build to a refrigerator. He has an unfocused gaze, the result of a congenital condition that has rendered him legally blind.

Tonight he’s dressed in a blue button-up shirt, navy slacks, a gray sweater-vest, and a black yarmulke. Part African American, part Native American, and of Cajun descent, Paxton is an Orthodox Jew.

He’s also 25 years old.

Throughout his set, he carries on a patter both between and during songs. He’d apologized at the outset for being under the weather. There would be little singing, he said, owing to a bout of bronchitis. “I feel like a sweaty, sexy beast,” he says later, moving heavily under the hot stage lights.

Last year was a big one for Paxton. He traveled to New Orleans, France, and Israel, and — closer to home but veritably out of this world, symbolically — played his first set at the Newport Folk Festival, the granddaddy of them all.

The coming year promises to be just as eventful, if not more so. More traveling, more festivals, an album in the works. And, most important to him, more music. “There is so much work to be done,” he says.

Blind Boy Paxton is six-foot-two, but he only stands to get bigger.


blind-boy-paxton-village-voice.jpg
Photo by Bill Steber
Note: Jerron Paxton is a right-handed player. To preserve the integrity of the wet-plate tintype on the cover, the image appears reversed.

Jerron Paxton was born and reared in South Central Los Angeles, a neighborhood that in 2003 the city renamed “South L.A.” in an effort to distance it from its infamous drug- and violence-ridden past. Whatever you call it, South Central L.A. was and is home to large, often poverty-stricken black and Latino communities. It was, famously, the site of the Watts riots of 1965, and of the uprising that followed the police-inflicted beating of Rodney King in the early 1990s. Not coincidentally, the area also played a part in spawning the West Coast hip-hop scene, along with musical acts ranging from Charles Mingus and Eric Dolphy to Barry White, Keb’ Mo’, and Montell Jordan.Further back, the area was a mecca for blacks in search of better lives. In the early decades of the 20th century, South Central was home to a bustling jazz scene. Legendary New Orleans trombonist Kid Ory moved there after the First World War; iconic pianist Jelly Roll Morton, another New Orleans legend, came through regularly. Also among the influx of black Americans were sharecroppers from the Deep South. Many were Louisianans like Paxton’s forebears. When they moved, they brought with them the country they knew.

“Cowboy hats and cowboy boots and gumbo suppers and barbecues and Hank Williams and George Jones and Hank Snow,” Paxton says in his light drawl. The walls of his small apartment in Ridgewood, Queens, are covered with wood paintings by his roommate, Jacqueline J. Rodriguez, and various tapestries he’s bought. Wearing overalls, as he often does, Paxton sits with a guitar in his lap, strumming at times as he speaks.

Paxton enjoys telling stories about his childhood.

“I was raised up singing while you work,” he says of how music came into his life. The jazz and blues of radio station KLON (now KKJZ) contributed heavily to the soundtrack, as did Seventies pop and soul hits and PBS television programs about classical music. His grandmother’s “ghetto blaster” played a crucial role as well.

“Saturday morning, after everybody in the house got up, she’d turn it as loud as it would go,” Paxton says. “And the whole house — you know little [shotgun]-style houses, music just runs through ’em — all the music would shoot out the back door, and we’d be in the backyard just having a good time.”

When it came to the violence nearby, Paxton says, “You just had a bunch of country people with shotguns and rifles that said, ‘Not here, baby.’ ”

He means his relatives.

South Central by birth, Paxton nonetheless grew up surrounded by Louisiana: four generations of his family on a single block. He lived with his mother, one set of grandparents, an uncle and aunt. His great-grandmother, born in 1906, lived across the street. The family was poor, he says, but never in want. There were barbecues and big home-cooked dinners — chicken and yams and cornbread and greens — a garden out back, fishing at El Dorado Park in Long Beach and up north on Lake Piru.

“I was just gardening, hunting, fishing — learning how to be a good young man,” he says.

blind-boy-paxton-pull-quote-shotgun-houses.jpg

LaSundra Reed met Larry Paxton during jury duty in the mid 1980s. The elder Paxton was a session drummer, Reed an accountant. Jerron was born in 1989 (“the Year of Our Lord 57 and 49,” he says, referencing the Hebrew calendar). His parents never married and eventually split up, but Reed says they remain good friends. Larry Paxton lived in southwestern L.A. County, in Inglewood, and Jerron recalls being taken for spins in his father’s lowrider, “bouncing up and down with funk music playing.”And so he got his father’s last name and his mother’s upbringing.

Among all the older generations that surrounded him, he shared the tightest bond with his mother’s mother, Toretear (pronounced TORE-ee-uh-tur) Reed. She and Jerron’s grandfather, Clifton Willie Reed, moved from Louisiana to L.A. in 1956, then beckoned the others to join them. (Clifton Reed died in 2003 at the age of 73, Toretear two years later at 76.) “She was happy-go-lucky, she would help everyone and anyone she could,” LaSundra Reed says.

Paxton found Toretear Reed entertaining. “I was playing on my grandma’s blaster and she was playing video poker,” he recounts. “I’m in the kitchen, and I come back where she was and I see her legs jumping and not keeping time frantically. I was, like, ‘Oh shit, Granny’s having one!’ I’m like, ‘Granny, you all right?’ And she said, ‘Yeah baby, I’m just dancing.’ ” The two would spend hours together, talking, listening and dancing to old records — blues, ragtime, jazz. Paxton remembers her singing. Always singing — often not knowing an entire song but remembering just a few lines: “Take off your coat and throw it in the corner/Don’t see why you don’t stay a little longer,” he sings, laughing. He discovered Ray Charles’s “I Got a Woman” that way, his grandmother singing a snippet of the r&b legend’s first hit — in a manner a bit more bluesy than the original, he’d later learn.

Each family member veered toward a different kind of music, combining to fill Paxton’s days with sounds from generations past. Ultimately the music that struck him most was country blues: men singing narratives, accompanying themselves on guitar. It was music meant for small audiences, before the advent of amplified Chicago blues and larger rooms.

Lightnin’ Hopkins. Jimmy Reed. Bukka White. “I realized when I heard it,” Paxton says. “That’s the sound my people make.”


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Courtesy Jerron Paxton
Paxton’s grandparents, Toretear and Clifton Willie Reed, date unknown.

“When he was a young kid, maybe three or four, I would be in the kitchen cooking and he would grab a pot from under the cabinet and start beating on it and I would put it back and he’d cry,” LaSundra Reed recalls.Paxton picked up his first traditional instrument at age twelve, purely out of functional curiosity — “mechanics,” in his words. It was the violin, and he wanted to understand how it worked. “I didn’t know how you pull a bow across the strings and have that make music,” he says. The piano he understood, having looked inside one. Guitar too. But the violin was a mystery. So he asked for one. His aunt obliged, and for the next several years he took lessons at school on Saturdays. The violin didn’t come easy, but the banjo, which he took up two years later (amid the bluegrass resurgence that accompanied the Coen Brothers’ film O Brother, Where Art Thou?), proved a more natural fit. Two more years hence, the guitar was the clincher. “I had the guitar about fifteen or sixteen hours and had about seven or eight tunes. It felt like something I’d been doing my whole life,” Paxton says.

“Maybe it took a month for him to get it down pat, but he would practice every day,” LaSundra Reed says, describing how her son learned to play. He was a shy boy, but “he always had at least two instruments with him everywhere he’d go,” his mother says, whether to family gatherings where he’d take requests (if he forgot to bring something to play, they’d send him home to get it) or to pickup basketball games, where he’d pick his banjo courtside while his friends played.

At sixteen he played his first official concert, a $100 solo gig at the William Grant Still Arts Center in South Central’s West Adams neighborhood. He played songs by Blind Lemon Jefferson and Lightnin’ Hopkins, accompanying himself on banjo and guitar.

“The most fun I’d ever had in the world,” he says, “was seeing this 90-year-old woman, just shaking her shit with her grandchildren.”

Around that time, Paxton’s eyesight began to fail him. At seventeen it got so bad he went to the doctor and discovered he was, in fact, legally blind. He’d be diagnosed with congenital retinal deterioration and cone dystrophy, a hereditary condition that eventually causes blindness. Today he describes having lost his peripheral vision completely and at times seeing things that aren’t there.


Wandering around Santa Monica one Sunday in 2007, eighteen-year-old Jerron Paxton stopped in to a small, colorful venue called the UnUrban Coffee House. He’d recently begun teaching himself piano and knew there was one at the café on which anyone was welcome to practice.

Jazz and ragtime pianist Kay, who’d been performing around L.A. since the mid Sixties, was performing when Paxton walked in. That first encounter, Kay says, was unforgettable.

“There was hardly anybody in the joint. I looked up and I saw standing in the doorway a very large, very black person in overalls. He was looking straight at me, and he had this look: like Stanley had found Livingstone or something. I kept playing, and he kept staring. He had a guitar by his side and a little washboard tie. When I finished I got down from the stage and I went over to him. He was apparently blind — he had shades and a white cane. I said, ‘So, you look like a musician.’ He said, ‘I am.’ I said, ‘Yeah? Well, what kind of music do you play?’ ‘Oh, I like them ragtimes.’ ”

That’s when it hit Kay: The kid was a dead ringer for legendary finger picking guitarist, Blind Blake who’d moved from Florida to Chicago in the mid 1920s, recorded a trove of singular ragtime-influenced blues sides, then disappeared. (Blake is said to have died from tuberculosis in 1934 in Milwaukee.) Intrigued, Kay invited the young man to sit in.

“I never ask anybody to sit in that I don’t know, but I made an exception. I said, ‘Well, what do you know?’ He says, ‘Oh, how about the “Southern Rag”?’ Now, I knew this was a piece by Blind Blake, so I said, ‘OK, have at it.’ So I played and he played — and goddamn if it wasn’t the ‘Southern Rag’ played by Blind Blake! It didn’t sound something like Blind Blake, a guy imitating Blind Blake. It fucking was Blind Blake!”

Paxton began spending time with Kay. For hours they’d listen to Kay’s huge record collection, talk about music, and play. Paxton had never taken piano lessons, and as he figured out the songs he liked, Kay would give him pointers. One song that struck Paxton in particular was Sugar Underwood’s “Davis Street Blues,” an intricate piano piece recorded in 1927.

“I think that was the one time I got him to slow down and look at something,” Kay, now 63, recalls by phone from L.A. “He wanted to play just like Sugar Underwood.”


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Photo by Jena Cumbo for the Village Voice.
Paxton’s mother says he was a shy boy but always had at least two instruments with him everywhere he went.

College was a given for Paxton — he would be the first in his family to attend. Grandma Reed had been set on it, having herself attended only through grade school.”She would say from the time she could lift a skillet, she had to work,” Paxton says. “From seven years old, she was a part of the workforce.”

He can’t remember where else he applied, but Marist College, on the banks of the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie, offered a scholarship. It was his first time so far away from home. He tried classes in philosophy and history but found himself escaping to the music room at every opportunity. “I was cutting classes to spend the majority of my time practicing piano,” he says.

Sometimes that too was a struggle.

“He called me up sometimes at four in the morning, all suicidal and saying, ‘I’m never gonna get this piece,’ ” Kay says. “He just could never get over his impatience, the inconvenience of actually having to practice the thing.”

Paxton describes the experience of learning new tunes in a more visceral way: “I really believe you never really learn anything. You just learn how to keep out of your way. Your body knows what to do, but for some reason you kinda freak out — I guess your body gets nervous.”

Whenever he could, he found a way to get to the city, where he began to explore the folk scene. He discovered the Jalopy one weekend when C.W. Stoneking, an Australian blues guitarist with whom Paxton had struck up an online friendship a few years earlier, was slated to play a set at the Brooklyn folk club. Stoneking generously offered to split his set with Paxton.

With a hand-built stage, church-pew seating, and a husband-and-wife ownership team, Geoff and Lynette Wiley, dedicated to the music, the Jalopy was a magnet for the folk crowd in Brooklyn and beyond. Paxton instantly found himself pulled into its force field. He met the Wileys; folksinger Feral Foster, at whose Wednesday night “Roots and Ruckus” hootenannies Paxton performs regularly; Eli Smith, the host of the online Down Home Radio Show who’d go on to co-found the Brooklyn Folk Festival in 2009; and banjo player Hubby Jenkins, now a member of the Grammy-winning old-time string band Carolina Chocolate Drops.

“For me it was almost like when Clapton and the Who and everybody went to go see Jimi Hendrix in London for the first time and they were, like, crying,” Jenkins says of seeing Paxton play that first time. “It was just so good.”


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Courtesy Jerron Paxton
Paxton at age fourteen, in his backyard in Los Angeles with a carp he caught at Echo Park. His uncle Johnnie Johnson came by to show him how to skin it.

Not long after that first trip to the Jalopy, Paxton made a decision: He wanted to be a professional musician. In 2010 he transferred to the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in Greenwich Village, crashing on friends’ couches while he looked for a place of his own. One sometime roommate, fellow Jalopy-goer Horatio Baltz, is a graphic designer and photographer by trade but had recently started a jazz band, the Bill Murray Experience. Paxton began filling in, playing piano or banjo.

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He was already fiddling around with various aliases. There was Jerron Paxton, of course, but in his teens he’d created MySpace pages — one for J-Dog (“just for being a teenager”), and another, blues-centric one called “Blind Boy” Paxton. The latter relic, along with a Blind Boy Gmail account, had been drawing other musicians and circulating around the folk universe, leading to requests to play solo.Composer, pianist, and ragtime expert Terry Waldo remembers inviting Paxton up to sing when the latter came to hear Waldo play at Fat Cat, a pool hall that features live jazz and blues in the West Village.

“I never thought I’d hear anybody sing like this,” Waldo says. “There’s something primordial about the way he sings. He has a real depth to what he’s doing and a sensitivity to the music.” Waldo would invite Paxton to join him at gigs around the city and, in one instance, the two shared a stage at a show in Trenton, New Jersey, dedicated to “whorehouse music.” One of Waldo’s friends bought Paxton a piano that now sits in his living room.

Next came more far-flung gigs — at the Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival in Washington State, and at the Black Banjo Gathering at Appalachian State University in North Carolina. He honed his solo act, realizing that playing alone was more lucrative than performing in a group. He found a manager, Steve Fugett of the Road Warrior Agency.

After two semesters, he dropped out of the New School. The focus on contemporary work and not the early jazz he was drawn to made for a bad fit, he says.

Onstage or off-, Paxton possesses the same soft-spoken, friendly manner. He is equally excited to meet people he doesn’t know and to see those he has known his whole life. He insists on bear hugs (“hug my neck” or “hug me, bitch”) and seems to regard every new face as a potential new friend.

During a set he shifts from instrument to instrument, picking up the guitar, moving to the piano, sitting down with his banjo. He berates his guitar (“Oh, fuck you”) when it refuses to stay in tune, takes requests, tells dirty jokes, dances while he plays. “We’re all in this together,” he seems to be saying.

He now can count among his fans Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna founding member Jorma Kaukonen. The two met this past fall at Kaukonen’s Fur Peace Ranch in Ohio. “He brings a joie de vivre to his performances that is sure to infect any listener. Not just lovers of ‘old timey’ stuff,” Kaukonen — a Blind Blake devotee himself — writes in an email. “Jerron is a master of styles that were old (but never out of date) when I was born in 1940. He brings a traditional style to life without coming off as an ‘archivist.’ He does it his way without relinquishing the immediacy of a bygone era.”

John Cohen of the old-time string band New Lost City Ramblers, a crucial player in the folk revival of the Sixties and hugely influential to subsequent musicians, tells of watching his fifteen-year-old granddaughter hear Paxton play in Baltimore. “She was totally taken in by him, and I think that’s so important — that he can reach a teenage girl,” Cohen says. “She just heard him as a fascinating, wonderful musician who’s absorbed in what he’s doing.”

Miles Spicer, who sits on the board of the Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation outside Washington, D.C., had a similar experience when his son, then eleven years old, caught a recent Paxton solo performance there. “He’s funny,” young Nick Spicer said. “He could make Jimmy Fallon laugh.”


This year Paxton will serve as artistic director of the Port Townsend festival, where he’ll play and teach in late July and August. On February 21 the BBC will air a program about music from the South, which includes a Paxton performance shot in June 2014 at Dockery’s Plantation in Mississippi. And he’ll soon release his first album, which he recorded in Venice, California, with the help of fiddle player Frank Fairfield. Paxton says he and Fairfield recorded more than forty songs, from which they chose the best ten, including the Appalachian classic “Poor Benny” and the old standard “Motherless Child Blues.” (Also, a song about a chicken. “Gotta have a song about a chicken,” Paxton says.) He plans to sell the album, Recorded Music for Your Entertainment, to audiences at his shows, and hopes to land it on iTunes.He no longer uses his cane, having decided to lose it soon after moving to New York.

“After about a night or two of using it, I was like: Somebody sees a dude with a cane walking around at three o’clock in the morning, that might be asking for trouble. So I put it in my bag, and that was about it.”

At home, Paxton keeps his days simple. He calls his mother several times a week. Evenings he’ll take in a show, stop by the Jalopy, or put on Netflix, where he gravitates to the westerns he used to watch with his grandfather. Habitually up until past sunrise, he arises at noon to daven Shacharit, or say the morning Jewish prayer. He cooks breakfast (he’s partial to kosher Creole gumbo and dirty rice, or Creole matzo-ball soup), and hurries out — “still knocking the cobwebs” — to Mincha, the afternoon prayer service, at his local temple, Beit Aharon.

“Instead of having this great story where we had Judaism through slavery and kept it for so long, it’s just that one of my grandmothers [Toretear Reed] was a Sephardic woman,” Paxton says, explaining his heritage. Most of his family is Baptist, and he was brought up going to church. As he learned about Judaism from Reed in his mid teens, he began feeling closer to the religion. He’s the only practicing Jew in the family.

Orthodox Jews in particular place a high value on marriage and family. But Paxton says he has other priorities right now and couldn’t envision being a good father, husband, and traveling musician.

“I wanna do right by my kids and be there as much as possible,” he says. “And as a person who has a visual impairment and limited ways of earning an income, the best way to earn my income is being a traveling musician.

“I’m also not finished with my fast living.”

COOL PEOPLE – Townes Van Zandt

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Townes Van Zandt – Colorado Bound

http://youtu.be/q0znckPjGt8

 

Townes Van Zandt – interview – Marie – Tv broadcast

http://youtu.be/WQHDnO-VQHc

 

Townes Van Zandt – If I Needed You

http://youtu.be/zaP8NGML_QE

 

Townes Van Zandt Biography

Singer, Songwriter (1944–1997)

Townes Van Zandt was a critically acclaimed folk-country singer/songwriter known for songs like “If I Needed You,” “Loretta” and “To Live’s to Fly.
Townes Van Zandt, born on March 7, 1944, in Fort Worth, Texas, became a touring singer/songwriter whose storytelling on albums like For the Sake of the Song and Our Mother the Mountain won acclaim. An underground figure who struggled with drug abuse, Van Zandt saw his tunes “Pancho and Lefty” and “If I Needed You” become hits. Recording for almost three decades, he died on January 1, 1997, in Smyrna, Texas.

Background

Acclaimed country/folk singer and songwriter John Townes Van Zandt was born on March 7, 1944, in Fort Worth, Texas. He moved around quite a bit during his childhood due to his family’s oil business, and during adolescent faced major emotional and mental health challenges, being diagnosed with manic depression and institutionalized.

Later citing Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan as major influences on his work, Van Zandt decided to pursue singing and songwriting, taking up the guitar at 15 and continuing to ply his craft while a student at the University of Colorado. He later relocated to Houston and worked as a live performer, influenced by the likes of blues great Lightnin’ Hopkins and forming lasting connections with country singer/songwriter Guy Clark.

Acclaimed Albums

After recording in Nashville, Van Zandt released his debut album For the Sake of the Song in 1968 and over the next few years offered up a steady stream of releases: Our Mother the Mountain (1969), Townes Van Zandt (1969), Delta Momma Blues (1971), High Low and In Between and The Late Great Townes Van Zandt (both 1972).

He released a couple of more albums during the late ’70s, including Flyin’ Shoes (1978), and didn’t offer any new recordings for almost ten years. Then throughout the late ’80s to ’90s, he put forth several new works, with 1995’sNo Deeper Blue, made in Ireland, being the last album he recorded.

Influential Song-Maker, Hard Life

Van Zandt’s music is characterized by moody folk textures, vividly engaging storytelling and his emotionally resonant voice, leading to rounds and rounds of critical acclaim from those in the know and his status as a major influencer of traditional/alt country. He became a mentor of sorts to Steve Earle, and during the ’80s his tune “Pancho and Lefty” became a chart topper for Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson, while Emmylou Harris and Don Williams had a hit with their version of “If I Needed You.”Yet Van Zandt never enjoyed major popularity himself, with the musician stating that’s not what he was after. He remained a wandering, perennially touring figure and abused drugs and alcohol for decades, which affected the quality of his live performances.

Tribute and Documentary

After receiving an operation for a broken hip, Van Zandt suffered a heart attack and died on January 1, 1997, in Smyrna, Tennessee. Posthumous anthologies and previously unreleased recordings were put forth along with In the Beginning… (2003), a collection of 1966 demos.

Van Zandt’s songs have continued to be covered by a range of artists, and Earle released a tribute album, Townes, in 2009. Filmmaker Margaret Brown also helmed the 2005 documentary Be Here to Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt.

Townes Van Zandt
Memorial Page



Photo handed out at the
memorial service, Jan. 5, 1997
Photo by Steven’s Stills

So friends, when my time comes
as surely it will
you just carry my body
out to some lonesome hill
and lay me down easy
where the cool rivers run
with only my mountains
‘tween me and the sun
My home is Colorado
from My Proud Mountains – TVZ


The sad news:


Initial notice heard Jan 2, 1997Details about Townes last moments – Update from Jeanene Van Zandt; Jan. 4, 1997 6 PM PT part 1, and part 2

And a more complete version of what happened from Jeanene via about-townes mail-list; Aug. 2, 1997

A report on the memorial service by Topher – posted to the TVZ mail list


Books and Films about Townes Van Zandt:


Collected reviews, “Be Here To Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt” 9/14-15/04 – added 16/Sep/04Book review of “For the Sake of the Song” A new biography captures the self-destructive genius of Townes Van Zandt – by Lacey Galbraith – added 02/Mar/07

Collected reviews, “For the Sake of the Song – TVZ Biography by John Kruth” 3/5/07 – started 5/Mar/07

Collected reviews, “A Deeper Blue – TVZ Biography by Robert Hardy” Apr 2008 – started 30/Jun/08


Tribute show information and reports:


Report on the KUT radio tribute to Townes 2/Jan/97 by Larry Monroe – added 10/Aug/97Listing of a radio tribute show on WNEW 1/5/97

Report on the tribute to Townes at the Cactus Cafe in Austin by Larry Monroe – added 10/Aug/97

Review of the tribute concert held 3/Feb/97 in Seattle thanks to Peter Blackstock (posted to TVZ mail list)

Review of the tribute concert held ??/Mar/97 in LA thanks to John Hulett (posted to TVZ mail list) – added 10/Aug/97

A tribute concert to be held 23/Feb/97 at the Bottom Line in New York thanks to Vin, WNEW-FM | also note of a tribute in Los Angeles 1/March/97 (updated 23/Feb/97) Now with reviews from Vin Scelsa and from Ross Whitwam – added 25/Feb/97 and from Neil Straus in the NY Times – added 27/Feb/97 and at ASCAP’s web page – added 10/Aug/97

Review of the tribute Austin City Limits concert held 7/Dec/97 in Austin thanks to Rob and Kathy (posted to TVZ mail list) – added 4/Jan/98

10 Year Anniversary of Townes passing Radio Tribute Show – KDVS thanks to Bones – added 17/Jan/07

A page for the annual TVZ wake, held early Jan at the Old Quarter Acoustic Cafe in Galveston Texas. Included there is a song written in memory of Townes by Diane Craig of Galveston, Texas called ‘The Ghost of Townes Van Zandt’. Recommended by M. Chambers. – Added 10/Mar/2001


Dreams, Poems, Stories, and Songs:


A dream that Townes visited faxed to me by Jeanene – added 18/Jan/97Last Haunts on TVZ A poem by Scotty Melton – added 23/Feb/97

Chasing Townes A poem by Robert Gibson – added 10/Aug/97

Leaving Townes A short story by Richard Dobson – added 10/Aug/97

A series of songs and poems by Scotty Melton – added 10/Aug/97

Fort Worth Blues lyrics written in tribute to Townes by Steve Earle – added 10/Aug/97

Guitar Road song written in tribute to Townes by Chris Deschner/David Munyon – added 26/May/98, thanks to Kim Nygaard

Townes (key of C) song written in 1990 by Dallas Denny – added 31/Dec/98

ADIOS song written by Horst Schrader – added 17/Sept/2000

New Year’s Day A poem written by David Byboth local copy – added 10/Mar/2001

Jesse Sykes Interview An excerpt posted to About-Townes 03/Sept/04 on how Townes influenced this musician – added 4/Sept/2004

We Needed Him A short poem by Chris Edwards – added 30/June/2008

Wild Morning Glory A song written for Townes by Matt Watroba, who once interviewed Townes a couple of times on his radio show, and now plays Townes music regularly on WDET Detroit and in his own performances – added 06/Feb/2009

I just listened to Live at The Old Quarter and it brought back memories Remembrances of townes especially on stage during rough times by David Brown – added 27/Mar/2009

The Muses Envy A poem written shortly after Townes death by beyondfencesmusic – added 11/Aug/2010

Stage Light On The Lonely Town A song written as a tribute by M. Andros – added 06/Sept/2010


Press Releases and Published Articles about Townes:


Jan 2, 1997 Associated Press story by Jim Patterson appearing in StarWeb [Local copy] (no longer avail from orig. source)Jan 2, 1997 4:58 PM PT NPR interview with Nanci Griffith – part 1 (8 bit mono AU sound file, 973 KB)Jan 2, 1997 4:58 PM PT NPR interview with Nanci Griffith – part 2 (8 bit mono AU sound file, 750 KB)Jan 2, 1997 1:45 PM PT Story by Marcus Errico appearing in E! ONLINE [Local copy] (if not avail from orig. source)Jan 2, 1997 Story in Jam! Showbiz [Local copy] (no longer avail from orig. source)Jan 3, 1997 Story by Steve Morse in the Boston Globe [Local copy] (if not avail from orig. source)Jan 3, 1997 Story by NEIL STRAUS appearing in the New York Times [Local copy] (no longer avail from orig. source)Jan 3, 1997 Associated Press story plus different photo in MS-NBC [Local copy] (no longer avail from orig. source)Jan 3, 1997 A new story by Peter Blackstock in MS-NBC [Local copy] (no longer avail from orig. source)Jan 4, 1997 Washington Post Story – mentions two upcoming releases by Townes from Sugar Hill [Local copy] (no longer avail from orig. source)Jan 4, 1997 A newspaper article in the Austin American-Statesman by Michael Corcoran – as posted to the TVZ mail listJan 5, 1997 A story by Robert Trussell appearing in the Kansas City Star Jan. 5, 1997 – added 19/Jan/97Jan 8, 1997 A story by John W. English appearing in Flagpole Magazine Online(Athens, GA) [local copy] (if no longer available from original source)- added 21/Jan/97Jan 13, 1997 A story by Brad Tyer called “End of the Road” – thanks to Dan for submitting this to me – added 21/Jan/97Jan 10-16, 1997 The Dean of Texas Songwriters [local copy] (if no longer available from original source) – A story by Lee Nichols in the Austin Chronicle – thanks to Dave J. – added 4/Feb/97Jan 10-16, 1997 Dead Rabbits [local copy] (if no longer available from original source) A story by Ed Ward in the Austin Chronicle – thanks to Dave J. – added 4/Feb/97Jan 9, 1997 from Kellmans Real Music Reviews [local copy] (if no longer available from original source) – added 10/Aug/97Jan 30, 1997 We Needed Him by Naomi Shihab Nye in the Texas Observer – thanks to Roy K. – added 4/Feb/97Feb 7, 1997 Death’s Dark Shadow [local copy] (if no longer available from original source) by David Marsh in the American Grandstand/Addicted To Noise – added 9/Feb/97Mar 1, 1997 Keeping quiet for the sake of a song by Adam Sweeting in the British Gaurdian – thanks to Michael K. – added 10/Aug/97Jan 28, 1997 Segment #4 on Acoustic Cafe Show #107 Go to their site and select “Listen to the Cafe”. Includes Tecumseh Valley – N. Griffith, Buckskin Stallion Blues – Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Pancho and Lefty – Emmylou Harris, Dont You Take It So Bad – Guy Clark, Dublin Blues – TVZ [local copy] (if no longer available from original source) – added 19/Apr/97Jul 25, 1997 A long essay about Townes by Roy Kasten submitted to about-townes – added 10/Aug/97Jan 1999 A gentleman and a shaman – article in No Depression by Matt Hanks – added 09/Sep/10Oct 1, 1999 William Hedgepeth’s article “Townes Van Zandt – messages from the outside” that appeared in Atlanta’s Hittin’ the Note magazine back in May 1977 is now available hereDec 29, 1999 An article appearing in the Gaurdian UK, Aug 1998 “Legend Of The Fall” with a note by Dave Williams, who kindly transcribed and submitted this article


More articles about Townes and His Legacy of Recordings:


Dec 10, 2001 Interview with Townes’ son JT Van Zandt from LoneStarMusic.com Texas music newsletter [Local copy] (if no longer avail from orig. source)Jul 2003 “Travels with Townes Van Zandt” from Perfect Sound Forever online Music Magazine story by Steve Hawley [Local copy] (if no longer avail from orig. source)Nov 14, 2003 “Dead, Not Buried” – the fight over Townes recordings and publishing rights Dallas Observer story by Robert Wilonsky [Local copy] (if no longer avail from orig. source)Aug 3, 2005 “10. Live at The Old Quarter, Townes Van Zandt in “Heartworn Highways: The 25 Greatest Country Albums of All Time”www.beingthere.com article by Zayne Reeves [Local copy] (if no longer avail from orig. source)Jan 7, 2010 “Legends: Townes Van Zandt in American Songwriter. On Townes and his songwriting www.americansongwriter.com/2010/01/legends-townes-van-zandt – article by Holly Gleason



I ain’t much of a lover it’s true
I’m here then I’m gone
and I’m forever blue
but I’m sure wanting you

Skies full of silver and gold
try to hide the sun
but it can’t be done
least not for long

 

– from No Place To Fall
by Townes Van Zandt

COOL PEOPLE – Leonard Cohen on Longevity, Money, Poetry and Sandwiches

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Leonard Cohen on Longevity, Money, Poetry and Sandwiches

“I was always like a bear in a honey tree, just trying to get something without getting stung to death”

Leonard Cohen performs in Australia.
Graham Denholm/WireImage
Leonard Cohen performs live in 2013. The Canadian icon talks about his songwriting secrets in a new Q&A.

BY | September 19, 2014

Leonard Cohen is our leading poet of love, wisdom, and sorrow – and according to the lyrics of Nirvana’s “Pennyroyal Tea,” the guiding spirit in Kurt Cobain’s afterworld. We sat down with the singer-songwriter on the occasion of his 13th studio album, Popular Problems, in a formal dining room at the Canadian consulate in Los Angeles (he primarily lives in L.A. and mostly recorded the album in his home studio, but he hails from Montreal). He discussed producer Patrick Leonard (“It was an unusually fraternal collaboration”), his fedora (“I’ve got about 20 of these”) and the aging process (“My high jump is definitely degraded”). Cohen turns 80 on Sunday, and Popular Problems will be released two days after that.

RELATEDLeonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen Offers Rare Peek Into His Writing Process

When you finish something like this record, are you proud of it?
It’s the done-ness of it that I really like. It nourishes me. Some guys don’t know how to open a door.

What are the pros and cons of working at home?
I don’t know if there are any cons. It’s very nice to go into your backyard and climb up into your studio. We had some good mics there, and both Pat and I had our keyboards, so we were able to flesh out these songs.

Patrick said that part of the process of working together was stripping out any excesses or fripperies.
Yes, both in the music and in the lyric. We were both, I think, quite compassionately savage about our vision. Pat, because he has such an abundance of musical ideas, he’ll sometimes overproduce. But he’s quite aware of that. So sometimes we’ll just say we don’t need a chorus here, we don’t need horns here, you know, we need to break it down here. And same with the lyric: If something’s obscure or just on the wrong side of accessible, then Pat will mention that and I’ll happily redirect.

How do you know when a song’s working?
You can pretty well tell. We play it for select people, like my daughter – there’s a few people who aren’t afraid to tell you that it isn’t working. We had another song on the album, which was called “Happens to the Heart,” which will be on the next album. It’s a very good lyric, a very good tune, but we didn’t nail it. So we didn’t put each other on about it – not for more than a week or two. “You know, this song really doesn’t make it.” “Thank God you said that, Pat, because I can’t stand it.”

Has your approach to making music has changed over the decades?
I never had an approach. I was always like a bear in a honey tree, just trying to get something without getting stung to death.

Is financial necessity is good or bad for art?
I think it levels the ground. I never had huge amounts of money when I was young. I had huge amounts of fame, and I always had the sense of labor and recompense. I always said I don’t want to work for pay, but I want to get paid for my song. Financial necessity of course arose in a very acute manner a few years ago. [His then-manager stole over $5 million from his retirement account.] I thought I had a little bread, enough to get by. I found I didn’t – for which I’m very grateful because it spurred a lot of activity.

I was curious about a lyric on “Nevermind,” “There’s truth that lives and there’s truth that dies.”
“There’s truth that lives and truth that dies. I don’t know which, so never mind. There is no need that this survive, there’s truth that lives and truth that dies.” It’s one of those phrases that resonates in some corner of the heart. And I don’t think it serves us well to explain it or to analyze it or to interpret it. It sounded right to me. There are certain truths that are in a dormant stage that you can’t always locate or be nourished by. But they’re there.

When you’re writing a song, are you aware that you’re tapping into something that you may not have a conscious handle on?
Well, I think that sometimes when you’re in ninth gear, or when you’re really skiing down the slope – you’re right on top of the snow, you don’t want to go any deeper. As someone said, you learn to stop bravely at the surface. If you hear something that really resonates, you just fold your hands in gratitude and try to incorporate it into the song. Sometimes those obscurities are just bullshit and they have to be excised; they have to be ruthlessly removed even if they sound good. Because they produce a disconnect in the song that every listener feels unconsciously. If you feel somebody’s trying to put you on, you really feel it.

Do you write much poetry that isn’t suitable for lyrics?
Oh, yeah. And sometimes I think, “What the hell am I doing? It doesn’t mean anything, it’s deeply irrelevant. Not just to everybody else but to myself.” But what else are you going to do? Everything else has gone away. Most of the things that I’ve liked to do, for one reason or another, it’s often inappropriate to do them.

At age 80, are there things you can’t do that you used to be able to?
There’s a lot of things that you can do that you couldn’t do when you were younger. You depend on a certain resilience that is not yours to command, but which is present. And if you can sense this resilience or sense this capacity to continue, it means a lot more at this age than it did when I was 30, when I took it for granted.

What are you good at that has nothing to do with music?
I can make a couple of good sandwiches: tuna salad and chopped egg salad. And Greek bean soup. I was a cook for my old Zen master for many years. So there were two or three dishes that he liked, you know. Teriyaki salmon, a few things. I wouldn’t call myself a good cook by any means. My son is a very good cook. My curries are not bad.

Do you write songs faster or slower than you used to?
There’s always a group of songs that I’m working at. Some of them are 10 years old, and some of them are just a few weeks old. I’m always trying to adjust these songs to some position where I can bring them to completion. There’s a few songs that I would like to finish before I die. One in particular, it’s a lovely melody that I can’t find any words for. I’ve been trying for a good 15 years. I’ve tried many, many versions. And God willing, maybe something will happen.

After you’re gone, what would you want people to remember about you?
I never give that much thought. Some people care about their work lasting forever – I have little interest in it. You probably know that great story about Bob Hope. His wife came to him and said, “There’s two plots available at Forest Lawn. One looks at some beautiful cypress trees, one looks over the valley. Which do you think you’d prefer?” He said, “Surprise me.” That’s the way I feel about posterity and how I’m remembered. Surprise me.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/leonard-cohen-on-longevity-money-poetry-and-sandwiches-20140919#ixzz3DsKV0y8m
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COOL PEOPLE – JOHNNY CASH A TRUE OUTLAW

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Johnny Cash was one of country music’s first “outlaws,” but the music industry was still surprised in 1957 when he played a concert at Huntsville State Prison in Texas. Over the next decade, Cash performed over 30 prison shows and recorded albums during at least three of them. (The shows at California’s Folsom Prison and San Quentin became the most famous). Here are ten little-known facts about the Man in Black’s prison concerts.

1. Columbia Records repeatedly rejected Cash’s requests to record a prison concert.
Cash started playing at prisons in response to fan mail from inmates who identified with his songs (especially “Folsom Prison Blues”). Soon he discovered that “prisoners are the greatest audience that an entertainer can perform for. We bring them a ray of sunshine into their dungeon, and they’re not ashamed to respond and show their appreciation.” He suspected that their excitement and gratitude combined with the thrill of performing in a dangerous venue would create the perfect setting for an album. His record company disagreed -they thought the concerts would kill Cash’s career and hurt the label’s image. But when Columbia brought on producer Bob Johnston -known for being a bit wild himself and for bucking authority (as well as producing for Bob Dylan)- that stance changed. Johnston readily approved the country star’s idea.

Columbia remained tight-lipped about the performance and the release of Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison in 1968, still believing the album would never sell. But it did… an incredible 500,000 copies in one year. Sales were boosted by Cash’s tough guy image (he wore solid black clothing, used profane language, had a gravelly voice, and fought an on-again-off-again addiction to drugs). To help the cause along, Columbia released exaggerated ads claiming Cash was no stranger to prison. Which brings us to…

2. Cash never served time at Folsom, or any other prison.
He did seven short stints in jail, though, for drug- and alcohol-related charges. his song “Folsom Prison Blues” was instead inspired by the 1951 movie Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison. According to biographer Michael Streissguth, another influence was Gordon Jenkins’s song “Crescent City Blues,” from which Cash “borrowed” so heavily that when his version was recorded on the Folsomalbum, the original artists demanded -and received- royalties.

3. Cash inspired future country music star Merle Haggard.
Haggard was serving three years at San Quentin Prison for armed robbery and escaping from jail when Johnny Cash took the stage there in 1958. When Haggard later told Cash that he’d been at that concert, Cash said he didn’t remember Haggard performing that day; Haggard replied, “I was in the audience, Johnny.” In fact, he was sitting in the front row and was mesmerized by Cash. He and his fellow inmates identified with Cash’s lyrics about loss and imprisonment.

Haggard reminisced, “This was somebody singing a song about your personal life. Even the people who weren’t fans of Johnny cash -it was a mixture of people, all races were fans by the end of the show.” Haggard also soon realized that he shared Cash’s talent for making music and for speaking to the struggles of the working class. He joined the prison’s country band shortly after Cash’s concert and penned songs about being locked up. After his release in 1960, Haggard sang at clubs until he eventually became a country superstar himself.

4. The Live “Folsom Prison Blues” was too grisly for radio play.

Cash’s declaration “I shot a man in Reno/Just to watch him die,” followed by an inmate’s shriek of joy, was edited by radio stations. But the hollering wasn’t real. It had been dubbed in by Columbia Records since the prisoners had been too enthralled by Cash’s performance to whoop it up during songs.

5. Cash’s band smuggled a gun into Folsom.
Johnny Cash and his bassist, Marshall Grant, often performed a comedy skit with an antique cap-and-ball gun that make smoke. It was a prop -but it was a real gun. Grant accidentally brought the weapon inside his bass guitar case to the 1968 show. A prison guard spotted it and politely took it away to the warden for safekeeping until the concert ended.

6. Folsom Prison inmate Glen Sherley wrote the song “Greystone Chapel” and credited Cash with changing his life.
Glen Sherley was in Folsom Prison for armed robbery, but he also loved music. Before Cash arrived for the 1968 show, Sherley recorded the song “Greystone Chapel” at the prison chapel. Appropriately, it was about a man whose body was imprisoned but his soul is freed by religion. Cash’s pastor, who also counseled inmates, smuggled the tape out to Cash, who learned to play the song the night before the show. After seeing Cash perform his song, Sherley vowed to make a mark with the musician. Once he was released from Folsom, he went to work for Johnny Cash’s publishing company, House of Cash. Sherley later remarked, “I was a three-time loser when John reached out his hand to me in 1968, and since then I sincerely believe that I have become a worthwhile person and can contribute to society.”

7. Cash’s concert at Folsom landed him his own musical variety show: The Johnny Cash Show.

FOLSOM PRISON BLUES


Cash noted, “I’ve always thought it ironic that it was a prison concert, with me and the convicts getting along just as fellow rebels, outsiders, and miscreants should, that pumped up my marketability to the point where ABC thought I was respectable enough to have a weekly network TV show.”

8. When Johnny Cash recorded At San Quentin in 1969, he didn’t know the lyrics to one of his most famous songs.
I was the first time cash had performed “A Boy Named Sue,” written by poet Shel Silverstein, so he had to read the lyrics from a sheet he’d stained with coffee. And before playing “Starkville City Jail,” cash explained that he was thrown in the slammer for picking daisies and dandelions at two in the morning. (By other accounts, he was breaking curfew, drunk in public, and trespassing.)

9. Cash brushed up on his Swedish for a show overseas.
In 1972 Cash went to Stockholm, Sweden, where he recorded the album Pa Osteraker at a Swedish prison. Between songs, he impressed and thrilled the inmates by introducing some of his songs in their language.

10. At the 1969 show, Cash’s song “San Quentin” nearly incited a riot there.
He’d just written the song the night before, and its inflammatory lyrics like, “San Quentin, may you rot and burn in hell,” clearly struck a chord with the audience. The prisoners clamored and stomped until he repeated the song. Shrieking and jumping up on tabletops, they were so close to rioting that the guards drew and cocked their guns and the camera crew backed untoward the exit doors. According to producer Bob Johnston, Cash later said of the hair-raising moment, “I knew that if I wanted to let those people go, all I had to do was say, ‘the time is now’ And all of those prisoners would have broken…I was tempted.” (But of course, he didn’t.)