I’m excited to announce the first round of concerts I’m organizing for a 2017 series showcasing the wealth of talented roots and traditional musicians in Southern California. Concerts will be held on the second Saturday of every odd month in 2017 and will feature an opening set from me followed by a featured guest. The venue, Kalabash School of Music and The Arts, is an exceptionally intimate one – small enough to require no amplification – which will certainly make these shows unforgettable! Check out this incredible lineup of guests:
January 14: Lady Rogo. It can be tough standing out amongst San Diego’s crop of fine country blues guitarists, but Lady Rogo has been making waves and getting everyone’s attention since arriving from Boston in early 2016. Come hear her renditions of ragtime and country blues classics and her original material that draws from them. Website.
March 11: Rebecca Stout. Based in Culver City, Rebecca Stout performs and promotes the dance and song of her native Alabama and Appalachian South. Her work as a teacher of flatfoot dancing, or buckdancing, has earned her a spot in the National Bluegrass Hall of Fame and Museum in Owensboro, Kentucky. The jug band has been fortunate to perform with her on multiple occasions (including the show in Birmingham I wrote about in our tour report!). Website.
May 13: Echo Mountain String Band. Exceptional banjo, fiddle, and guitar playing makes this trio a real treat for fans of classic stringband and fiddle music of Virginia and North Carolina. Tim McNalley and I jammed with them at the Goleta Old Time Festival and were blown away! Soundcloud.
July 8th: High Life Cajun Band. Old-school Louisiana Cajun music is rarely heard in Southern California, and is rarely played this well anywhere you go! High Life pulls together players from a number of LA’s finest old time bands to play this especially fun and beautiful dance music featuring accordion and sometimes twin fiddle accompanied by guitar and triangle. One listen to their excellent recordings will convince you that you need to hear this band! Bandcamp.
It was an honor to have Louisiana creole accordionist Joe Fontenot perform in my American music class at UCSD last night. Joe was born in the town of Mamou, Louisiana and grew up in a French-speaking home before moving to Los Angeles for work. I met him in 2015 at San Diego’s Cajun/Creole music festival Gator By The Bay. My own jug band had inexplicably been invited to perform and after we finished, as I was packing up I noticed an elder gentlemen with a heavy accent, old-school button accordion, and a particularly handsome Stetson hat setting up for the next act. I knew immediately that I needed to stay for his set and was not disappointed.
Last night, almost a year after Gator, Joe came down to UCSD’s La Jolla campus joined by guitarist Carolyn Russel share his music and stories of growing up in rural Louisiana, his occasional travels to the bayou regions, his Savoy accordions, and even treated us to a spontaneous and unexpected performance on the harmonica. A wonderful time!
I’ll be performing at Folk Arts Rare Records a set of tunes associated with the legendary Kentuckian, Roscoe Holcomb on occasion of the release of a never-before heard live recording from the 1972 San Diego Folk Festival. Holcomb was invited to the West Coast by Folk Arts’ original owner, Lou Curtiss, who also engineered the recording and stored it for over four decades. Now, Tompkins Square will be releasing the performance on vinyl and as a digital download, and hosting a release party on December 5th at 2pm. Official release notes below:
Tompkins Square label is proud to announce the release of the first commercially available full live concert recording of old-time legend Roscoe Holcomb. The vinyl LP will be released in limited quantity on Black Friday via independent record stores. The CD and digital versions will be available widely on December 4th.
Discovered by folklorist John Cohen in 1959 in East Kentucky, Roscoe Holcomb is among the most revered traditional musicians to emerge during the folk boom of the 60’s. A favorite of Bob Dylan (who name-checked him in his 2014 MusiCares speech), Eric Clapton, and many others, Holcomb’s high lonesome singing and driving banjo style can be heard on several classic Folkways recordings.
San Diego State Folk Festival 1972 was recorded at the annual event produced by Lou Curtiss, who provides insightful notes on how the concert came together. John Cohen, author of ‘The High Lonesome Sound’ (Steidl) also contributes new notes to the set. Previously unseen photographs from the event were shot by Virginia Curtiss. Jean Ritchie duets with Holcomb on a beautiful eight-minute version of ‘Wandering Boy’.