FreeWheelin' Music Safari

Americana

Today in Music – October 24,1911 – The Great Sonny Terry was born!!

Sonny Terrry

The joyous whoop that Sonny Terry naturally emitted between raucous harp blasts was as distinctive a signature sound as can possibly be imagined. Only a handful of blues harmonicists wielded as much of a lasting influence on the genre as did the sightless Terry (Buster Brown, for one, copied the whoop and all), who recorded some fine urban blues as a bandleader in addition to serving as guitarist Brownie McGhee’s longtime duet partner.(From Blues Harp)

Today we can remember that joyous whoop and celebrate the 102nd birthday of one of my favorite acoustic blues musicians Sonny Terry. Sonny was born in Greensboro, North Carolina and started his blues career playing in the trio of Blind Boy Fuller. He played with Fuller until Fuller’s death in 1941. After Fuller died Terry began playing with Brownie McGhee and as they say the rest is folk history!!

read more

Life’s Soundtrack – Yep – Nope! Decomposition from Michael Lee Firkins powers my run!!

YepSo the soundtrack for my run tonight was supposed to be the new release from Michael Lee Firkins – Yep but someone forgot that the album was not on the iPhone but would have been on the iPod if someone had remember to copy it to the phone from the computer! I wonder who that could be!! Probably the same person who embarrassed himself yesterday in the library when the iPhone was playing in his pants and he didn’t realize it and kept wondering why the woman at the computer behind him was blaring the music so loudly. He even accused said woman, when the library aide sheepishly asked him whether he was one with the music playing! That guy quickly apologized to all, collected his books, and QUIETLY left the library!!  The music that was playing, that I thought was pretty good and was surprised that the woman was listening to, was Decomposition by Michael Lee Firkins which became the soundtrack of my run this evening!! The run did not start out well!  Yesterday, I had walked about a mile from my office to the garage where our car was being worked on, along the way I turned on Runmeter to see my progress and time! When I started my run this evening, I didn’t realize that the walk had not been cleared. The lady said start and I did and felt pretty good. When I hit the first quarter-mile I looked down at the phone and the time of the run said 16:02 uh unless I am literally crawling that is not right!! So I stopped, realized what happened, and then walked around the block and started the run again!! The second time I hit the quarter-mile mark the time was 2:19 which was correct and I went on to run one of my fastest paces of the year 9:50 per mile and much of the time the pace was around 9:30 per mile! I felt comfortable throughout the run!! Michael Lee FirkinsMichael Lee Firkins was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1967. His father was a lap steel guitarist and his mother a pianist. Michael started playing acoustic guitar at the age of eight. Mostly self-taught, he also took lessons at a local Omaha music store. Learning the songs of the times, Michael was heavily into Lynyrd Skynyrd, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, and Black Sabbath. Michael’s solo career started with the release of his self titled début album on !Records.The release sparkled with Michael’s blending of genres as  his music is rock blended  with country, blues and jazz (sounds pretty great to me!) His first release sold more than 100,000 copies. This well received album also lead to Michael being the winner of the “BEST NEW TALENT” reader’s poll in Guitar for the Practicing Musician and also runner-up in Guitar Player Magazine’s “BEST NEW TALENT” readers poll. He was also hailed as “ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PLAYERS OF THE NEXT TEN YEARS” by Guitar for the Practicing Musician. As Michael’s music was also popular in Europe, Firkins won the Edison Award, which is Holland’s version of a Grammy!! (Website biography) DecopositionThe album that I listened to, Decomposition was released in 2001 and is an album of covers except for one Firkins original! Since I am not a big fan of Lynyrd Skynyrd or Rick Derringer. I didn’t recognize several of the songs. The tracks included: “Still Alive and Well,” from Rick Derringer, Manic Depression,” from Jimi Hendrix (yeah I know this one but Firkiins made it his own!) “I Need You,” and “I Know a Little,” both Lynyrd Skynyrd covers, A highlight of the album for me, was Michael’s cover of the “Pink Panther,” (yes by Henry Mancini!!)  Keeping with the eclectic nature of some of the covers, the closing track is a Duke Ellington tune “Caravan”. All in all, it is a great album and the label “guitar virtuoso” certainly fits Firkins!!

read more

Life’s Soundtrack – A Busy Work Day in the Pines Music by Old Buck!

In the PinesToday I was in the Pines of South Jersey testing concrete that’s being used in the re-construction of the spillway, for the dam at the upper lake at Camp Inawendiwin Tabernacle, NJ. So I thought it only fitting that the soundtrack to the site should have a little twang to it. The band I chose for the ride to the site is a new band with an “old name and music type – Old Buck from  Walkertown, NC  and they play some mean old timey music. On their Facebook page they describe their music as “kickin’ stringband fiddle music and songs. kick ass, cookin’, and flat out“.

read more

Into the Morning with Tom Russell and the Norweigen Wind Ensemble and “Nina Simone”

Tom RussellIt was late, I was  on the way home from Target, the iPhone was on shuffle and then I heard sound of the Norwegian Wind Ensemble with Thad Beckman, and soon Tom Russell and I were traveling,  we were in San Cristobal and listening to Nina Simone on the jukebox…… Tom surely  can paint a picture with his words and music…..I love songs that provide a “sense of place” and songs that move me, This song does both of those things very well….at least for me! So let’s all go into the morning with Tom and his song “Nina Simone” from the album Tom’s latest album Aztec Jazz…..

read more

Life’s Soundtrack – A Positive Run and some Americana Music from Markus Rill!

So last night after work I ran. After the run I finished my post about Steve Strongman,  I showered, went to the store, and then ate dinner.  All the while  I was thinking that I would write about the run in a few minutes. So as the minutes passed, my energy slowly slipped away and before long I was closer to sleep than coherent thoughts and writing!! Which is why I’m sitting here on Friday afternoon writing about it! I maintained a pretty fast pace (for me)  throughout the run and my pace time continues to go down. There was one time during the run that I checked my pace and it was 9:06, so I sped up a little and sure enough the pace went under 9 minutes!! Unfortunately, I could only keep up that pace for a minute or less!! My pace, however, through the first three miles was just and shade over 10 minutes per mile!! And overall I ended the four-mile run in a time of 40:19 for an average pace of 10:05. I was a tired but happy camper!!! My Rocket ShipNow I couldn’t think of or find a Prog Rock album to use as the soundtrack for the run, so I selected an Americana album that I’ve been listening to over the last few days, My Rocket Ship from Markus Rill I really like this album. It’s full of great songs, husky, gravelly vocals from Rill and some fine music from his backing band The Troublemakers. Here’s some press from Markus’ website: “If voices were highways, Markus Rill’s would be gravel … like Steve Earle, Tom Waits and Lucinda Williams, Rill excels at songwriting” – PureMusic/USA “Europe’s premier Americana artist” – Rootstime/Belgium Yes, you read that last quote correctly, because… Markus..

read more

Night Owl Music: The Trip from The Folk Sinner to Sonny Landreth’s “Z Rider”

Sonny Landreth

Ok so Sonny Landreth is one of those musicians whose music is included in my library, but gets lost in the midst of the 18,000 plus tracks  on my iPod! But yesterday, when I paid a visit to YouTube and watched the video that closes this post. I was blown away by Landreth’s slide playing!! Words like you “doofus” and “idiot” came to the forefront of my mind, as I castigated myself for not listening to more of Sonny;s music!! You maybe asking yourself, now., how did he get around to listening to Sonny Landreth yesterday?? Wasn’t he listening to Lee Harvey Osmond’s The Folk Sinner???? Well, even if you didn’t pose that question to yourself, I’m going to tell you the answer anyway!!

read more

“Into the Night” with “Shades of Gray” from Robert Earl Keen!!

REK Well as I sat here thinking about what to listen to or what to write about, I decided to take a little spin on the iPod. I switched it to genres, then folk and then stood there spinning the wheel right and left as I counted to 30, because that;s today’s date, you see! When I looked at the wheel, it had spun right to Robert Earl Keen, Jr. So then I moved on up to the songs and spun the  wheel another 9 times for the month of September that comes to an end tonight. Boy, doesn’t it seem like we were just celebrating Labor Day and the start of school and now we’ve moved on to Halloween, and the Christmas lights are out at Target!!! The other night I was told to remind all the shoppers that if you want outdoor lights you better get them early because Target only get two shipments, so they go quickly and don’t forget to get a Target Red Card (either credit or debit) you’ll get an additional 5% off every purchase, everyday and Target will also donate money to the school of your choice!! I think our store has donated over $17.000 to one school in our area this year!! You’ll also get things like free shipping from Target.com!! If you come into our store in Mt Laurel and sign up tell them the “old man in the market” told you about it!!

read more

Lunchtime Music – John Gorka – “People My Age” Oh My!

John GorkaOk so on Wednesday, my wife moved closer to that magical life milepost the big 60! I won’t say how close she is because if I did she’d say “Well, I’ll still never be older than you!” And she’s right because as you may know, I passed that mile post a couple of years ago! Anyway over the last couple of weeks I keep flashing back to the folksingers that I have loved over the years. This morning I remembered the said passing of Steve Goodman and on this date but in 1973, Jim Croce died in that tragic plane crash.

read more

2013 Americana Music Association Awards

Americana Music AssociationSo the Americana Music Association had there awards show last night in Nashville. From USA Today:

NASHVILLE — Teamwork was the name of the game at Wednesday’s Americana Music Honors & Awards. Duos picked up most of the night’s big awards, and collaborations made the ceremony, held at the historic Ryman Auditorium, special. Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell were honored as duo of the year, and their Old Yellow Moon was chosen as album of the year. “This album was conceived almost 40 years ago, when Rodney and I first met and started collaborating,” Harris said. Crowell played in Harris’ Hot Band in the ’70s before signing his own record deal. Read More

read more