The Tree of Forgiveness – John Prine

Years ago I worked for Microsoft as a Systems Engineer. There was a poster in the cafeteria  with an ad slogan that said, “Where Do You Want To Go Today?” The year was 1994 when I discovered the World Wide Web was available through a browser on my computer and a dial-up modem. It was the jump to hyperspace.

Each new day renews the online quest to discover a new music source or reacquaint with an old friend from over the years.

This morning I’m connecting with John Prine who released his new album yesterday, The Tree of Forgiveness.  His first album of new original songs in 13 years that dropped on Friday the 13th 😉

The star-making machinery is actively underway with John Prine appearing on Late Night with Stephen Colbert.  Watch John Prine, Brandi Carlile, and Sturgill Simpson perform the first single from the album, “Summers End”.

Think I’ll make this a John Prine Saturday out of respect for an old friend.

OhBoy

 

 

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Still On The Run – The Jeff Beck Story

Jeff Beck is a true gunslinger and more.

His musicianship defined rock guitar for me.  He was the first major rock guitarist I saw live as The Jeff Beck Group in 1969 at The Fillmore East.

Jeff Beck, Ronnie Wood, Mickey Waller, and Rod Stewart

I’ve seen him perform in concert twice since ’69.  The night he played with his band at the 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Concert in 2009 at Madison Square was over the Top 😉

We saw him the following year at the Garden again. He was on tour with Eric Clapton where they each did a set, collaborating together. The highlight of Jeff Beck’s performance was to bring a full orchestra to play “Nessun Dorma” (An aria from the last act of Giacomo Puccini’s opera, Turandot). His versatility has no bounds.

“Jeff takes the guitar to the furthest reaches of the guitar universe” -Jan Hammer”

He’s still on the run 49 years later.  Catch him this summer with Ann Wilson (Heart) and Paul Rodgers (Free, Bad Company)

Still On The Run: The Jeff Beck Story documents the history of a musical maverick and true innovator, delving below the surface to shed light on the circumstances, inspiration and technicality behind the man and his music. The film features extensive interviews with Jeff both at home and in his workshop, as well as interviews with Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart, David Gilmour, Ronnie Wood, Slash, Jan Hammer, Joe Perry, Beth Hart & many more.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2018 Best Bet

I began to feel the magnetic pull of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2018 ceremony today. The event takes place this year in Cleveland at the Rock Hall on Saturday, April 14th.

Exclusive of being there in person (for the fortunate few as its sold out) here is the next best bet Internet option available for rock and roll fans.

SiriusXM and the Hall have created Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Radio Channel 310. If you are a SiriusXM subscriber you can listen online. I listened to the channel for several hours today while I worked. During the first hour, I logged into our SiriusXM account via a Web browser and took advantage of the Harmon Kardon HP PC speaker system. I listened the remainder of the time through the SiriusXM iOS App on the iPad Pro which has much better built-in speakers and sound. Tomorrow I’ll listen to SiriusXM on the SONOS 1.

The music and information programmed on this exclusive (temporary?) channel were well curated. There wasn’t one song or artist I did not appreciate in four hours. How can you go wrong with music from Rock Hall inductees? I mean seriously.

Channel 310’s piece de resistance is the 2018 Backstage Induction Broadcast on Saturday, April 14th from 7:00 pm until Sunday, April 15th 12:00 am.

It’s the biggest honor in music, induction into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. Get backstage coverage, insight, and music from 2018 inductees Bon Jovi, The Cars, Nina Simone, Dire Straits, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and The Moody Blues! Also thoughts from performers and presenters exclusively on SiriusXM’s Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Radio’s backstage broadcast!

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Companion social media options:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rockhallradio/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SIRIUSXM

The HBO live recording being filmed that evening does not air until May 5th.

 

Hydrogen Jukebox and Solace

The soul yearns for peace in a time of crisis…

A chance encounter between minimalist composer Philip Glass and beat poet Allen Ginsberg results in the collaboration, Hydrogen Jukebox

Hydrogen Jukebox is a chamber opera, taken from a phrase coined by Ginsberg, from his poem Howl.

‘…listening to the crack of doom on the hydrogen jukebox…’

Of the project, Glass said:

“In 1988…I happened to run into Allen Ginsberg at St. Mark’s Bookshop in New York and asked him if he would perform with me. We were in the poetry section, and he grabbed his book from the shelf and pointed out Wichita Vortex Sutra. The poem, written in 1966, reflected the anti-war mood of the times, seemed highly appropriate for the occasion. As a result I composed a piano piece to accompany Allen’s reading, which took place at the Schubert Theater on Broadway.

The reading went so well they decided to collaborate by creating a full-length work. A small orchestra and six voices with text compiled from Ginsberg’s catalog of poetry.

According to Ginsberg, “Hydrogen Jukebox signifies a state of hypertrophic high-tech, a psychological state in which people are at the limit of their sensory input with civilization’s military jukebox, a loud industrial roar, or a music that begins to shake the bones and penetrate the nervous system as a hydrogen bomb may do someday, reminder of apocalypse.”

The crisis state of Syria and the pending talks with North Korea that fills our airwaves compels the music of our heart to find solace and meaning from this past work. My personal mission today is to listen to and comprehend Hydrogen Jukebox. 

May the past genius of Ginsberg and Glass bring the soul peace.

 

The Music Never Stopped: Roots of the Grateful Dead

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The Music Never Stopped: Roots of the Grateful Dead is a 1995 compilation album of songs, performed by the original artists, that the American rock group the Grateful Dead covered and performed live throughout their career.

The cover was drawn by underground cartoonist Robert Crumb who was paid in rare 78 r.p.m. records that he avidly collects by the label’s president.

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The tracks and performers on the The Music Never Stopped: Roots of the Grateful Dead compilation are:

  • Rain And Snow – Obray Ramsey
  • Mama Tried – Merle Haggard
  • Iko Iko – Dixie Cups
  • Samson and Delilah – Rev. Gary Davis
  • Big Railroad Blues – Cannon’s Jug Stompers
  • El Paso – Marty Robbins
  • It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue – Bob Dylan
  • Spoonful – Charlie Patton
  • The Red Rooster – Howlin’ Wolf
  • The Promised Land – Chuck Berry
  • Don’t Ease Me In – Henry Thomas
  • Big Boss Man – Jimmy Reed
  • Turn On Your Love Light – Bobby Bland
  • Morning Dew – Bonnie Dobson
  • Not Fade Away – Buddy Holly
  • Goin’ Down This Road Feelin’ Bad – Woody Guthrie
  • I Bid You Good Night – The Pindar Family w/ Joseph Spence

Harlem Street Singer – Rev. Gary Davis

I watched the documentary film Harlem Street Singer about the life of Reverend Gary Davis.

His songs have interested me for years thanks to Jorma Kaukonen faithful renditions. But I didn’t know anything about the person behind those songs.

I learned that Rev. Gary Davis rose from abject poverty in North Carolina and that he was nearly blind from birth. He taught himself how to play the guitar and to improvise songs. He got married and eventually moved to New York.  He was a hardy soul who survived on the streets of Harlem as a musician. He taught guitar in order to make a living. He provided lessons right up until his death at age 76 in 1972.  Amongst his star pupils were Dave Van Ronk, David Bromberg, Bob Weir, Roy Book Binder, and Stefan Grossman. Woody Mann who was his student for four years serves as co-producer and responsible for the music for Harlem Street Singer.

Blind Gary Davis was a purveyor of the Piedmont Blues which refers to a guitar style known as the Piedmont fingerstyle.  It is characterized by a fingerpicking approach in which a regular, alternating thumb bass string rhythmic pattern supports a syncopated melody using the treble strings generally picked with the fore-finger, occasionally others.[2]

His versatility as a musician allowed him to create the intersection of blues, folk, and gospel. His mastery of each idiom truly stood him apart.

The folk revival of the 1960s jettisoned Davis’s career. He performed at the Newport Folk Festival. Peter, Paul and Mary recorded his version of “Samson and Delilah“, also known as “If I Had My Way”.

Reverend Gary Davis who never had any children of his own, proudly claimed these guitar students as his sons. Thankfully for you and I they honor his tutelage by paying it forward.

 

Been So Long: My Life and Music – Jorma Kaukonen

Jorma Kaukonen is the consummate journeyman. He tours constantly with Hot Tuna and on his own. I am amazed and thankful for the schedule he keeps at 77.

Somehow between the concerts, guitar teaching, Fur Peace Ranch, and the responsibilities of being a husband and father he found time to write his memoirs. No moss grows on him.

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His words about achieving this accomplishment strike deep inside this verbal expressive.

“There are those who talk about writing books and those who actually do it”

This is a must-have book for the music book collection. Especially since Grace Slick wrote the foreword and Jack Casady authored the afterward.

Bravo Jorma! Long may you strum…

Been So Long: My Life and Music is available now for pre-order via Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It will be available on Aug. 28, 2018.