My Favorite Character in the Movie Sing

If you haven’t seen the movie Sing yet I urge you to watch it. We love to view it with my great-niece and great-nephews. We took them with their Mom and my brother and sister-in-law last year. to the movie theater to witness it.  Upon repeated viewings, amazingly the performances, the story, and the 3D animation get better and better.

My favorite character is Johnny, an English teenage gorilla who longs to sing, despite his father who wants him to lead a life of crime. His moment of triumph is when he sings and plays the piano, Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing”.

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We’re Going To Be Friends – Third Man Books

I love how Jack White does it all, in addition to the PBS American Epic Series, he owns Third Man Records and Third Man Books. Talk about the ability to publish and reach an audience.

I welcome the opportunity to sit down with Jack White and share a cup of coffee. I’d love nothing more than the opportunity to thank him in person for all he does to educate, entertain and preserve music heritage. I appreciate all you invent and share with the world, Jack.

On November 7th, you can join Suzy Lee as she goes to school with her books and pens, looks for bugs, shows and tells and finds a friend in the “We’re Going To Be Friends” children’s picture book from Third Man Books! Pre-order the Jack White-penned book with illustrations by Elinor Blake now: http://smarturl.it/WGTBFbook

American Epic: Part 1, The Big Bang

I have been waiting for this Only on PBS music series to be viewable for four years. The production has a magic appeal as a combination of music history, Americana, and the significance of the lacquered phonograph record.

It was fortuitous for the series to begin with the hills of Appalachia and the Carter Family. They are the roots of country music. I love the risks they took to seek out a long distance audition being held at the famed Bristol Sessions with Ralph Peer.

Ralph Peer was an electrical engineer, responsible for the invention of the modern recording equipment.  It was said of him, “He must have been a visionary”, due to the profound impact he had on finding talented artists and recording them.

I loved learning more about the original Carter Family which consisted of Alvin Pleasant “A.P.” Delaney Carter (1891–1960), his wife Sara Dougherty Carter (1898–1979), and his sister-in-law Maybelle Addington Carter (1909–1978).

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I was moved to see a rare collaboration in color video with Sara and Maybelle Carter perform with Johnny Cash on The Johnny Cash Show, Nov. 18, 1970.

American Epic is beautiful in its curation. The videos are painstakingly articulated as are the graphics and the b&w/color stills.

The episode shifts to the home of the blues, Memphis, Tennessee. The focus here is the seminal influence of the Memphis Jug Band. Another recording find of Ralph Peer

We learn about Will Shade a founding member of the Memphis Jug Band. The jug creates an interesting context on the harmony and backdrop of their music.

We get to see and hear the original 78rpm records”Newport News Blues”, “On The Road Again (1928)”, “Stealin, Stealin”, “Cocaine Habit Blues (1930)”

It was smart to see American Epic incorporate two blues historians, Taj Mahal and Charlie Musselwhite. They each provide us with a firm foundation of the blues curated with all the love in their heart. I was fortunate to write a term paper on Taj Mahal as a roots/blues musician when I minored in music in college.

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You will want to see the segment where Charlie Musslewhite in the Memphis Police building plays the guitar and sings the heartfelt song Will Shade taught him, “I’ll Get A Break Someday”.

Threaded throughout the episode is producer/musician/pressing plant owner Jack White our modern day preservationist of rare music and phonograph records. He performs in the studio with Nas and Lillie Mae on violin and other musicians.

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Jack White’s record company, Third Man Records, is selling the American Epic artists reissues on their Web site. There are lots of great roots musicians to get to know better and hopefully add to your vinyl music collection.

American Epic: The First Time America Heard Itself

 

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Jack White, T. Bone Burnett, and Robert Redford have teamed up to executive produce American Epic, a historical music project exploring the pivotal recording journeys of the early twentieth century, which for the first time captured the breadth of American music and made it available to the world. It was, in a very real way, the first time America truly heard herself.

The companion book to the groundbreaking PBS and BBC documentary series celebrating the pioneers and artists of American roots music—blues, gospel, folk, Cajun, Appalachian, Hawaiian, Native American—without which there would be no jazz, rock, country R&B, or hip hop today.

 

 

The Vinyl Me, Please – “Piece De Resistance”

Vinyl Me, Please believes that an album isn’t something you simply own, and their mission is to turn music listening into an immersive sensory experience.

One way they seek to carry out that aim is with the book, Vinyl Me, Please: 100 Albums You Need In Your CollectionA vibrant visual guide to curating must-have records for any music lover’s shelf. Each entry includes an album’s artwork, a short essay from a contributing music writer, and further suggestions to help you expand your taste and build your collection. Standard fare for most album reviews.  Unique to their menu are the recipe suggestions for possible cocktail pairings to complete your listening experience.

Note to my readers in the NYC Metro area, on Wednesday May 10: 7:30 PM 8:30PM ,there will be a related event at The Strand Bookstore.

Music fans of all ages are invited to a panel moderated by Vinyl Me, Please co-founder Tyler Barstow and Vinyl Me, Please senior editor Andrew Winistorfer, and featuring book contributors Eric Sundermann (Editor in Chief of Noisey), Gary Suarez (VMP Electronic Columnist and freelance music writer), and Drew Millard (freelance writer for Noisey, Vice, Spin, and more). Panelists will discuss the albums they covered for the book, albums they wished had been in it– and debate their choices–with a Q+A and book signing to follow.

Wish I could attend…Sigh

David Byrne Presents: The How Music Works Playlist

To celebrate the 2017 edition of How Music Works published by Three Rivers Press, this month’s radio is a mix of songs referenced throughout the book. The edition includes a new chapter on curation that explores four ways we discover music in the digital age: recommendation by experts, by the music itself, by social and cultural forces, and by narrative and context.

Bonus: Pop Conference 2017 Keynote

Horn From The Heart: The Paul Butterfield Story

HORN FROM THE HEART: The Paul Butterfield Story is a feature-length documentary about the life and career of legendary blues musician Paul Butterfield. A white, teenage harmonica player from Chicago’s south side, Paul learned the blues from the original black masters performing nightly in his own back yard. Muddy Waters was Paul’s mentor and lifelong friend, happy to share his wisdom and ability with such a gifted young acolyte.

The interracial Paul Butterfield Blues Band, featuring the twin guitar sound of Michael Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop, the rhythm section of Sam Lay and Jerome Arnold and the keyboards of Mark Naftalin, added a rock edge to the Chicago blues, bringing an authenticity to its sound that struck a chord with the vast white rock audience and rejuvenated worldwide interest in the blues. The band’s first LP, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band released on Elektra Records in 1965, was named “#11 Blues Album of All Time” by Downbeat.

The only artist to perform at The Newport Folk Festival in 1965, The Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and Woodstock in 1969, Paul would continue to break new ground in the blues and to stand up for racial equality until his death at age 44 in 1987 of a drug overdose. Through his music and words, along with first-hand accounts of his family, his band mates and those closest to him, HORN FROM THE HEART: The Paul Butterfield Story tells the complex story of a man many call the greatest harmonica player of all time.