Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power

women-who-rock.jpgI just discovered this incredible exhibition curated by Jim Henke at Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power. It is also the subject of a companion PBS documentary, PBS Arts from Cleveland: Women Who Rock. 

The interactive exhibition spotlights more than 70 artists and fills two entire floors of the museum. The exhibit features artifacts, video and listening stations, as well as a recording booth where visitors can film a short story or moment of inspiration related to women in rock.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Website is content deep with information about the Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power exhibition. If you are a fan, teacher, student or scholar (that’s me ;), you’ll find much to read and learn about about how women in rock have contributed to the music over the decades.

There is also a three page blog with lots of interesting insights. Remember girls just wanna have fun and I support that 100%!


Women of the Blues, Part I, Daily Post 2011 #18

Wintery days, snowed and iced bound indoors creates cabin fever. What better way to handle cabin fever than listening and studying the blues, while doing my graduate school homework 😉

The Nov/Dec issue of Blues Revue, The Worlds Blues Magazine is a fantastic issue featuring a cover story entitled, “Powerful Women Play the Blues”. If you are looking to discover invigorating musicians carrying the blues tradition forward you want to get this magazine to read about what these women are accomplishing.

If you scratch my rock and roll heart you will find at its core the blues. The discoveries I have made through the blues have been some of the most enriching experiences of my life. It’s important to fortify and deepen one’s trusted experiences by gaining a better appreciation for women in the blues.

1. Joanne Shaw Taylor

Joanne Shaw Taylor produces that gutsy sounding blues you’ve come to respect from respected blues artists. Her raspy vocals match her tough guitar playing. I didn’t find her blues style immediate, but as I listened  further to Diamonds in the Dirt, a natural intensity took hold. It was like lighting a candle that burns bright with an ever-increasing flickering flame.

I especially love this quote about Joanne Shaw Taylor :), “Last year I heard something I thought I would never hear … a British white girl playing blues guitar so deep and passionately it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end!” — Dave Stewart, Eurythmics

2. Debbie Davies

People have been singing the praises of Debbie Davies to me for years. I finally got around to reading more about Debbie Davies today. The more I read told me that I too am a fellow beatnik.  I took the time today to listen to Debbie Davies’s latest recording, Holding Court. I love the tone of her blues guitar, she has the chops of Albert Collins, who she played with from 1988-1991 and so much more. I hear some of Michael Bloomfield in her style. Her command of the guitar is blues power pure as she plays with an effortless sincerity that will captivate your soul.

3. Eden Brent

I stumbled upon Eden Brent recently when I was looking at a list of blues artists playing on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise. One of my fantasies is to take that cruise with Rosemary from some port of call in the future 😉

I then noticed that Eden Brent’s recording Ain’t Got No Troubles as  #4 in Amazon’s Top 10 Best Blues Albums of 2010.  (As is Joanne Shaw Taylor’s Diamond in the Dirt recording at #10). This intrigued me further. Next thing I know I am buying the latest Blues Revue on the newstand and there is a feature article on Eden Brent. Well I go with synchronicity when it strikes like that.

I really like Eden Brent’s recording. The Mississippi area of the US has always been a fertile source of blues music to draw upon. Eden Brent encompasses the boogie woogie piano playing and adds her velvety smooth vocals to that mix. Her interpretations are resonant as they collect your warm smile.

4. Cyndi Lauper

I just adore Cyndi Lauper.  Her voice is emotionally poignant. I respect how Cyndi Lauper takes risks on creative levels through constant experimentation with her music. Memphis Blues establishes a defining chapter in the evolution of Cyndi’s ever-changing songbook.

We saw Cyndi Lauper open for Cher in 2003 at Mohegan Sun. She knocked us out with her magnetic aura, which was both intimate and charming in its appeal.

A Trio of Blues Harp Players – Daily Post 2011 #17

I was thumbing through the Nov/Dec 2010 issue of Blues Revue magazine, where I picked up on a thread of continuity with three blues harp players, Grady Champion, James Cotton, and Charles Musslewhite. Each had advertisements in the magazine and all three harp players recordings are reviewed in the reviews section.

The first harp player reference I saw was a half page advertisement for the International Blues Challenge 2011, featuring an image of Grady Champion (last year’s IBC winning band!). The Blues Foundation will present the 27th International Blues Challenge February 1-5, 2011 in Memphis, TN

Grady Champion is a new influence for me.  His band’s latest recording is Back In Mississippi Live at the 930 Blues Cafe on Earwig Records. Having a Microsoft Zune music account I decided to sample Grady Champion’s recording. I liked what  I heard immediately. Grady and the band have a sharp, fresh sound that commands your attention from the first note. Give them a listen 🙂

Charlie Musselwhite, is a veteran blues-man who is having a welcome resurgence of late. You may have seen him playing with Cyndi Lauper on her latest recording Memphis Blues. Charlie has been a sideman with many famous musicians such as Tom Waits, Bonnie Raitt, John Lee Hooker and The Blind Boys of Alabama, just to name a few. Charlie’s latest recording on Alligator Records, The Well is up for a Grammy Award nomination in the Best Traditional Blues Album category. The Well has been hailed by critics and fans as one of the very best blues CDs of 2010. I wholeheartedly agree, The Well is a gritty, straight ahead blues rocker. One of my favorite tracks is “Cook County Blues” where you hear humorous diatribe about being in the slammer” 😉

Superb, original and compelling…harmonica master Musselwhite sets the standard for blues.” – Rolling Stone Magazine

Alligator Recording artist James Cotton at 75 years young has also received a well-deserved Grammy Award nomination in the Best Traditional Blues Album group for Giant. James Cotton began his career at the age of 9 under the tutelage of Sonny Boy Williamson. He is totally dedicated to his craft and will shake you to your bones on this recording.

“Among the greats of all time, He blazes on harp with brilliant virtuosity,”–Rolling Stone Magazine