41 posts tagged north carolina
“A lot of my favorite music is that way. The very first time I hear it, I think, ‘Hm. There’s something wierd about that.’ And then I find myself obsessed.”
When it comes to a top five records list, David Jacobs-Strain prefers the stripped down style of early innovators, like Mississippi Fred McDowell. The song-craft lyric tricks of Robert Johnson and Gillian Welch. Tom Petty’s rock and Taj Mahal’s roll.
We put it all together in a Spotify playlist so you can get ready for the show Sunday. Below, David explains why the following five are a core part of his road curriculum.
Meantime, give his new record “Geneseo” a listen. Someday you’ll probably see it on somebody’s top five.
Mississippi Fred McDowell
“Standing at the Burying Ground, Recorded Live at the Mayfair Hotel, London in 1969.” They asked him if he wouldn’t mind wearing overalls and a straw hat to the show. They put out a straw bale for him to sit on, and he showed up with an electric guitar and ordered them to clear the stage. Promoters had this very patronizing fantasy of what it meant to be a blues singer. And he showed up, “Nope. I’m an entertainer. I’m a class act. Get rid of this stuff. That’s your fantasy.”
It’s just a wonderfully raw portrait of his music. Fred McDowell has this slightly punk undertone to his music, this driving edge that I love and very modal kind of blues.
“The Natch’l Blues.” Taj Mahal was the first person I ever heard live play the blues. Taj is not just blues, it’s blues, it’s reggae and R&B and he puts it together in this way where it’s Taj and it’s not anybody else. That’s been a huge inspiration for me. I probably heard Taj 17 years ago or something and (that experience) still has a big influence on me. It’s hard for me to pick one of his records, but that’s definitely one that I listen to over and over again.
“Hell Among the Yearlings” (not available on spotify). I’ve been obsessed with her latest record, “The Harrow and the Harvest,” but the record of hers that really turned me on was “Hell Among the Yearlings.” Gillian’s music is uncompromising. And that record in particular is extremely minimal. It’s pretty much just her and David Rawlings, and they play a lot of these, if not modal, very carefully-voiced chords and harmonies. The songs are dark and haunting. To me it’s like you almost have to slow your heart down to listen. Or, her music slows your heart down until you’re at the speed of the music.
There’s a great compression of language too, there’s a lot of meaning in relatively simple words. And I hear that in great blues, too. It’s not always just the double entendres, and I think it’s something that’s missing in a lot of contemporary blues, too: songcraft.
“The Complete Recordings of Robert Johnson.” One of the things Robert Johnson did is to take the best ideas and verses floating around the Mississippi Delta and put them together into coherent songs. Robert Johnson is always referred to as the King of Blues, but one of the reasons that people love his music - and one that’s often unmentioned - is that he knew how to make 2-to-3 minute songs into a coherent story, with a solo, so that it all fits together. As far as acoustic blues goes, he was the master of the two-minute single.
Whereas his mentors, like Charlie Patton, they grew up playing unamplified, country dances where they would have played for hours and hours. And they were great, and they would have been awesome to listen to live, but Robert Johnson took those songs and made the forms coherent, he made them into songs.
“Wildflowers.” The record that’s totally not a blues record, but had a big impact on me. I think it’s one of the great songwriter records. Fifteen songs and every one is good. It’s not a record that has his biggest singles on it, but it’s got such a good vibe. It’s a record that’s really tightly produced, and yet, he said, he wanted to make a record that sounded like it could have been made in a weekend. It doesn’t sound like that to me but it’s believable. It’s a big production that’s non-self indulgent, and I just think the songs are so beautiful.
David Jacobs-Strain & Bob Beach
Sunday, May 5
Tickets available online
“Davd Jacobs-Strain, what a great name!” - Lucinda Williams
Sunday May 5
David Jacobs-Strain and Bob Beech
tickets available online
What’s in your gig bag? Folk artist Alice Gerrard shares a few pics of her pick tin.
“Keith plays like an orchestra,” Kate McGarry says about husband and music collaborator Keith Ganz. “He can take a song that has five instruments on it, and play it on one guitar. You don’t miss anything.”
Kate McGarry and Keith Ganz
Sunday March 10 at the Rooster’s Wife
Tickets available online
John Flynn opens
Sunday March 3
Tickets available online
We’re a listening house, folks. Absolutely no crowing during shows. We’ll let Jeff Tweedy explain in this short video, “People Talking During Concert.”
And Jeff, anytime you want to have a quiet audience, come to Aberdeen.
“Ok, it’s really really cool, if everybody was real quiet for just one second. You feel yourself being in a room full of people, with all of their hearts beating, and all of their thoughts and feelings … but you have to pay attention to it. It’s not just me, I’m not just some pissy artist. It’s what you do when you go to a concert, you’re a part of it, you don’t set yourself apart from everybody (by talking). You’re a part of something. It’s wonderful. It’s joyous.”
“Arthel’s Guitar,” a new record by Jack Lawrence set to release at Merlefest 2013
Hear more about Jack’s new record Sunday night at the Rooster’s Wife“This record is dedicated to my memory of learning how to play music. And the title comes from the record’s title track - an instrumental - about the 1945 D-18 Martin guitar that Doc gave me over 20 years ago. It’s the guitar that he used on a lot of his early records, so I grew up listening to that guitar on record, and I used it on all the (Arthel’s Guitar) recordings,” Jack Lawrence on his new record.
Jack Lawrence & Tommy Edwards
Sunday Feb. 17 at 6:46 pm
The Sweetback Sisters
10 String Symphony
6:46 pm Sunday Jan. 27
Who would have known that Aberdeen, NC would be harboring a great, funky music room like The Rooster’s Wife. It was another hot-wired audience, last night, for my set and for that Jeff Mosier, on his first foray into the solo performance realm. Jeff was accompanied by excellent fiddler, David Blackmon, and the two of them delivered a set of sublime music and thoughtful messages. I look forward to crossing their paths again, AND to playing for the Rooster’s Wife’s audience again.
- songwriter, guitarist, and musician’s musician Jack Williams