11/16/15 – TONIGHT!
On Monday, November 16, 2015, we will be shooting the pilot episode of the SAMF show “Live From Black Rock”. We hope that you can make it out as we record short sets of music from the Skiffle Minstrels and The Leroy Townes Band. The event is FREE to attend and starts at 7 pm. Hope to see you there!!
Your master film producer,
Welcome to the November 2015 edition of the SAMF Members’ Newsletter. Look for suggestions on a couple new Americana albums to listen to from Angela Hastings, along with Kenny’s Korner and Buffalo Bob Sez. Our usual ticket give away is in the Buffalo Bob article, so be sure to take advantage of it. We will be showcasing one of our Corporate Sponsors once a month and this month we have the pleasure of highlighting Buffalo’s Best Grill. Scroll down to see what they have to say.
Buffalo Bob Sez:
Membership renewal is coming up for a lot of our members. We will be sending out letters toward the end of the year. All charter members who signed up through 2014 have an extended membership through the end of this year. It is very important for you to continue to support SAMF and it’s mission to bring Americana Music and education to our community and, as our mission states, on a national level. We thank you and embrace your support. You may be thinking that our membership card idea is only an urban myth, but they’re coming. All renewals, and new members, from the first of the year on will get a membership card that will make your membership even more worthwhile.
If you’ve recently become a member, please go to our website and review previous newsletters. There’s a lot of good information about what we’ve accomplished and our goals for the future.
If you haven’t already, I strongly encourage you to regularly check out the Facebook pages of both the Sportsmen’s Tavern and the Sportsmen’s Americana Music Foundation. There is a lot of information on these pages about what just happened, what’s coming up, artist profiles, videos and all things music.
As we increase our membership, we want to be sure we have all the contact information we need. If you change your email address, make sure you notify us – firstname.lastname@example.org . We’re giving out perks to the members and that’s the way we’ll get in touch with you. We‘d prefer to have everyone’s mailing address and phone number as well and I know there are gaps in that data. If you want to email me with your address and phone number, we’ll update our records. Also, we have some members who didn’t give us an email address. If you know members who are not getting these emails, tell them to get in touch with us with an email address where they can be reached, a friend or relative, somebody who can tell them they need to enter our drawings to get free tickets to the best music in town.
AMERICANA IN EUROPE
On November 28th the Sportsmen’s Tavern will host a Steve Earle Tribute night, featuring some of the best bands in Buffalo doing Steve’s music: McCarthyizm, Ten Cent Howl, Shaky Stage, Jim Whitford and The Kritters and 1st Annual SAMF Award winners, Leroy Townes and Joelle Labert. I’ve seen Steve Earle several times in Buffalo, and in Minneapolis, but the best was a couple weeks ago when we got the chance to see him in Amsterdam with his band, The Dukes. He did his new song, Mississippi It’s Time and he closed with Hey Joe and Wild Thing. It was similar to his recent show in Buffalo at Ironworks, emphasizing his new album and status as “King of the Blues” but even better with the very enthusiastic crowd in the Netherlands.
The Western New York Scene
There’s a lot coming up in the next month or so, as always. Among many others, Girls, Guns and Glory, Yarn and David Kane and Them Jazzbeards will be at the Sportsmen’s Tavern. The George Caldwell Quintet and Ten Cent Howl will be at The 189 Public House in East Aurora and Ten Cent Howl will also perform at The Buffalo Ironworks.
Along with The Steve Earle Tribute Night on November 28th, two of the biggest shows will be The Black Lillies on December 15th and the Bill Kirchen and Too Much Fun Honky Tonk Holiday Show on December 19th, all at The Sportsmen’s Tavern. Bill Kirchen is the national spokesman for the SAM Foundation and he put on a great show at our 1st Annual Awards Night with Jim Lauderdale, Stone Country and the illustrious cast of award winners.
Girls, Guns and Glory
(above)Last Year’s Christmas show with Bill Kirchen
Last month’s winners were Michelle Stevens for Yonder Mountain String Band at The Town Ballroom, Kevin Kumor for The Dave Rawlings Machine at Babeville, Michelle Stevens for Devil Makes Three at The Town Ballroom, Dale Metzger for Jason Heath and the Greedy Souls at the Sportsmen’s Tavern and Christine Whitman for Delta Moon at The Sportsmen’s
Keep On Rockin’
Bob McLennan, President
Sportsmen’s Americana Music Foundation
Angela’s top picks for new music this month:
Our November 2015 Newsletter brings the season of warming up while listening to some good old and new Americana Music. Buffalo’s own Peter Case, who played the Sportsmen’s September 11th with his other hometown buddies, Jim Whitford, Mark Winsick, and Rob Lynch just released a new album.
“The album takes its title from the highway that connects Ciudad Juarez with Niagara Falls, Ontario. Case was born a block from it, in the Buffalo area. “I always saw HWY 62 as my gateway to the country, my doorway to the west,” he says.Guests joining Peter on this trip include Ben Harper, Jebin Bruni (PIL), Cindy Wasserman and David Carpenter (Dead Rock West), D.J. Bonebrake (X), Don Heffington (Lone Justice), and others. The album was co-produced by Case and Grammy winner Sheldon Gomberg (Rickie Lee Jones, Mark Eitzel, Ben Harper with Charlie Musselwhite).”
Liking this one – give a listen: http://www.newreleasesnow.com/album/shawn-mullins–my-stupid-heart?genre=americana
My Stupid Heart
Forging influences from folk and punk to jazz and Broadway musicals with pop-leaning melodic sensibilities, the Grammy-nominated, platinum selling, Shawn Mullins crafts memorable, affecting tunes that cross many genres on his all new album, My Stupid Heart. Mullins is widely known for 1998’s Soul’s Core, the album that shot him to fame on the strength of its Grammy-nominated # 1 hit, “Lullaby.”
“Atlanta’s hometown hero turns broken hearts into pop gold. My Stupid Heart picks up where (the last) record left off, whipping up its own variation of Americana with Mullins’ baritone at the helm.” – Rolling Stone Country –
Many wonderful bands come through the area that are simply trying to connect the dots on the tour routing. I’m constantly amazed that people in today’s “instant Information” age simply won’t take the couple of minutes to research an unknown band and not attend the show because they didn’t know who they are. Della Mae, Lake Street Dive, Trampled By Turtles, Green Sky Bluegrass, J P Harris, and many more have played for a handful of people on our stage and get enough $ to fill the gas tank, a meal & drinks and go on their way.
I have recently found reviews for a couple of show that are worthy of your consideration.
Concert Review: Hardin Burns, Sportsmen’s Tavern, Buffalo NY – October 11, 2015
A couple of weeks ago, I made the 2 hour trek to one of my favorite music clubs to check out a duo that’s been writing and performing together since 2009. The show at the Sportsmen’s Tavern was one of the final shows (as of this writing) on their fall tour supporting their 2014 release “Down The Deep Well.”
The early impression one gets from Andrew Hardin and Jeannie Burns watching them perform, is they are pure Americana artists. The songwriting is tight, relevant and not afraid to tackle the controversial as evidenced by “The Call”, a song that was inspired by the circumstances surrounding the sudden death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. A story told from the perspective of a still sober addict, “The Call” speaks less about the passing itself, speaking more to the temptation felt daily by recovering addicts. A great blues number, “Smokestack Lightning” and “Beware of Darkness”, a George Harrison cover, highlighted the incredible musicianship of Andrew Hardin. He is one of the finest acoustic guitar players I have seen live.
Not to be outdone is Jeannie Burns. Her signing and songwriting can take you back to the times of early Emmylou Harris, as shown on the country rock flavored “Stars Are Shining.” The song “Underbelly Blues” is a great protest song which speaks to the perils of hydro-fracking, with corporate greed at the forefront. Her singing of “Lake Charles”, the Lucinda Williams classic would make Lucinda herself smile.
When watching Hardin Burns, the respect they have for one another is clear. They have recognized that each artist brings something special to the table and has allowed them to create a partnership that can last for a long time. Their respective backgrounds have enabled them to tap in to each others creativity which has led to a stellar piece of work with “Down the Deep Well”, as well as creating a wonderful stage presence that locks the listeners in. When this duo gets back on the road, you would do well to check them out.
Posted by Americana Review
Catching Up With Charlie Parr
Charlie Parr is playing Atwood’s Tavern on November 4th. I got a chance to have a brief conversation with him about his music and his new album Stumpjumper that came out last April. Charlie is an incredible performer, one who traces his musical career back to his father’s record collection of Texas bluesmen like Mance Lipscomb, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and other blues greats like Mississippi John Hurt and Spider John Koerner.
by Ken Templeton
RLR: I read an interview in which you said, “Songs aren’t ever done; they’re in progress” and I wondered how much of that perspective you attribute to the type of music you sort of grew up on, where you can find so many different versions of blues songs, murder ballads, etc. and that is part of the thrill–that there’s always a new way to perform or interpret a song.
That’s reasonable to say. It’s one of the things I got a huge kick out of when I was young. I was a latchkey kid, my dad worked a lot and when he was home, we’d listen to his records. And as a teenager, I was constantly finding these other ways people had done these songs, and it started to sparkle really hard for me. Even now with my own songs, I’ll play a show I’ll hit something differently and the song will change a bit. You think they’re done, but they’re really not.
RLR: How about when other folks might play your songs—there are different feeling these days on ownership of songs than when Lightnin’ Hopkins was playing.
It’s an amazing feeling. I’m honored and flattered if someone wants to play one of my songs. I’m not naturally territorial or competitive. When someone wants to cover one of my songs and they call me up and say, “hope you don’t mind” and I think “Mind? I’m honored.” It’s like you’ve been added into the canon when all you ever really thought about your whole life is music.
RLR: Phil Cook covered “1922” on his new album, which is so good. You’ve said that you recording Stumpjumper with Phil helped you get some songs “unstuck”. And I was amazed that it only took you guys a day and half. Can you talk about that a bit?
I’ve known Phil for a long time. You meet him and you love him and it’s like you never could have felt any other way about him.
I had this group of songs coming out, and they weren’t doing their usual thing. Phil takes things and looks at them in a unique way. I told him I’d been listening a lot to the Spider John Koerner album Running, Jumping, Standing Still to the point where it started to impact me and I couldn’t figure the songs out. Phil had never heard it, so he got it, and it kind of infected him too. So he told me to come out to North Carolina. Just show up, I’ll have some people, kick these songs around. No pressure. I was on tour and I was also obsessed with “Delia” and all it’s weird versions, of which there are a lot.
So I pull into this place in North Carolina and it’s guys just like Phil. They’re enthusiastic and interested. And they’re like me, kind of dumpster divers who live everywhere. No one had heard the songs yet, so they told me to just start playing and they started to play along. In first hour, I had played the record through. It was like showing someone a half-finished painting, and handing them a brush. So then Phil says let’s turn the tape machine on. And most of the songs on the album are first takes.
The only stumbling block was backing vocals because I don’t really get it. But Phil understands it and so he told my wife Emily, “Sing like this” and he sang too. We played it live around a little cluster of mics, then we went out and played show in Raleigh, came back the next day to finish some things up. Phil added it up and said it took us about 14 hours.
He gave me a CD and I listened on the way to Knoxville that night. It was incredible to be able to trust people I’d just met with something so personal and have them treat it with such care.
RLR: One of the things I expected to be different for me as listener with the album was the element of percussion. But I didn’t find that—and there’s part of me that feels like even as a solo artist, you communicate percussion in your performance, even without a drummer.
I’ve never felt comfortable with drummers, because the time is too tight. With old music, especially blues, the time is never tight. It can be painful to listen to old recordings of Lightnin’ Hopkins playing with a drummer at Newport—they’re playing together, but not really playing together. So my immediate reaction is tension with drummers.
But I’ve played a bunch with Mikkel Beckmen, who’s a great washboard player. And he plays not by following the beat, but by following the melody.
One of the huge honors I’ve had was to play with Spider John Koerner. He’s been my hero for so long. His rhythm is kind of like when you throw a wet rug in washing machine. It’s got a rhythm—it’s never right, but it’s always right on. It took me a little while to let my hand go limp and just feel it.
When I play, I have a porchboard and that gives me something like a heartbeat that I can hear, even in louder rooms. I started by using a bureau drawer with a microphone under it, but found this guy in Janesville, Wisconsin who makes porchboards, so I didn’t have to stomp through all my bureau drawers.
RLR: I’m sure you get asked about musical influences a lot. I’m always kind of interested in what non-musical influences you think crop up in your songs. Books, ideas, places, people–does that idea make sense?
I would say I have just as many non-musical as musical influences. Living in the world, I’m kind of a sponge. One of the new songs (“Evil Companion”) is from a conversation I overheard–you know, it was just loud enough that you couldn’t not listen. And that song comes from the spirit of that conversation. I read a lot and am drawn to writers like Raymond Carver or Flannery O’Connor; stories that don’t necessarily have a beginning, middle, end, but are written in vignettes. I just read M Train—absolutely brilliant. I was sad when ended, because I want to know what Patti Smith is doing now. And it’s not really about anything; there’s no climactic moment where Patti Smith slays the dragon. But it had me completely riveted.
There are times when I’m listening to music and it wakes up the environment around me. I’ve been listening a lot to Steve Gunn and instrumentalists who make these textured records. It’s not droning ambient instrumental stuff, but there is a lot going on there—and when I listen to them they change atmosphere of the rest of the world.
When I’m in a mode when I’m open to creating, the opposite happens. The environment around me filters through the music. You know, weather is a controversial topic here in Duluth. Yesterday was overcast and cold and misty and I thought it was a pretty nice day, but I said that to my neighbor and he seemed offended by that idea.
RLR: You recorded your first album in 1999. What has changed and what has been stable for you in the twenty-five years you’ve been making music and putting it out into the world?
I was just talking to a friend about this. I don’t own a computer, so my friend helps me run my website. Our plan is to eventually release everything I’ve recorded on the site.
He asked me to write about the first album, Criminals and Sinners and what recording it was like.
Before recording that album, I had been playing a lot and people would put this big pressure on recording—you know, like: it’s for the ages. But then I met this old punk rocker in Duluth and he convinced me it was not a big deal and he said, “Bring your washboard guy and we’ll record and you’ll be surprised how not a big deal it is.”
So we’re in this gross basement around these old 257 Shure microphones. And he says the only reel he has is thirty minutes at the end of a punk band’s record. We slammed through it, performed it live, and finished the last song as the tape ran out.
Ever since then, I’ve thought of music as moving air molecules around. Even a recording is only what it is on that day. You’re not painting a picture or writing a novel, so it’s not something for the ages. It’s a piece of something from that day that happens to exist beyond that day. And that’s part of why Stumpjumper worked so well, because this “for the ages” idea has always been kind of meaningless to me.
What’s changed is that I’m more willing to add in stuff I might have been frightened about before. I’m more comfortable with myself and a little more courageous—for good or ill. Music is extremely personal to me. I’m happy people like it but if I do something unpalatable to others, I’ll still be happy with it and will be playing it in my kitchen.
RLR: Atwood’s seems to be a venue that you’ve developed a relationship with over the past few years, playing here a couple of times a year. What is it about the venue that keeps you coming back?
When I first came to Cambridge, I played at TT The Bears for Randi Millman and she was pretty much the only person there. But she liked it, she said “We’ll double the audience next time!” So she has been really supportive and the people at Atwood’s are great. The room is great, the sound is incredible, the people who run the place are so supportive. And it’s important to me to be a part of creating a public space—and that’s what places like Atwood’s are.
Sponsor of the month: Buffalo’s Best Grill!
“From the very first time I visited The Sportsmens, I couldn’t believe a place like this existed in Buffalo”, says Tony Formato, Owner of Buffalo’s Best Grill on Southwestern Boulevard in Orchard Park. “It reminded me of a Honky Tonk I had been to in Austin, Texas, and here it was, right in our own city. I’m also a big fan of Blues music and The Sportsmen always features great Blues.” Whenever he gets a chance, Tony loves to stop in during Big Band lunch hours and catch the show. Over the years, he’s gotten to know Duane and ultimately, the two collaborated to create Buffalo’s Best Craft Beer and Music Festival at Kissing Bridge, which this year, raised $5,000 for the Sportsmen’s Americana Music Foundation.