Charlie Parr, Chrystyna Marie, and Kurt Fortmeyer are just a few of the great artists you’ll find on the specials board this week. So, I asked for your thoughts about how long the show ought to be. You weren’t shy about turning loose of your opinions, neither. The results were about three-to-two in favor of a half-hour episode. Hard to do when we’ve got so much music to share, but here goes!
Welcome! brothers and sisters to Episode #7—of the Cornbread Cafe. I am the mongrel, and I will be your waiter today. Cazh and cozy, we’re located at the five-corners of Blues, Americana, Folk, Country, and Gospel. And you can sometimes catch an express to Rock ’n’ Roll at the bus stop across the way. We hope to become your new new fave hang for the best in a sprawling menu of American Roots music. *
Featured in this Episode:
Charlie Parr • “Evil Companion” • Stumpjumper
Avery LeVine • “Coins on the Ground” • Lonesome City
Ray Wilson • “Under A Lonely Sky” • Coming Through in Waves
Chrystyna Marie • “Down the Road” • Loaded Gun
Rust Dust • “Wayfaring Stranger” • Diviners and Shivs
Comanchero • “Watching Rome Burn” • Thrown
Kurt Fortmeyer•“Call The Bitchdoctor On You” • Ameraucana
“Life has always had a kind of soundtrack for me,” says Parr. “My memories fit nicely in the grooves of the records that played through those times, specific records, too, the very ones themselves, complete with the pops and scratches in just the right places.”
Charlie Parr is a singular songwriter who has built a dedicated grassroots following for his haunting, topical songs and virtuosic picking, not to mention the fact that he’s on the road 300 days a year. Based in Duluth, MN, Parr’s inspiration is drawn from the alternately fertile and frozen soil of Minnesota; his songs exude a Midwestern sensibility and humility.
Avery LeVine is a Portland, OR based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist specializing in traditional Irish music and original, progressive Irish folk. With deep roots, and a BMus from the Dublin Institute of Technology, in traditional Irish music; Avery is one of the foremost performers on Irish flute, Irish bouzouki, tin whistle, and DADGAD guitar in the Portland area. His original music uses these roots as a base to explore the connections between Irish music and the traditional music of England, Scotland, America, and other Celtic nations. All while infusing it with jazz and eastern sounds in the hopes of exploring a new, Celtic-tinged chapter in New Acoustic Music.
“It’s been a wild ride already” Wilson says, “I’ve never had an experience like the one I’ve had recording and then turning around and playing ‘troubadour’ live!”
With roots in Alabama, Ray was introduced to music by his father, a construction worker who moonlighted as a honky-tonk musician. After living in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma, Wilson gained a wide variety of musical inspirations ranging from The Doors and The Police to Chuck Berry and The Beatles. Wilson gained experience playing bass for both a punk and a heavy metal band in the 90’s.
Originally hailing from Toronto, Crystyna Marie sings with a powder keg voice over a cocktail of grungy blues and pop. The classically trained Canadian-born singer has supported Ontario acts and been featured as a demo singer on indie labels from as young as 18 years old.
Marie has taken first place in various categories in the Kiwanis Music Festival 2 years in a row. She’s taken lead roles in local community plays; West Side Story as Maria and Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. Over the years, she has racked up a long list of smaller roles in music videos, television and was also the lead singer in an LA founded pop group called Greencat. Writing and releasing her own music, with her own unique voice, however, is where her true passion lies.
Rust Dust, formally known as Ardell Jason Shealy Stutts, is a South Carolina native with a healthy aversion for barbers and liars. He earns his keep repairing and dealing in guitars and amps of a certain age. After bonding with Oscar-winning, Grammy-nominated producer John DeNicola over their mutual affection for this sort of vintage gear, Jason explained his concept for a record.
“A set of songs came together. I rearranged and de-arranged them until they tell the story of Diviners and Shivs,” Jason says. “They seemed to fit naturally with the country, blues and gospel songs I always held dear, and I hoped to record them, live, with someone who wanted to contribute to the sound and feel so that this wasn’t just a ‘dude with an acoustic’ record.”
Since 2003, Comanchero has crafted an Americana sound that combines old traditions with new, Country with Rock, Bluegrass with Blues, Honky-Tonk with Funk, and Roots with Rockabilly. While unique in their own sound, there is something strikingly familiar in Comanchero’s songs that weave influences ranging from The Allman Brothers, The Band, Little Feat, & Led Zeppelin, to today’s contemporaries such as Wilco, The Drive -By Truckers, & Mumford & Sons.
Kurt Fortmeyer was born in a barn and raised in a stable environment, or so he might tell an unwitting listener in one of his sillier moments. His life was changed irreparably at a tender and impressionable age when he was subjected to Roger Miller, Allan Sherman, Chubby Checker, and Trini Lopez.
His first solo show was at the HOLE IN THE WALL SALOON in Raleigh, North Carolina. In the late ’70s, influenced by Jack Kerouac, Jesse Winchester, and Townes Van Zandt, he hitchhiked coast-to-coast, playing in the streets and parks of New Orleans, New York, Memphis, and San Francisco. Brandishing his acoustic guitar and harmonicas, and writing and playing original songs with a traditional bent, Kurt has been found in venues as wide-ranging as Montessori Schools, motorcycle bars, restaurants, and rest homes. He has performed at the Festival for the Eno, the Castalian Springs Bluegrass Festival, and the Haw River Festival.
* Note: Artist links provide access directly to artists’ websites or social media homepages. All album links provide access to song or album purchase options, often through our affiliate programs with Apple Music or Amazon.com, which help make this show possible.
Musicians’ bio info comes from the artists, their websites, or their publicists. Click on names below to visit their websites where you can get the full story, photos, and very often video.