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Cornbread Cafe #14: The Mammals

The Mammals appear Saturday, July 27 at Hancock Shaker Village as an installment in the Shaker Barn Music series, photo by Schnaidt.
The Mammals appear Saturday, July 27 at Hancock Shaker Village as an installment in the Shaker Barn Music series, photo by Schnaidt.

⬇️ Podcast Player ⬇️

Welcome brothers and sisters to episode #14 of the Cornbread Cafe. I am the mongrel, and I will be your grill master at this barbecue bonanza we’re firing up for you 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.

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Mighty Thunders and Borrowed Light open 2019 season at Hancock Shaker Village

Barbara Ernst Prey, School Room, 2019, watercolor on paper; [source Hancock Shaker Village].
Barbara Ernst Prey, School Room, 2019, watercolor on paper; [source Hancock Shaker Village].

by Jason Velázquez

This is the Top Left Corner. Today is Saturday, May 25, and you’re listening to episode #72. I’m your host, Jason Velazquez, and as always, thank you for tuning in. We have a huge show for you this week. We start off with a short hop over to Lenox where we check in with Shakespeare & Company, whose 2019 season kicks off with the Wavery Gallery. Then we spend the remainder of our show at Hancock Shaker Village, which begins its season with the opening of two major installations, Borrowed Light: Barbara Ernst Prey, and While Mighty Thunders Roll: Popular Artists Sing the Shakers, produced by Jeffrey Gaskill. We’ll finish up with some key segments of my conversation with Matt Lorenz known by his one-man band — The Suitcase Junket. Oh, and we’ve got some boss tracks from his new album to share with you, too.

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Cornbread Cafe #13: The Black Bear Americana Music Festival

We celebrate the first inaugural Black Bear Americana Musics Festival with potent tracks from The Mammals, Adam Ezra Group, Belle of the Fall, The Nields, Whiskey Treaty Roadshow, The Rad Trads, Violetta Zironi, NuBluzRevue, and the Honey Whiskey Trio.

The Black Bear Americana Music Festival
First ever installment of this huge event to be held at the Goshen Fairgrounds just north of Litchfield, Conn., October 4–8.

Welcome! brothers and sisters to Episode #13—of the Cornbread Cafe, that new joint on the web offering tasty American Roots treats. We’re located at the five-corners of Americana, Blues, Country, Folk, and Gospel. And sometimes you can catch an express to Rock ’n’ Roll at the bus stop across the way.

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Cornbread Cafe #12

We celebrate the first inaugural Arcadia Folk Festival with mighty tunes from Laura Berman, Faint Peter, Divining Rod, Birds of Chicago, Darlingside, Heather Maloney, The Nields, and Celine Schmink.

Dawn at Arcadia Wildlife Preserve; photo courtesy Mass Audubon.
Dawn at Arcadia Wildlife Preserve; photo courtesy Mass Audubon.

host, the mongrel
music editor, Serafina

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Cornbread Cafe #11

The Matchstick Architects, Gus McKay, Misty Blues, Toney Rocks, CATFOX, Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints, Trevor McShane, Ameraucana Kurt Fortmeyer

Misty Blues; photo courtesy mistybluesband.com.
Misty Blues; photo courtesy mistybluesband.com.

From our interview with Gina Coleman of Misty Blues, available on Episode #66 of the Top Left Corner, releasing August 29.

“So, last year we won the Capital Region Blues Network International Blues Challenge competition which sent us to the greater International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee, where we competed against about 250 of the best Blues bands around the world. Each blues Society gets to pony up their best band and send them to Memphis in January every year, and I think this was the 33rd or 34th year of this competition. We were really excited—we thought, “What a wonderful opportunity…we held our own and it really afforded me the opportunity to learn that we are right in the mix with Blues bands throughout the world.”

— Gina Coleman

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Cornbread Cafe #010

Pickxen, Grant Maloy Smith, Scott Thorn, Mikalyn Hay, The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow, Parsonsfield

Parsonsfield releases their new EP, WE, March 9, 2018; photo courtesy Signature Sounds Recordings.
Parsonsfield releases their new EP, WE, March 9, 2018; photo courtesy Signature Sounds Recordings.

From Parsonsfield on the release of WE:

“Everyone finds themselves searching for this theoretical ‘thing’ that is supposed to make them happy. Whether it’s a relationship or financial comfort, there’s a goal in our minds that once achieved, we’ll be able to start enjoying life,” says singer/songwriter and banjo player Chris Freeman. “Our circumstances, whether we’re rich or poor, are only half of what determines happiness. The rest is our thoughts, habits and connections with other people,” adds songwriter and mandolin player Antonio Alcorn. “WE is an inner journey to appreciate what you have, and to find happiness no matter what your lot in life.” Keep Reading

Cornbread Cafe #009

Chris Andres, Janie Barnett, The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow, Almond&Olive, Keeton Coffman, Honey Whiskey Trio

Natalie Alms and Ollie Davidson of Almond&Olive; submitted photo.
Natalie Alms and Ollie Davidson of Almond&Olive; submitted photo.

From their website:

Alms and Davidson believe that, when possible, using their platform of musical creation and performance to give back to those in need is a natural extension of their personal goals – to make the world a better place for those who live in it. With that charge, once finished, their debut album will be also be used to help give back. Alms and Davidson have decided to donate a portion of the proceeds from the initial sales of the album to the Jackson Galaxy Foundation (JGF), a foundation founded by Animal Planet’s Jackson Galaxy. JGF will use the funds donated by A&O to help animal shelters bolster their animal adoption programs, rehab crumbling animal housing and enhance vital community animal welfare programs.

Welcome! brothers and sisters to Episode #9—of the Cornbread Cafe. I am the mongrel, and I’ll be your host today. Be sure to ask your waiter about about this week’s specials, which are all prepared using only the finest ingredients in American Roots music. 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. *

 

Featured in this Episode:

Chris Andres • “Tired Old Town”Tired Old Town
Janie Barnett & Blue Room• “Buy That Thing You”You See This River
The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow • “Poisonous Me”The Heart of the Run
Almond & Olive • “Standing at the Precipice”Standing at the Precipice
Keeton Coffman • “The Tribe” Killer Eyes
Honey Whiskey Trio“The Lone Wild Bird”Rye Woman

We’re going to get right into the music this show, because the hardcopy of the EP, Tired Old Town, by Chris Anres with Gary McDannold showed up in the mail just a couple days ago, and I have been impatient to share it with you. I couldn’t decide between the five tracks on this 2017 release, so I figured we’d go with the title track, Tired Old Town, to get things goin’.

Chris Andres, with Gary McDannold

Events

See, look it that. I invite musicians to send me their music, they do, it shows up on show just like that. And it’s just that easy. Look for the contact link at cornbread.cafe for more info. It’s been an episode or two since we’ve picked from the all-natural Country section of the menu, so I guess that why that tune hits the spot just right. Chris Andres leans more than a little bit towards the outlaw end of the Country spectrum, and all I can say is thank God for outlaws or wouldn’t have any friends at all.

 

 


Janie Barnett

Events

Janie Barnett; submitted photo.
Janie Barnett; submitted photo.

Now, back on Episode #6, I was honored to have Janie Barnett as our guest. I played a portion of our conversation on the show, and then made the entire interview available separately via an audio player in the show notes. If you haven’t yet, I’d encourage you to go back and listen to both. I didn’t include the clip that I’m gonna share with you now in the main show in Episode 6. Call me superstitious, but I think I felt like if I held on to it, if I didn’t let it out of its cage, or the song she discusses, maybe I could somehow keep this thing from happening. Maybe I could shield my children, everybody’s children, by just not talking about it. But I’m a fool to fool myself that way. And waiting until a calmer time to have this conversation means waiting until the pain subsides. Thank you Janie for preserving that pain in your music, your work. Thanks again for talking about your very powerful song, “Buy That Thing.”

 

 

The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow

Events

That was “Buy That Thing” off Janie Barnett’s 2017 release, You See This River. Remember you can pick up that LP by visiting the show notes for this episode at cornbread.cafe and looking for the iTunes, Amazon, or other purchase links. And, since these links are usually our affiliate links, you help support this program with your purchase, at no extra extra cost to you.

Next, I was going to play a track off the Whiskey Treaty Roadshow’s self-titled September release. But I had my Cornbread library on shuffle yesterday, and the tune, “Poisonous Me” from their 2016 live album “Heart of the Run” came up. And I was like, “I’ve played that on the Cafe, haven’t I?” I had to go back and check, and the answer was no, no I haven’t. I guess I’ve just played it for myself so often I kinda figured I must have. So let’s spin that right now to correct that oversight. Here’s “Poisonous Me,” by the Whiskey Treaty Roadshow on the Cornbread Cafe.

 

 

The festival scene is starting to kick into gear around the country, and I hope you get to experience as many as you can. Really, if music were an ecosystem, festivals would be the natural habitat for Americana bands and the Rootsians who love them. Coming up this weekend is the

Wintergrass Festival

February 22 – February 25
Hyatt Regency, Bellevue Washington,
just across the lake from Seattle.

And the fourth annual Back Porch Festival returns March 1–4, with all-star line-ups of American roots artists at the Academy of Music and The Parlor Room in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Reserve your body space at signaturesoundspresents.com/back-porch/ or, actually, just go to our show notes at cornbread.cafe and click the link to get you there.

I would provide info about SXSW, coming up March 9–18 in Austin, TX, but until they put me on the press list, I can’t very well do that, now can I? You’d think for $1,650 per pass, they could afford to hire someone to put music podcasters on the press list, right? Hell with ‘em, I say. Besides, I’m busy that week.

Almond & Olive

Events

Anyway, in this next set, I have to play the only tune I have from Keeton Coffman that I have NOT shared with you yet on this show, I think. The tune is “The Tribe” off his 2017 release “Killer Eyes,” which would definitely be in the running for a Cornbread Award, if we had such a thing here. But he just released his video for “The Tribe” this week, and like the rest of the videos from that release, it fits the music perfectly. You can check out the embed in the shownotes.

 

 

Keeton Coffman

Events

First though, let’s hear from one of our most recent discoveries, Almond&Olive, out of Chicago. We featured their song “We Will” on Episode #6—now let’s hear the title track off “Standing at the Precipice.”

Both of those songs are just pristine, aren’t they? Go together pretty well, too, if I do say so myself. You know, in addition to buying music and merch from the artists you hear on the show, you can connect with them through their sites or social media pages. I always provide the link s if I’ve got ‘em. And when you find those songs that really resonate with you, why not shoot the artists a quick not and tell them how much you enjoyed hearing their tunes on the Cornbread Cafe. It won’t help them pay the rent, but it does let them know that their efforts are appreciated.

 

 

Honey Whiskey Trio

Events

Last up is a song I’ve been saving up, though I can’t say I’ve known what for. This week, I know. From the Honey Whiskey Trio’s 2017 release, Rye Woman, is a song of comfort that you might just know. And I think I’ll let the Honeys have the last word on this episode, so I’m just going to send out “The Lone Wild Bird,” along with my deepest sorrow, to the families of Parkland, Florida.

 

Buy Rye Woman directly from the Honeys

 

 

 

 

 

* 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.

The Cornbread Cafe #8: Not a Valentine’s Day episode. Unless’n you want it to be.

Tanya Gallagher [explicit lyrics], Kate Lush, The Suitcase Junket, Bumper Jacksons, Faint Peter, Birds of Chicago

Tanya Gallagher; photo courtesy tanyagallagher.com.
Tanya Gallagher; photo courtesy tanyagallagher.com.

“Virginia taught me love, it taught me heartache, but most importantly it taught me that a home away from home can exist. These songs represent an incredible time of personal growth.”

— Tanya Gallagher

Welcome! brothers and sisters to Episode #8—of the Cornbread Cafe. I am the mongrel, and I’ll be back in the kitchen today cooking up a sampler platter of the best from a sprawling menu of American Roots music. 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. *

 

Featured in this Episode:

Tanya Gallagher“3002 Miles” (explicit lyrics)Virgina
Kate Lush“Good Good Love”Let It Fly
The Suitcase Junket“Swamp Chicken”Pile Driver
Bumper Jacksons“Corina Corina”I’ve Never Met a Stranger
Faint Peter“Texas” Redoubt
Birds of Chicago“Etoile d’Amour (Stardust)”American Flowers

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The Cornbread Cafe #7: Charlie Parr and a few others we’ve been keepin’ warm for ya’.


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!

Charlie Parr; photo by Nate Ryan.
Charlie Parr; photo by Nate Ryan.

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

Charlie Parr

Events

Charlie Parr; photo by Nate Ryan.
Charlie Parr; photo by Nate Ryan.

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

Events

Avery LeVine; submitted photo.
Avery LeVine; submitted photo.

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.

 

 

 

 

Ray Wilson

Events

Ray Wilson; submitted photo.
Ray Wilson; submitted photo.

“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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crystyna Marie

Events

Crystyna Marie; photo courtesy http://www.chrystynamarie.com/
Chrystyna Marie; photo courtesy http://www.chrystynamarie.com/

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

Events

Rust Dust; submitted photo..
Rust Dust; submitted photo.

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.”

 

Comanchero

Events

We will play tunes by Comanchero until you fully internalize their greatness. And then we'll keep playing them.
We will play tunes by Comanchero until you fully internalize their greatness. And then we’ll keep playing them.

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

Events

Kurt Fortmeyer; photo courtesy http://www.kurtfortmeyer.com/
Kurt Fortmeyer; photo courtesy http://www.kurtfortmeyer.com/

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.

Humbird / Eliza Edens House Show at Caretaker Farm

 

Thanks to Sam & Elizabeth Smith for graciously hosting a show right inside their cozy red farmhouse! Music starts at 7. Light snacks and refreshments will be served. Parking is limited — carpooling encouraged! The concert is FREE but donations are encouraged 🙂

Questions? Call Elizabeth: 413-884-5748

About Humbird (MPLS):

After traversing 5 continents and 20 countries with only a guitar and a backpack, Humbird returns home to sing songs from the edge of the world. Combining a wintry longing with the warmth of a familiar folktale, Humbird stretches traditional genres of folk and Americana to embrace the unexpected. This music invites a refreshing dissonance into the house, it leaves breadcrumbs along the path and reflects light back at the stars.

Creating music out of a mosaic of influences like Joni Mitchell, Bon Iver and Bill Frisell, Humbird weaves it all together with powerful lyrics and a stubborn pursuit of the sound of the North. The release of Humbird’s double EP “Elsewhere” and “Where Else” in Summer 2017 is just the beginning.

Find Humbird’s music here.

About Eliza Edens

A Williamstown native born to a gardener & a journalist who would blast The Beatles, Canned Heat, & Peter, Paul and Mary during car rides to-and-from their rural Massachusetts home, it’s fitting that Eliza Edens is a musician who takes an observational approach to the natural world around her. Combining the adventurous fingerpicking of The Tallest Man on Earth, the calm resolve of Laura Marling, and the aching pulse of Bon Iver, Eliza writes tightly wound songs with wistful lyrics and winding melodies that belong somewhere between your tumbledown front porch stoop and a hazy bar in the big city – and leave a little extra space to linger. She is a grantee of Club Passim’s 2017 Iguana Music Fund and is currently crafting a debut record.

Find Eliza’s EP here.

The Cornbread Cafe #6: INTERVIEW with Janie Barnett, too many new tracks to list!

Janie Barnett discusses her gracefully drifting release, You See this River.

Janie Barnett; submitted photo.
Janie Barnett; submitted photo.

 

Welcome! brothers and sisters to Episode #6—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.

 

Click the play button on this audio player to hear the complete interview with Janie Barnett.

 

This is episode six of the Cornbread Cafe, and do I have a special treat treat for you this time around. Actually I have a whole hour of special treats, as always, but one of them is especially rare and wonderful. We have with us Janie Barnett, who if she were the last Americana musician to be minted in this world, would be give us a perfect last lingering chord in the genre.

Artists Featured in this Episode:

Janie Barnett, “You See This River,” You See this River
Janie Barnett, “Better Times Are Coming,” You See this River
Molly Pinto Madigan, “Seven Tears,” The Cup Overflows
Bees Deluxe, “Industrial (espionage),single
Gus McKay, “Married a Snake,Salt Flat Mojo Blues
Heather Maloney, “Let Me Stay,” by Just Enough Sun
Almond & Olive, “We Will,” Standing at the Precipice
Birds of Chicago, “American Flowers,” American Flowers
Janie Barnett, “Sweet Thursday,”  You See this River

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.

 

On her just released album, You See This River, Janie crafts stories dug out your family’s cedar trunks up in the attic, memories traced in carbon copy from old letters in the shoebox in the back of the closet. Her ballads are painted in emotions as fresh as eternally wet paint. Her creations are woven from Words that seem like she could have teased them out of my own brain if I were an immeasurably more talented poet.

Some are Songs of stubbornly optimistic, inevitable love filtered through a self-knowledge even the most enlightened gurus would envy.

Some Songs echo the lives people who are really living their lives on the back stoops, in the kitchens, in bedrooms together in vulnerable companionship or the complex internal lives we’re living alone in our hearts and minds as we travel through our labors or little luxuries.

Penetrating and heartbreaking. Wise and reckless. True. Imagined. True anyway.

Janie Barnett thanks for being on the show!

(audio clip of our interview with Janie Barnett)

Upcoming Event

Janie Barnett, opening for Paula Cole
Saturday December 16, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.
The Center for Arts in Natick
info & tickets

Molly Pinto Madigan's 2017 release, The Cup Overflows, builds on her impressive songwriting and vocal skills with a heightened level of self-assurance that suits her musical direction.
Molly Pinto Madigan’s 2017 release, The Cup Overflows, builds on her impressive songwriting and vocal skills with a heightened level of self-assurance that suits her musical direction.

I think it’s about time that we all get a taste of the work that I know Janie can do, does do, and has done with Blue Room on this recent release “You See This River.” Before we do, though, I need to pause and explain that I had no idea just how engaging our conversation was going to be. I will confess right here and now that I was prepared to record for 20 minutes, keep the best 10, and share them with you. When I looked up at the clock and saw that a full 30 minutes had gone by, and realized that she had so many more stories and nuggets of wisdom to share, I made the decision to keep rolling tape and figure it out later.

And I think I’ve got it figured out, now. I’ve edited the entire conversation, keeping almost every syllable, and have made the entire talk available as bonus audio here in the show notes. Just look for the audio player below the first paragraph. You’ll want to hear everything Janie has to say. And to create the most powerful, most tempting incentive, I’m going to sprinkle jewels from our talk throughout the rest of the show. That way, you still get almost as much music as usual, AND you get an exclusive interview with one of Americana’s leading ladies.

Bees Deluxe Front: Conrad Warren, Allyn “Aldo” Dorr Back: Patrick Sanders, Carol Band photo courtesy Carol Band via Patch
Bees Deluxe
Front: Conrad Warren, Allyn “Aldo” Dorr
Back: Patrick Sanders, Carol Band
photo courtesy Carol Band via Patch

So let’s have two right now from Janie—One, a searching, buoyant rendition of Steven Foster’s “Better Times Are Coming” from 1862, but first the title track off this tuneful treasure trove, You See This River.

And THAT last number was “Seven Tears” off our old friend Molly Pinto Madigan’s very recent release The Cup Overflows. Before that, we heard Better Times Are Coming and the title track from You See This River, from the very phenomenal Janie Barnett and Blue Room. You can find purchase options for their most recent as well as prior releases in the “Artists Featured in this Episode” section, above.

After hearing Janie Barnett, you’re likely to ask yourself, “This is great, but how and where can I experience the magic live?” You’re in luck, because she has a couple shows coming up in the next couple of months, including a one-of-a-kind performance December 16 opening up for Paula Cole at the Center for Arts in Natick, Mass. If you’re anywhere in the Boston Metro neighborhood, you won’t want to miss what is sure to be a powerful evening of tunes.

Gus McKay; photo courtesy Gus McKay
Gus McKay; photo courtesy Gus McKay

Next course coming out of the kitchen is a sub-genre we have not explored much yet on the Cornbread Cafe—and that’s Acid Blues. Oh it’s true blue, but just a little bit gacked out. We’ll have a double shot that starts with a band I’ve been following since my days at the helm of the Mongrel’s Howl podcast, back in 2005. In fact, that’s why I was so grateful and honored that they responded to my note asking if they wanted to be part of this new show. Ever-gracious, they obliged, and YOU dear listener, reap the benefits of my association, I promise you that.

Also in this block, we’ll hear a deeper cut “Married a Snake,” off Gus McKay’s recent release, Salt Flat Mojo Blues. I don’t know if Gus would categorize his music as acid blues, but I’ll let you be the judge of whether it belongs in the same drawer as Bees Deluxe’s newest single, “Industrial (espionage)” right here on the Cornbread Cafe.

(audio clip of our interview with Janie Barnett)

Heather Maloney; photo courtesy heathermaloney.com
Heather Maloney; photo courtesy heathermaloney.com

That’s Janie Barnett talking about the need to wrangle, and ultimately reconcile time and creativity as responsibilities of family and paying gigs eat away at the leisurely time once spent waiting for the muse to show up with inspiration. In our extended conversation, Janie shares some deeply personal perspectives on subjects like family. I really encourage you to to listen to what was, for me, one of my most absorbing interviews ever. In fact, let’s have a listen to one of my favorite gems from our talk before we hear brandy new just released tracks from Heather Maloney, Almond & Olive, and Birds of Chicago.

We just heard the title track from the just released EP American Flowers, by Birds of Chicago, available through Signature Sounds. On a different podcast, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of sharing a long conversation with JT Nero who, along with Allison Russell, makes up the principle force of the group that’s been described as “secular gospel.” That identifier certainly seems to fit, doesn’t it? The affect some of their songs have on me definitely goes beyond simply my heart and mind.

Almond & Olive; submitted photo.
Almond & Olive; submitted photo.

Before that, we heard “We Will” off the new release from Almond & Olive. This duo, sometimes known simply as A&O, is comprised of singer-songwriters Natalie Alms and Ollie Davidson. The also call Chicago home, so if you think detect some shared musical DNA, you’re probably not wrong. The track comes from “Standing at the Precipice,” an album that came about less than two years after the two met in 2015.

And we started the set with another artist on the Signature Sounds label, Heather Maloney, who brought us “Let Me Stay,” from her latest effort, Just Enough Sun, which also features the instrumentation of Ryan Hommel.

You’ll be hearing plenty more cuts off each of these albums in the near future, probably just as soon as my heart recovers from the extreme emotional workout that triple of tunes put it through.

Birds of Chicago; submitted photo.
Birds of Chicago; submitted photo.

Before them, Janie Barnett gave us a deep look into the emotional dimensions of her own creative source material, and how motherhood instilled a sense of forgiveness in the artistic space she inhabits these days.

Let’s hear from Janie again as we work our way through dessert and coffee. She talks about the process of creating her new album, You See This River, one of the most consistent and structurally sound I’ve heard. She suggested we close out the show with a song she described as one of her more light-hearted compositions, “Sweet Thursday.” I think you’ll agree that it’s just the balm you need some days, these days.

(audio clip of our interview with Janie Barnett)

 

Janie Barnett; photo courtesy janiebarnett.com.
Janie Barnett; photo courtesy janiebarnett.com.

 

Well, that’s our show for the week. I know you won’t want to miss next weeks episode of the Cornbread Cafe, so I’d encourage you to subscribe through iTunes or Google Play Music—you’ll find the subscribe buttons on just about any page of our site. And when you subscribe, I’d be grateful if you left us a review—it really helps people discover us.

I’ve been your host, Jay Vee, aka the mongrel, and I thank you for listening. We’ll tuck into more heaping helpings of American Roots music next week. Take care.

The Cornbread Cafe #5: Western Centuries, Dom Flemons, Oh Susanna, & MORE

Welcome! brothers and sisters to Episode #5—of the Cornbread Cafe.

The Honey Whiskey Trio released Rye Woman in 2017; submitted photo.
The Honey Whiskey Trio released Rye Woman in 2017; submitted photo.

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 want to be your new fave hang for the best in a sprawling menu of American Roots music.

In this Episode:

1.  “Double or Nothing,” Western Centuries, Weight of the World
2.  “Brick Wall,” Maggie Baugh, Catch Me
3.  “Balaclava,” Eliza Edens, Lowlight
4. “Voice from on High,” Anna & Elizabeth, Anna & Elizabeth
5.  “All I Have To Do Is Dream,” Honey Whiskey Trio, Stories of Love, Death and Spirits
6.  “Jackie,” The Suitcase Junket, Pile Driver
7.  “Gimme a Pigfoot (and a Bottle of Beer),” Bumper Jacksons, I’ve Never Met a Stranger
8.  “Hot Chicken,” Dom Flemons, Prospect Hill
9.  “The Real Me,” Christian Coleman and The Blue Zen Band, The Singles
10. “Wolfsbane Wine,” Molly Pinto Madigan, The Cup Overflows
11. “I Wonder Where You Are Tonight,” Tony Trischka Territory, Great Big World
12. “Lucky” Comanchero, Thrown
13. “Dying Light,” Oh Susanna, Namedropper

Musician bio info frequently 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.

Western Centuries

“Double or Nothing” Weight of the World

Western Centuries debut release, Weight of the World.
Western Centuries debut release, Weight of the World.

 

The worn floor of an old honky­tonk is not usually a place you’d think of as welcoming to bold new experimentation. If you’ve got something new to say, you’d better say it in the form of a brisk two­step that keeps the dancers moving. So it’s doubly impressive that Seattle country band Western Centuries is able to meld wildly disparate influences into an original honky­tonk sound that won’t make dancers miss a step. Formed originally under the name Country Hammer by Americana songwriter Cahalen Morrison, known for his innovative work as an acoustic duo with Eli West, Western Centuries revolves around three principal songwriters–Morrison, Ethan Lawton, and Jim Miller–each with a totally different perspective. Here, Cahalen Morrison channels his New Mexico roots–he grew up exploring lost arroyos and playing drums in a conjunto band–into a kind of blood­red Western drawl. His songs are as influenced by cowboy poetry or his great­grandfather’s Scottish Gaelic poetry as much as his love of George Jones. Ethan Lawton came out of the rough, working­class streets of Seattle’s South end, working in hip­hop and punk before losing his heart to bluegrass. His bone­dry vocals meld intensely with the rocksteady back­beat of his country songs, born from his love of old Jamaican 45s mixed with early bluegrass. Jim Miller comes from the jamband circuit, where he ruled for decades as a founding member of the much­loved band Donna The Buffalo. Throughout, the dancefloor was his temple, and he cribbed ideas from Louisiana Zydeco all the way to the The Band. Western Centuries’ debut album, Weight of the World, released by Free Dirt Records on June 3, 2016, introduces a band of roots music mavericks bringing refreshingly new ideas to their country roots.

 

Maggie Baugh

“Brick Wall,” Catch Me

 

Multi-instrumentalist, and singer/songwriter, Maggie Baugh is a young, South Florida based county music sensation! At 17 years old, she has a publishing deal, she is a Nashville Recording artist, singer/songwriter, guitar player and dynamic fiddle player. Maggie Baugh has played fiddle onstage with Neal McCoy and Charlie Daniels Band. (Yes, she is the one that played Devil Went Down to Georgia with Charlie Daniels – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylWjExfL5ew).

Playing guitar and singing, Maggie Baugh has opened in South Florida for Ashley Monroe (of Pistol Annie’s), Craig Morgan, Neal McCoy, Cole Swindell, Phil Vassar, Taylor Hicks, Chase Bryant, Drake White, Josh Dorr, Radio Romance, Drew Baldridge, Montgomery Gentry, John Anderson, Cowboy Troy and Old Southern Moonshine Revival.

 

Eliza Edens
“Balaclava” Low Light

Low Light, Eliza Edens' debut EP, dropped to critical acclaim in 2017.
Low Light, Eliza Edens’ debut EP, dropped to critical acclaim in 2017.

 

A native of Western Massachusetts, Eliza has been singing her whole life. Raised on the Beatles and inspired by older folkies Eva Cassidy and Karen Dalton, along with today’s alt-R&B acts Lianne La Havas and James Blake, Eliza ties together disparate influences into her vocal style. With sparse electric guitar textures, wistful melodies, and observational songwriting, her music both enlivens and partakes in the ennui of modern life, belonging somewhere between your tumbledown front porch stoop and a hazy bar in Brooklyn.

 

 

Anna & Elizabeth
“Voice from on High” Anna & Elizabeth

Anna & Elizabeth gathered and interpreted 16 traditional songs for their 2015 eponymous release.
Anna & Elizabeth gathered and interpreted 16 traditional songs for their 2015 eponymous release.

 

Anna & Elizabeth has appeared on stages across the world, including the Cambridge Folk Festival, Brighton Festival, Newport Folk Festival, National Sawdust, Atlanta Museum of Modern Art, Old Town School of Folk Music, Brooklyn Folk Fest; intimate theaters across the U.S., U.K. & Europe; and fellowships to develop their work at the MacDowell Colony, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and Centrum. They have released two acclaimed full-length albums–Sun to Sun (2012) and Anna & Elizabeth (2015).

 

In winter 2018, Anna & Elizabeth will release their third full-length album; a continuing progression of their evolving sound. It is co-produced by Anna and Benjamin Lazar Davis (avant-pop outfit Cuddle Magic) and features Jim White of The Dirty Three on drums, and lauded experimental pedal steel player Susan Alcorn (Mary Halvorsen Octet).

 

Honey Whiskey Trio

“All I Have to Do Is Dream ,” Stories of Love, Death and Spirits

Stories of Love, Death and Spirits
Stories of Love, Death and Spirits

 

The Honey Whiskey Trio explores harmony in folk, bluegrass and any melody that catches the ear. Through their powerful, yet sweet harmonies, body percussion, haunting melodies and vitality on stage, Honey Whiskey Trio captivates and moves audiences. These storytellers in song found their roots in vocal jazz, all singing in Pacific Standard Time, CSU Long Beach’s award winning vocal jazz ensemble, though at different times. This foundation in jazz gives Honey Whiskey Trio an inherent flexibility to their sound, allowing them to change and adjust their tone to best fit the mood of each song.

 

In 2013, after singing together for only 5 months, Honey Whiskey Trio won the Harmony Sweepstakes National Competition, also winning Audience Favorite at both the Regional and National sweepstakes. They have gone on to headline the Los Angeles A Cappella Festival, the Women’s A Cappella Association‘s SheSings Festival, the South Eastern Minnesota A Cappella Festival, and have been featured artists at the FAR-West Folk Festival, the Rogue Valley Roots Festival, the Long Beach Folk Revival Festival,and the Shedd Institute for the Arts. Called “One of the most talented vocal harmony groups performing today” by John Neal, Harmony Sweepstakes executive producer and ”One of the very best arrivals this year on my stage. Solid in every way and fully entertaining” by Bob Stane, of The Coffee Gallery Backstage, Honey Whiskey Trio is a group you don’t want to miss experiencing live.

 

The Suitcase Junket

“Jackie,” Pile Driver

Matt Lorenz sits alone on a suitcase in the center of a complex construction of upcycled cookpots, saw blades and broken chairs. Artist, tinkerer, tunesmith, swamp yankee. A one-man salvage specialist singing into the hollow of a Dumpster guitar, slipping a broken bottleneck onto the slide finger, railing on a box of twisted forks and bones, rocking till every sound is ragged at its edges, till the house is singing back. Then, unplugging all the amps and letting one mountain ballad soar over the raw strings on that guitar. Every night is a hard-driving, blues-grinding, throat-singing search-and-rescue junket. Sooner or later everything rusts, busts, and gets tossed into the junk heap: iron, bones, leather, hot rods, muskrats, the night, theheart. The goal is to recover it. To waste nothing. To create new ways from old. This is The Suitcase Junket.

Matt Lorenz was raised in Cavendish, Vermont, the son of teachers. He learned to sing by copying his sister Kate. (The siblings are two-thirds of the touring trio Rusty Belle.) Lorenz graduated from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, in 2004, having taught himself to throat-sing thanks to a South Indian cooking class. On moving day, he pulled his guitar, filled with mold and worse for wear, from a dorm Dumpster. He fixed it up and started pulling songs out of it. That was the beginning.

 

 

Bumper Jacksons

“Gimme a Pigfoot (and a Bottle of Beer)” I’ve Never Met a Stranger

The Bumper Jacksons; photos by Michael O. Snyder.
The Bumper Jacksons; photos by Michael O. Snyder.

 

The Bumper Jacksons are hot and sweet, painting America’s story from the streets of New Orleans to Appalachian hollers. Unafraid to scrap together new sounds from forgotten 78’s, the Bumper Jacksons boldly and elegantly balance paying homage to the traditions while fashioning their own unique, DIY style. Honored as the region’s 2015 “Artist of the Year” and “Best Folk Band” from 2013-2015 at the Washington Area Music Awards, the Bumper Jacksons are playfully creative with their originals and re-imagining roots music with both power and tenderness. Bursting at the seams with some of the richest threads of old America, Bumper Jacksons bring you into the center of a party where everyone’s invited and the dance floor never sleeps.

 

Dom Flemons

“Hot Chicken,” Dom Flemons, Prospect Hill

2014's Prospect Hill, Dom Flemons' first release after leaving the Carolina Chocolate Drops, is an intense whirlwind of a tour through eclectic folk styles and textures.
2014’s Prospect Hill, Dom Flemons’ first release after leaving the Carolina Chocolate Drops, is an intense whirlwind of a tour through eclectic folk styles and textures.

 

A Phoenix Native, Flemons’ involvement with music began by playing percussion in his high school band. After picking up the guitar and harmonica, he began to play coffee houses and became a regular on the Arizona folk music scene. During that period Flemons wrote his own songs and produced 25 albums of singer-songwriters and slam poets, including six albums of his own. A multi-instrumentalist, Flemons plays banjo, guitar, harmonica, fife, bones, bass drum, snare drum, and quills, in addition to singing. His banjo repertoire includes not only clawhammer but also tenor and three-finger styles of playing. As a founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, he was able to explore his interest in bringing traditional music to new audiences.

 

 

Christian Coleman and The Blue Zen Band

“The Real Me,” The Singles

Mama Died and Left Me
Papa Died and Left Me
Raised by Wolves on The Mean Streets

Christian Coleman is a 25 year veteran of the Wasatch Front Music Scene. Described as “Bob Dylan meets Muddy Waters”, his solo repertoire consists of Decades of Original Material combined with Classic Blues material from the 1940’s to the present, and Americana Classics that define the Contemporary American Songbook. A One-Man juggling act of Vocals, Guitar, and Harmonica, Christian always brings a signature passion and trademark intensity to every performance!!!

 

Molly Pinto Madigan

“Wolfsbane Wine” The Cup Overflows

Molly Pinto Madigan's 2017 release, The Cup Overflows, builds on her impressive songwriting and vocal skills with a heightened level of self-assurance that suits her musical direction.
Molly Pinto Madigan’s 2017 release, The Cup Overflows, builds on her impressive songwriting and vocal skills with a heightened level of self-assurance that suits her musical direction.

 

Molly Pinto Madigan, the silver-throated leading lady of the erstwhile folk/roots combo, has released a new CD, “The Cup Overflows.” Molly invited me to share a track from this collection with you, and I had a tough time deciding between them all.

 (from her bio)

“Hailed for her angelic voice and haunting compositions, Molly Pinto Madigan won first place in WUMB’s Boston Folk Festival Songwriting Contest and was named “Artist of the Year” at Salem State University, her alma mater. Since her debut as the lead singer for the teen bluegrass band Jaded Mandolin, Madigan has submerged herself in the dark, luscious world of ballads, drawn to their magic, and her original songs echo with the whisperings of the American and European traditional music.”

 

Tony Trischka Territory

“I Wonder Where You Are Tonight” Great Big World

Tony Trischka and Territory will perform songs from "Great Big World" and more at the Hancock Shaker Village 08/19. Click the image to buy the album via our Amazon affiliate link.
Tony Trischka and Territory will perform songs from Great Big World and more at the Hancock Shaker Village 08/19. Click the image to buy the album via our Amazon affiliate link.

 

Trischka, 2012 United States Artists Friends Fellow, is considered to be the consummate banjo artist and perhaps the most influential banjo player in the roots music world. For more than 45 years, his stylings have inspired a whole generation of bluegrass and acoustic musicians with the many voices he has brought to the instrument.

A native of Syracuse, New York, Trischka’s interest in banjo was sparked by the Kingston Trio’s “Charlie and the MTA” in 1963. Two years later, he joined the Down City Ramblers, where he remained through 1971. That year, Trischka made his recording debut on 15 Bluegrass Instrumentals with the band Country Cooking; at the same time, he was also a member of America’s premier sports-rock band Country Granola. In 1973, he began a three-year stint with Breakfast Special. Between 1974 and 1975, he recorded two solo albums, Bluegrass Light and Heartlands. After one more solo album in 1976, Banjoland, he went on to become musical leader for the Broadway show The Robber Bridegroom. Trischka toured with the show in 1978, the year he also played with the Monroe Doctrine.

 

Comanchero

“Lucky,” Thrown

 

 

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.

Highlights:
– Boston’s Americana Jam Band since 2003
– Four studio albums
– Songs licensed by PBS (Road Trip Nation) and ABC (20/20 with Diane Sawyer)
– Direct support for artists such as: ZZ Top, Crosby, Stills & Nash, The Yardbirds, & Passion Pit
– Winner of Relix Magazine’s “Jam Off” competition & featured in magazine and monthly CD
– Nominated by Red Line Roots for Favorite Local Rock and Rollers
– Over 500 performances including international (Ireland, UK tour)

 

 

Oh Susanna

“Dying Light,” Name Dropper

"Name Dropper," by Oh Susanna; 2015
“Name Dropper,” by Oh Susanna; 2015

 

Suzie Ungerleider began performing as Oh Susanna in the mid-1990s, crafting a persona that matched the timeless qualities of her music, sounds that drew from the deep well of early 20th Century folk, country and blues, yet rooted in her finely-honed storytelling skills. This Canadian songstress has a voice that can pierce a heart of stone. Her superbly crafted songs often tell stories of troubled souls who rebel against their circumstances to attain a quiet dignity. These are tales of longing and love, of small town joys and pains, of our simple feelings and strong passions. These are tales that look into our beautifully flawed human hearts.

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