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Molly Pinto Madigan

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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The Cornbread Cafe #2 — Keeton Coffman, Alicia Beale, Whiskey Treaty Roadshow, much more


Welcome! brothers and sisters to Episode #2—of the Cornbread Cafe. We’ve got Keeton Coffman, Alicia Beale, The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow, and SO much more!

Keeton Coffman discusses Life, The Universe, and Everything (especially music) in our extended interview below. We hear "Killer Eyes" and "What We're Reaching For" from his 2016 release, Killer Eyes; photo courtesy Keeton Coffman
Keeton Coffman discusses Life, The Universe, and Everything (especially music) in our extended interview below. We hear “Killer Eyes” and “What We’re Reaching For” from his 2016 release, Killer Eyes; photo courtesy Keeton Coffman

 

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 are the Internet’s new hang-out for the best in a sprawling menu of American Roots music.

 

On this Episode:

“Killer Eyes,” Keeton Coffman, Killer Eyes
“What We’re Reaching For,” Keeton Coffman, Killer Eyes
“Beautiful,” Alicia Beale, Ignite
“Take That Bath,” Francesca Brown, Collide
“Whiskey In My Tea Master,” Signs Point East
“Nothin But My Whiskey,” Honey Whiskey Trio
“Big Ol Bottle of Wine,” Whiskey Treaty Roadshow, The Heart of the Run
“Bad Man Road,” The Walker Avenue Gang, Bill Tilghman and the Outlaws
“Homewrecker,” Sam Sliva, The Drained
“What You Took,” Faint Peter, Redoubt
“Swansong,” Molly Pinto Madigan, Wildwood Bride
“Goodnight,” Oh Susanna, Namedropper

 

Alicia Beale, with "Beautiful" from <em>IGNITE</em>; image courtesy Alicia Beale
Alicia Beale, with “Beautiful” from IGNITE; image courtesy Alicia Beale

I want to start off this show with a HUGE thank you to the listeners who shared links to our launch episode on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere. Without even being in iTunes, without even any marketing to speak of, Episode #1 racked up over 600 downloads almost right out of the gate, which is wicked good for a show that’s not produced by, you know, like WNYC or RADIOTOPIA or somebody. So, the management and staff of the Cornbread Cafe would like to acknowledge that we owe it all to YOU, you crazy roots-music lovin’ fools, you!

 

Francesca Brown with "Take that Bath," from Collide; photo courtesy Francesca Brown
Francesca Brown with “Take that Bath,” from Collide; photo courtesy Francesca Brown

 

 

Well, I’d never say that we’re trying to “top” a previous episode, but we did set a pretty high bar with that first show, so I’ve definitely been feeling the pressure. Choosing today’s music, and obsessively arranging each song in exactly the right order was kind of like making the first mix-tape for my sophomore year girlfriend in high school. It had to be juuuuuust perfect to demonstrate my undying adolescent love. And I’m not sure we want to go too deep into the analogy, but my promise to you is that I’ll use the same neurotic perfectionism in every single episode until you are convinced of my devotion to you and your musical edification. When I get a phone call from your parents telling me to stop leaving sticky notes with links to the show on your car windshild, then I’ll know I’ve hit the sweet spot.

 

Signs Point East, with "Back to the Start," off their EP Back to the Start; photo courtesy Signs Point East
Signs Point East, with “Back to the Start,” off their EP Back to the Start; photo courtesy Signs Point East

And what do we have for you today? We have another set of twelve exceptional tunes ranging from old-school Bluegrass to the very edge of the DMZ between Country and  Rock ’n’ Roll. And, to make it a baker’s dozen, we also have an interview with Houston-based Keeton Coffman. In Episode #1, we heard his recent hit “The Mountain” off his 2016 album Killer Eyes. The song resonated with a lot of you, and my guess is that it straddled the line between Alt-Country and Rock so comfortably, that you just couldn’t help but get hooked on it. Well, let’s have another round of that top-shelf tunage with the title track off Killer Eyes.

Extended Interview with Keeton Coffman

 

The Honey Whiskey Trio with “Nothin But My Whiskey,” which may or may not be included on their debut release later this year—only time will tell!
The Honey Whiskey Trio with “Nothin But My Whiskey,” which may or may not be included on their debut release later this year—only time will tell!

That was Keeton Coffman, with “Killer Eyes.” When Keeton accepted our invitation to come on the show and talk about that album and the just-released video for “What We’re Reaching For,” I knew exactly what I wanted to ask about. I wanted to know what drives the upbeat optimism that fuels his extremely danceable anthems. You can hear the full interview by clicking the player in the shownotes at cornbread.cafe, but here’s a preview of that conversation right now in the Cornbread Cafe.

 

I didn’t mean to start off this show with two Texans, but after getting into such a good mood with Keeton’s music, I was reminded of a song by our friend Alicia Beale, a Texas girl who now makes her home in Nashville. Alicia’s latest release, IGNITE, did exactly that to the Indie music scene last year. She was our guest on another show back in October, so you can imagine how excited we were for her when she took home the prize for Best Pop Single at the Independent Music Awards in November with “New Fling,” featuring Kristo Rewlz. Many of the tracks off IGNITE are perfect examples of the blurring of musical lines that this Cornbread Cafe was built to celebrate. Flavors of Country accent this deep track, “Beautiful,” off that breakout release by Alicia Beale.

Facetime Interview with Alicia Beale

The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow, with “Big Ol Bottle of Wine," off their live 2016 Heart of the Run release; photo courtesy The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow
The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow, with “Big Ol Bottle of Wine,” off their live 2016 Heart of the Run release; photo courtesy The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow

Well, I think I’ve heard myself talk about as much as I can stand for a little while, so why don’t we get some musical momentum started here, right? And, I should warn you, we’re going to go on a little bit of a bender at this point. I’ve been looking for an excuse to fire up the Dodge and make a whiskey run for a while now. Are you game? Joining us are some new friends Signs Point East with “Whiskey In My Tea,” followed by the soon to be everywhere Honey Whiskey Trio with “Nothin But My Whiskey.” And cashing out our tab are our good buds the Whiskey Treaty Roadshow, and a live “Big Ol Bottle of Wine,” First though, Francesca Brown is going to intoxicate us with some poison of her own with my favorite track from her latest release, Collide, “Take that Bath”

The Walker Avenue Gang perform “Bad Man Road,” on the soundtrack of the film Bill Tilghman and the Outlaws, slated for a 2017 release; image courtesy The Walker Avenue Gang
The Walker Avenue Gang perform “Bad Man Road,” on the soundtrack of the film Bill Tilghman and the Outlaws, slated for a 2017 release; image courtesy The Walker Avenue Gang

 

You want to know how popular Roots music is getting? I’ll tell ya’. The largest contemporary art museum in the country, MASS MoCA in North Adams, Mass., is home to the Fresh Grass festival, now in its sixth season. The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow are actually playing a show there on St. Patrick’s Day. What kind of a wild time does THAT sound like, eh? Of course I want you to get to know all the artists on this show better—that’s why I put links every seventh word or so. But I want to make a special suggestion that you visit the Honey Whiskey Trio’s website and check out their videos section. Their harmonies on songs like “The Lone Wild Bird” are so defined and so clear as to be dizzying. They tell me that an album is due out this Spring, and when it shoots to the top of the charts, just remember you got your first taste of that sweet Honey Whiskey right here on the Cornbread Cafe.

 

Sam Silva, with "Homewrecker" from The Drained; photo courtesy Sam Silva.
Sam Sliva, with “Homewrecker” from The Drained; photo courtesy Sam Silva.

Sadly, there’s usually a good amount of air between sweet liquor and sound judgement, you notice that? And I reckon it’s a good time to throw a couple of cautionary tales into the mix to sober us all back up a bit. From the soundtrack to the movie Bill Tilghman and the Outlaws, scheduled to be released this year, we’ll hear “Bad Man Road,” by the The Walker Avenue Gang, followed by Sam Sliva with “Homewrecker,” here on the Cornbread Cafe. Buzzkill, I know, right?

Molly Pinto Madigan; artwork for Wildwood Bride, photo by Joey Phoenix Photography
Molly Pinto Madigan; artwork for Wildwood Bride, photo by Joey Phoenix Photography

Well, I think we have time for a little bit Roots music news don’t we? Not much, but some. First of all, this weekend kicks off the  South By Southwest festival, which has gotten so big that Vice President Joe Biden is a speaker and the festival has its own app for navigating time and space while you’re gliding through the marvels assembled in Austen, Tejas.

 

But SXSW ain’t the only game in town—not by a stretch. Rounding out the rest of March is:

South By Southwest (SXSW) • Austin, TX • Mar 10 – Mar 19
Suwanee Spring Reunion • Live Oak, FL • Mar 23 – Mar 26
Savannah Music Festival • Savannah, GA • Mar 23 – Apr 8
Paluxy River Bluegrass Festival • Glen Rose TX • Mar 30 – Apr 1
Big Ears Festival • Knoxville TN • Mar 23 – Mar 26

 

Joseph De Natale, performing as Faint Peter; photo courtesy Faint Peter
Joseph De Natale, performing as Faint Peter; photo courtesy Faint Peter

And, of course, you can find the link to more info on AmericanaFest 2017 WHERE? Yes, in the shownotes. You’re catching on.

We’re going to serve up a triplet of singer/songwriters who represent some of the best in poetic wordsmithing you could hope to hear on this or any show. First up is Faint Peter with “What You Took,” from the 2016 release Redoubt. Faint Peter is the Boston-born, Seattle-based Joseph De Natale, who, with this album of piercing storytelling, proves he might just be THE standard-bearer for new American folk.

Next, Molly Pinto Madigan mesmerizes us with Swan Song off her 2016 release, Wildwood Bride, which enraptured critics with brilliant lyrics sung with otherworldly elegance.

Suzie Ungerleider of Oh Susanna; photo by Heather Pollock
Suzie Ungerleider of Oh Susanna; photo by Heather Pollock

And closing out the episode will be beautiful, graceful, melancholy “Goodnight,” from Oh Susanna, off Namedropper. We’ve had the good fortune to speak with Suzie Ungerleider, who was born in Northhampton, Mass., and crafts her gorgeous melodies in Toronto, Canada.

I hope you enjoy the dessert course, starting right now with “What You Took.”

I think it’s best if I let Oh Susanna have the last word. Join us next time right here in the Cornbread Cafe.

This show was engineered and hosted by me, the mongrel, and I’m looking forward to serving up more great Roots to you and your kin next week. No reservations needed. Just bring your appetite for great music.

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INDIEcent Exposure #2 — Molly Pinto Madigan, “Wildwood Bride”

Molly Pinto Madigan; artwork for Wildwood Bride, photo by Joey Phoenix Photography
Molly Pinto Madigan; artwork for Wildwood Bride, photo by Joey Phoenix Photography

Molly Pinto Madigan relates her long (and, in our view, fated) journey from performance, to classical study, to music ethnoelectrogrammaticographacology, back to performance.

We’re glad she made it.

Molly Pinto Madigan; artwork for Wildwood Bride, photo by Joey Phoenix Photography
Molly Pinto Madigan; artwork for Wildwood Bride, photo by Joey Phoenix Photography

With a voice stolen from the Fae Folk, Molly Pinto Madigan has been enchanting audiences since she was a young teen. Her 2015 release, “Wildwood Bride,” does not disappoint; filled with longing and clarity, this ambitious effort confidently treads the divide between delicate and driven.

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Will Call #4 — “Inkless” Live Storytelling

Wenzl McGowen, James Muschler and Mike Wilbur of Moon Hooch; photo by Shervin Laine
Wenzl McGowen, Mike Wilbur, and James Muschler of Moon Hooch; photo by Shervin Laine

PLUS: Music from Moon Hooch, Munk Duane, and Wishbone Zoe; AND Tuesday Teas return to Williams College.

Wenzl McGowen, James Muschler and Mike Wilbur of Moon Hooch; photo by Shervin Laine
Wenzl McGowen, Mike Wilbur, and James Muschler of Moon Hooch; photo by Shervin Laine

 

This was a tremendously fun show to put together. Great music from local and reasonably local artists, news of live storytelling later this spring, and a chance to hear Williams College faculty authors discuss their latest works all make this an hour you won’t want to miss. Did we mention zombies and calculus? Check it out and leave us a comment below.

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The Top Left Corner, Episode 4 — Family Events, New Music, North Adams Farmers Market

Fresh veggies offered through the CSA of Square Roots Farm; photo courtesy Square Roots Farm
Fresh veggies offered through the CSA of Square Roots Farm; photo courtesy Square Roots Farm

It’s been a super busy week here at the Greylock Glass. Most of what I’ve been doing has been preparing for some really amazing developments that are cooking. Between phone calls and interviews and tweaking the tech side of this circus, I haven’t had time to do much actual writing. Or even passing along all the great information that people have been sending my way.

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Will Call #2 — An Eclipse of Memory; It’s Just a Jump to the Left; Wildwood Bride

Ectopistes migratorius, watercolor by Louis Agassiz Fuertes
Ectopistes_migratoriusAAP042CA-1
Passenger Pigeon, Ectopistes migratorius; watercolor by Louis Agassiz Fuertes; 1910–1914

 

 

For this, our second episode of “Will Call,” we were extremely fortunate to have two special guests, as well as a single from a brand new music CD release.

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