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Ray Wilson

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.

The Cornbread Cafe #3 — Echo Sparks, The Suitcase Junket, CATFOX, Long Journey & more


Welcome! brothers and sisters to Episode #3—of the Cornbread Cafe.

D.A. Valdez, Colleen Kinnick, and Cindy Ballreich are Echo Sparks; submitted photo.
D.A. Valdez, Colleen Kinnick, and Cindy Ballreich are Echo Sparks; submitted photo.

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 fave hang for the best in a sprawling menu of American Roots music.

 

On this Episode:

Echo Sparks, “Ghost Town Girl,” Ghost Town Girl
The Suitcase Junket, “What Was I Gonna Say,” Pile Driver
CATFOX, “Mama Don’t Say Why,” Thank You, I Love You, I’m Sorry
Long Journey, “I First Kissed You,” Fierce Folk
The Hunts, “Lifting The Sea,” Those Younger Days
Melika Miller, “Don’t Give Up Now,” by single
Munk Duane, “Stupid Pride,” Argue with Gravity
Misty Blues, “Next Time is the Last Time,” Dark and Saucy
The Delta Wires, “Goin’ Away,” Anthology
Gus McKay, “Extremely Voodoo,” Salt Flat Mojo Blues
Ray Wilson“Lone River Dance,” Coming Through in Waves
One Left, “Fare Thee Well My True Love,” This Land I Love

I think we need to clear something up before we get to the music today. A musician expressed the concern that their music wasn’t in the same league as the bulk of the artists we’re featuring on the show. I’d like to think that my response was adequately reassuring, but in hindsight, I’m kinda thinking I could have done better. So let me try again to explain what this show is and is not.

 

Matt Lorenz, performing as The Suitcase Junket; photo by Bill Foster.
Matt Lorenz, performing as The Suitcase Junket; photo by Bill Foster.

 

 

The Cornbread Cafe is a place to showcase some of the best in independent American Roots music. We play tunes that are original, authentic, and well-crafted. Period. It doesn’t matter whether those tunes come from an established artist or an emerging one. It doesn’t matter if half the songs on an EP are a little, you know, kinda “ehh.” Kinda could use a little more polish. That’s not the point of this show.

 

Catrin Lloyd-Bollard performs as CATFOX at the Castle Hotel, Aberystwyth, Wales; photo by Craig Kirkwood.
Catrin Lloyd-Bollard performs as CATFOX at the Castle Hotel, Aberystwyth, Wales; photo by Craig Kirkwood.

The point of this show…

And I should pause here to say that I should be so lucky that even half my episodes are winners…

The point of this show is that there’s this huge audience out there that’s fed up with the commercial crap that dominates the airwaves. They’re hungry for music that speaks to them, that says something real. The ingredients of American Roots music are the stuff of real life—good and bad. Not synthetically created in the marketing departments of the corporate tune factories.

 

So I don’t want hear any more excuses like that. You want us to feature your music, send us an e-mail to artists@cornbread.cafe. I’m going to point out though that we can only include about 1/10 of a percent of the music we’d like to on the podcast. But that’s OK, because we’re going to start livestreaming pretty soon, which will give us a chance to play tons more music. So send it our way.

And if you’re up for an interview, let us know that too. You could end up as a headliner like today’s featured artist, Echo Sparks out of Orange County, Calif. We spoke at length with D.A. Valdez, Cindy Ballreich, and Colleen Kinnick about…about everything, actually, which tends to happen on this show. You can listen to the full interview via the small audio player below the band’s name in the shownotes. And to whet your appetite, we’ll play an excerpt of that conversation in just a bit.

Echo Sparks

> Listen to the full-length conversation with them! <

The Hunts; photo courtesy The Hunts, via Facebook.
The Hunts; photo courtesy The Hunts, via Facebook.

You may recall that in Episode #1, we got to enjoy “Torch Song” of their 2016 release, “Ghost Town Girl.” In this episode, I thought we’d go straight to the title track, which captures several of the band’s many talents all in one track.

After that, we have another exciting treat: hailing from the Pioneer Valley in Western Mass, Matt Lorenz, who records and performs as The Suitcase Junket, unleashes his 5th release, Pile Driver, on April 21, at the Shea Theater Arts Center in Turners Falls, Massachusetts.

Melika Miller; photo courtesty Melika Miller
Melika Miller; photo courtesty Melika Miller

Suitcase Junket

For those of you who haven’t heard Suitcase Junket play, some explanation is required. Yes, he’s a one-man show. No, you brain can’t comprehend that when you hear him play. It sounds like a three-piece at least, and if THAT weren’t enough, Matt learned how to do that overtone, throat-singing technique which is the other thing Mongolia is famous for besides yurts and Ghengis Khan.

Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to wait so long to get a taste of what I’m teasing you with? Well…ya don’t. Cuz it just so happens that I’ve got that album right here, and I’m going to treat you to the characteristically smouldering “What Was I Gonna Say.”

 

Munk Duane is also wicked funny; image captured from the 2014 video for "Some Rivers," directed by Michael Carroll.
Munk Duane is also wicked funny; image captured from the 2014 video for “Some Rivers,” directed by Michael Carroll.

CATFOX

We’ll finish off the set with CATFOX and “Mama Don’t Say Why,” from Thank You, I Love You, I’m Sorry. First though, let’s hear a little from our conversation with Echo Sparks.

Did I mention that we, here, at the Cornbread Cafe are Not. Afraid. To be different? We’re not. Which is why when we say we play Folk, we mean we play all kinds of Folk, including psychedelic folk, which is how CATFOX categorizes her sound. I might add “Northern Gothic” as another descriptor. CATFOX is the musical incarnation of live artist Catrin Lloyd-Bollard. A Brooklyn-based actor, writer, & performer, she’s played gigs in some far-flung, and at times rather mysterious venues. We have both the studio and down-home versions of CATFOX’s latest release, Zoömagnesis, so expect to hear more from this talented artist.

 

Misty Blues; photo courtesy Misty Blues
Misty Blues; photo courtesy Misty Blues

And if you were enraptured by the Suitcase Junket’s “What Was I Going to Say,” I have some good news. I was really torn between that song and the absolutely rockin’ “Evangeline,” also off the upcoming release Pile Driver.” I went with the former mainly because I was gonna send you to the Suitcase Junket’s Bandcamp page where you can pre-order the album if you so choose. And Matt has made “Evangeline” available to listen to in its entirety, which might help persuade you to drop a little coin and support this mad genius.

 

The Delta Wires; image courtesy the Delta Wires
The Delta Wires; image courtesy the Delta Wires

Long Journey

Well, we’ve got a whole lot of audio backing up on the conveyor belt, so what do you say we play some more brand new music, eh? Karl Mullen and Amrita Lash make up the mostly acoustic duo Long Journey, which released the 2016  “Fierce Folk” to widespread enthusiasm. Both performers are also visual artists and educators who teach it forward in the hills of the Berkshires. Additionally, Mr. Mullen is a music promoter who knows a seemingly  impossible number of people in the world of Roots music. We’ll be hearing more from him, and if we’re lucky, get him on for a conversation to talk about what he has lined up for 2017.

 

 

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

The Hunts

After that, a song that’s been around a little while, but one that continues to lift my spirits whenever I hear it—“Lifting the Sea,” by The Hunts off their 2015 effort, Those Younger Days. We’ll keep the positive vibe going with Melika Miller’s single “Don’t Give Up Now.”

But right now, here’s “I First Kissed You,” by Long Journey here at the Cornbread Cafe.

Munk Duane

Both of the next two artists I’ve actually had the pleasure of interviewing in the past. Munk Duane is a Boston-based singer/songwriter, composer and one mean mofo on the guitar. Not only is he a legend of the East Coast Indie scene, his generosity to the podcasting community has earned him the admiration and appreciation of podcasters nationally, including yours truly.

 

Misty Blues

Gina Coleman’s performance in the Williamstown Theatre Festival’s production of “A Raisin in the Sun” was praised for its power and heart, which nudged her musical career into the Blues. Forming the fully loaded band, Misty Blues, was just about a given. We’ll hear “Next Time Is the Last Time,” off their 2016 release, “Dark and Saucy.”

 

Gus McKay

We’ll round out our Blues detour with Bay Area greats the Delta Wires with “Goin’ Away,” off Anthology followed by “Extremely Voodoo,” by Gus McKay (who’s really an Aussie—Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone). Right now, though, let’s get this set rolling with Munk Duane and “Stupid Pride.”

So, I have to wonder, after the Australians have taken over American T.V. and the movies, is this what they’re setting their sights on? American-style Blues? You think I’m kidding—I’ve got three more Aussie Blues artists in the hopper, and each one of them kicks ass.

I think we have time to squeeze in a quick peek through the festival-scope to see what the upcoming Roots scene looks like across America. Starting with:

Paluxy River Bluegrass Festival • Glen Rose Tex. • Mar 30 – April 1
Winter Wonder Grass Tahoe • Olympic Valley, Calif. • March 31 – April 2
French Quarter Festival • New Orleans, La. • April 6 – 9
Country Thunder Arizona • Florence, Ariz. • April 6 – 9
Rhythm N Blooms • Knoxville, Tenn. • April 7 – 9
Tortuga Music Festival • Fort Lauderdale, Fla. • April 7 – 9
Baton Rouge Blues Festival • Baton Rouge, La. • April 8 – 9

 

I should say that we could do a whole show looking into any one of these festivals individually. SO much history, SO much talent and experience and just plain LIFE goes into these celebrations, they’re more than just a chance for great entertainment. If you happen to make it to any of these events, send us some pics we can share, or post them on social media an tag the Cornbread Cafe so other listeners can get a sense of the experience.

Ray Wilson

We’re going to put the wraps on this episode though by making our way back to Texas—keep ending up there, right?—and we’re going to sample a track from the just released album, Coming Through In Waves, by Ray Wilson. The tune, “Lone River Dance,” is a ballad in the classic sense—a tale of choices, loss, and regrets. You’d be forgiven for becoming so entranced by the lyrics that you forget to pay attention to the instrumentation. It’s alright, you can go back and listen again.

One Left

Appropriately, we finish off this episode with the band, One Left,  an act that’s has done some solid picking over the last couple of decades—solid like curly maple. The band leader, Rick Rowland, posted recently that he’s lost all the hearing in one ear and about half in the other. I’ll try to find out what happened there, because if his talents have been stolen from us by a cruel twist of Fate, that would be way beyond unfair. The song is “Fare Thee Well My True Love,” off their 2010 release “This Land I Love.”

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