Archive for the 'Live' Category

Folk School Fiddle Contest 2012

The favorite Folk School held its second annual Fiddle Contest this past Sunday afternoon in Strauss Park at Grand Center. I never had entered a contest before. I did not expect to make this one. It fell on a work day last year, and this year, I had been on home call every other night for the two weeks prior. Work ended with plenty of time to go, though. I thought of a few favorite tunes to play, and H and I headed over.

The Root Diggers, a local old-time band, opened the afternoon. They played a good set to get everybody in the right frame of mind. I spent the time looking for an accompanist.  I asked blogged friend  Ryan Spearman to back me up. To my delight, he asked the same of me. We learned how to back up one another’s tunes just in time. Local musicians Geoff Seitz, Marc Rennard and Gary Hunt judged the contest, and banjoist Dave Landreth served as master of ceremonies.

I did not win, but I still had a good afternoon. I decided on a Mississippi themed program. I just could not play my first tune, “Possum on a Rail,” how I wanted. I felt bad while messing up the first tune because I knew that I had two more to go. My next one, “Tombigbee Waltz,” went a bit better. On the last tune, “Sullivan’s Hollow,” I tried to let it flow, and it was good fun. I backed up Ryan a few contestants later, and he won second place.

KDHX posted these photographs from the contest. The set is on Flickr, too. Here I am fiddling with Ryan on guitar, and here I am on guitar backing up Ryan. The Folk School has this album on Facebook. Friend Bob Clark posted this album on Facebook, too. It probably is only viewable if you have the right Facebook friendship. He is fond of the slogans, “Old-time music: More fun than it looks!” and “Old-time music: Better than it sounds!” I promise that I was having more fun that it appears.

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Michael M. on September 12th 2012 in General, Live, Music

Clifftop and Kentucky 2012

My vacation finally worked for Clifftop, the Appalachian String Band Music Festival (here on Facebook). It is held yearly at Camp Washington-Carver. H and I had discussed whether to go right until the day before. I am glad we decided to go.

By the time we arrived in West Virginia, it was near sunset. We did not want to reach Clifftop and then have to set up camp in the dark. An overnight stay in Charleston, West Virginia let us rest. We tried to go to Charleston Town Center to eat. Navigating and parking were confusing, and the clock ran out. Instead, we found Pies and Pints. It turned out to be a nice spot with good pizza.

We made it to Clifftop early on the first official day. The serious attendees start arriving the weekend before, but it was not an option for us. The campgrounds were packed when we arrived, and many people have fairly elaborate camps. We found a clear shady spot for our little tent. A few folks put together a program, A Medicine Show @ Clifftop, based on Good for What Ails You, a compilation of music from the medicine shows. The blog Old Time Party has this post on the collection. I caught one of the organizers wearing a Pink Anderson t-shirt a few days later standing in line for food. I said that I had watched a documentary on blogged Peg Leg Sam, a running partner of Anderson. I regret not catching his name as he had great knowledge of music in South Carolina. H and I bounced in and out of that session. I was lucky enough to catch three times blogged Henry “Ragtime Texas” Thomas‘ “Railroadin’ Some” featuring one fellow on quills and guitar.

In part, I was on a mission for Mississippi music. I met blogged Harry Bolick. I found his interview on the Mississippi Arts Hour on Mississippi Public Broadcasting. Bolick told me that the twice blogged 1939 recordings of Mississippi folk music were based on previous work in 1936. He is planning to release a book on Mississippi fiddle tunes. I look forward to it. I briefly met Jack Magee. I got to meet some Mississippi and Louisiana old-time players.

The festival has a culture that is extremely strange and open in many ways. We saw the strange bowed dulcimer. I figured it out when listening to Harry Bolick’s interview. NPR personality Paul Brown won the senior division fiddling contest. He also made and gave away drinks at the release for a book about old-time accompaniment, Old-Time Backup Guitar: Learn from the Masters. This post on Old Time Party has more about the book. An old friend from CSHL messaged me, and we got to meet for the final night band competition. The charging station for cell phones and batteries was behind the maintenance shed. Hundreds of dollars of electronics, not to mention thousands of dollars in instruments, were left in the open.

First time attendance was hard, though. In old-time sessions, fiddlers lead. We were new to the festival. Instead, we spent much of our time playing together and listening to the many jams. I hope to return and to increase my own playing next time.

My friend from CSHL spends a good amount of time in West Virginia with his girlfriend who lives there. We asked for recommendations on what to do on our way back. We were not up for whitewater rafting, but we found other good spots. We visited the New River Gorge Bridge, an engineering marvel, and then drove over it into Fayetteville. We had breakfast at Cathedral Cafe were everyone appeared young and adventurous. Then we stopped at the Mystery Hole, a spot modeled on old roadside tourist traps billed as a gravity anomaly. It was worth the stop.

We spent some time in Lexington, Kentucky. I got to see the campus of UK. We had supper at Willie’s Locally Known and saw a bluegrass jam session featuring quite a few original songs. We had a fine breakfast the next day at Josie’s.

Our trip back through Kentucky was leisurely. We drove through the horse country around Lexington. It was beautiful. Partly in line with the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, we visited distilleries, Woodford Reserve and Buffalo Trace. The Woodford Reserve tour cost a little money, but it was the best. We saw every segment of the manufacturing process except bottling. The crowd at Buffalo Trace was younger and loud, but the tour was still enjoyable. One fellow pouring samples at Buffalo Trace saw my t-shirt with favorite Mississippi John Hurt. He told me that he saw Hurt play in New York in the 1960s.

We headed on to Louisville. I thought a musical diversion would be fun, and we found Guitar Emporium. I had fun testing out some excellent old Martins. We walked around the neighborhood, evidently called the Highlands. There were some great shops including the Leatherhead. It had terrific boots. Barbecue dinner at Mark’s Feed Store topped off a good evening in the area. The next day we visited Jim Beam, impressive for its enormous scale.

The trip took us to places we had never been. I do not know when I will be able to return to Clifftop although I hope to become a regular. Many people go year after year. They see old friends and visit over tunes. Becoming one of them would be a good investment of time.

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Michael M. on August 11th 2012 in General, Live, Music

Shout Lulu Shout released

Friday night the favorite Lulus threw their release party for their new album Shout Lulu Shout. You can buy it at their store, and it will be available via electronic outlets soon. Retro 101 / Cherry Bomb Vintage on Cherokee Antique Row hosted the party along with their neighbors the St. Louis Curio Shoppe. They drew a great crowd filled with friends, and the party was a blast.

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Michael M. on July 8th 2012 in General, Live, Music

Circus Flora 2012 and nearby fun

The Wizard, this year’s production at Circus Flora, is excellent. H and I finally headed to Grand Center to see it last night. I think about going every year, but my only other post was in 2005. Last year I was working nights. I have no excuse for the other years. Merlin and King Arthur are the themes behind the show. As with the last time I went, the Flying Wallendas were a favorite. The wire act was exciting. The Riders of the Ring with trick horse riding were great, too. Other subtle parts make it a special experience. Everything was live, including the music.

Before the show, we visited a few nearby spots. Grand Center is becoming the center of community media. KETC television has been there for years, and KWMU radio just moved there. Renovation of the building for KDHX appeared well underway. The Pulitzer‘s In the Still Epiphany is a diverse drawing on the foundation’s collection. Dooley’s Beef-n-Brew House was a good stop, but not great.  Nearby Locust Street has been reborn as Midtown Alley. It is great to see the life coming back into the old automobile row. The fliers at Plush advertised several upcoming concerts and one event I would like to see. They include Lucero, New Years Rulin’s – A Tribute to Woody Guthrie in Photos and Music and Josh Ritter with Bhi Bhiman as the opener. I will try to visit next week’s St. Lou Fringe if work allows.

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Michael M. on June 17th 2012 in General, Live, Music

Winning Earth Day Again

H and I teamed with Doug Foehner to form the Trash Tones for this year’s Green Strum Band Scramble at St. Louis Earth Day. The rain and wind were intermittent enough to let the event happen. I blogged last year about winning the band scramble. The blogged Green Strum Project, headed by blogged friend Ryan Spearman and Kelly Wells, had a tent again this year with JR Scott and a crew of others. Kelly promoted the event on local station KTVI in this segment. H built a bow for the fiddle that we made last year, and I built a cigar box instrument somewhere between a guitar and a mandolin. Doug played a bucket slide guitar. We won against the Chlorphyllians and the Trash Truck Revival with our song “Solar, Wind and Waves.” Our prize was tickets to LouFest!

“Solar, Wind and Waves” by the Trash Tones

Introduction

Chorus:
G/G
Solar, wind and waves,
G/G
They'll be here all our days.
C/C
Renewable, reusable,
C/G
They don't make no waste.
Instrumental over chorus chords

Verse 1:
C/C/C/G
Nuclear, petroleum, natural gas and coal,
C/C
They're powering our cars and homes,
D/D
But crushing all our souls.

Chorus

Instrumental over chorus chords

Verse 2:
We can't go through out lives just digging up the past.
We must make it better now
If this world's going to last.

Chorus

Instrumental over chorus chords

Update April 23, 2012: This video on YouTube is up!

Update April 30, 2012: This message of thanks from St. Louis Earth Day links to the video above and to this post with the lyrics and chords.

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Michael M. on April 22nd 2012 in General, Live, Mine, Music, Recorded

Spring 2012 Showcase

The beloved Folk School held its student showcase just over a week ago at Off Broadway. Check out this slide show on YouTube. It looked like the biggest one yet.

I took Alternative Roots Ensemble with Jeff Burke of the Jeff and Vida Band. He is teaching while spending a few months here in Saint Louis. We played “Rox in the Box” by the Decemberists and then “Will You Return?” by the Avett Brothers. Looking on the SongMeanings page for “Rox in the Box,” I found that it incorporates “The Gypsy Laddie,” an old border ballad. It seemed appropriate as a song for an alternative roots class. One classmate, who sang “Rox in the Box,” posted both performances on YouTube. You can hear me plucking away on mandolin and adding harmony on “Will You Come Again.”

 

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Michael M. on March 17th 2012 in General, Live, Music

Folk School, Kinky and Prine

The first weekend of December provided a musical feast.

That Thursday featured blogged Betse Ellis opening by herself. She plays in the Wilders, but this time she filled the stage with her voice, her fiddle and a little stomping. She played to help the favorite Folk School celebrate its tenth anniversary. It was a great night. The duo of blogged Pokey LaFarge and blogged friend Ryan Spearman followed. They made Thursday night. I only wish they had filled the Sheldon. KDHX has these photographs, and the Riverfront Times published broader coverage of the anniversary.

Since the concert, I have joined the Folk School Board of Directors although my name is not on the page yet. I learned to fiddle there, and I took up the banjo with help from Folk School classes. I learned new guitar styles and even taught one class, Introduction to Fingerstyle Guitar. I continue as a student, and I hope to teach again someday. Serving the Folk School in a new capacity is an honor, and I hope to contribute to continued success and growth.

In the nights after the anniversary concert, H and I saw twice blogged Kinky Friedman again at Off Broadway. It was his Hanukkah Tour. The jokes do not change much from show to show, but I still enjoy them every time. We stayed for part of the 1st Annual Hanukkah Hullaballoo with the Brothers Lazaroff, but I tired out early.

The next night was twice blogged John Prine at the Touhill. The review on the KDHX blog covers the basics. Blogged Jason Isbell opened with a solo acoustic set. Some of his betters songs worked in the format, but his electric rock is better. Prine was terrific. He played his familiar greats, both accompanied by his band and alone. He performed without appearing tired or resentful of past successes. He seemed grateful and charming, and he gave more than straight reproductions. I have wanted to see him in person for a while, and doing so easily met expectations. I hope I can attend more of his concerts in the future.

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Michael M. on January 31st 2012 in General, Live, Music

Camper / Cracker

It was David Lowery night at the Pageant a few Fridays ago. After the opening band, he came out with favorite Camper Van Beethoven. The KDHX blog has this review. After the show, I found 300 Songs, his blog about both bands’ songs. The most recent post about downloading music is disappointing from someone so interested in mathematics and information, but many of the posts have great information for Camper and Cracker fans.

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Michael M. on January 31st 2012 in General, Live, Music

My “Stagger Lee,” a resophonic festival and Mississippi John Hurt’s Rediscovery

On January 14, 2012, the Department of Pathology and Immunology at the Washington University School of Medicine hosted An Evening of Music / Winter Concert. It featured some great performances by string quartets, small ensembles and singers. I volunteered to play. With nods to the city of Saint Louis and  favorite Mississippi John Hurt, I chose favorite “Stagger Lee.” I got past the nerves and played it out. H took a video for me that I posted.

“Stagger Lee” (mp3) (video on YouTube)

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This past Sunday, H and I headed to Iron Barley for the 6th Annual Tom Hall Resophonic Extravaganza. I had to return after the blogged last one was so good. The Lulus, another favorite, made fine contributions to the festivities. So did blogged Tom Hall, Geoff Seitz, Brian Curran and many more I have forgotten.

At the benefit, a friend reminded me about the new Mississippi John Hurt album. He later directed me to this post on Black Grooves. It leads to Discovery: The Rebirth of Mississippi John Hurt. Weenie Campbell has this worthwhile thread on it. This new release on Spring Fed Records features recordings that Tom Hoskins made on March 3, 1963 when he journeyed to Avalon, Mississippi in search of the long lost musician. This video from the University Press of Mississippi on Vimeo also appears at the bottom of the album link above. In it starting about 10:20, twice blogged Philip Ratcliffe and author of Mississippi John Hurt: His Life, His Times, His Blues discusses how these tapes were found in the bottom of an old cardboard box under Tom Hoskins’ sister’s guest bed. I have been streaming tracks, and I gladly anticipate the arrival of my CD.

Update February 8, 2012: Outlook, the Washington University School of Medicine’s magazine, published this gallery of the Winter Concert. The photograph of me is 17th. You also can see it directly.

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Michael M. on January 31st 2012 in General, Live, Mine, Music, Recorded

Musical weekend

The first weekend of October was a terrific one for music. I intended to blog about it then, but here I am.

The weekend began, in a sense, Thursday night at the Wood. I hosted the jam session there. The favorite Folk School has started having a jam on every first Thursday. I filled in for usual host  blogged friend Ryan Spearman. The beginning was worrisome. I arrived right at 6 PM. Nobody joined me for over half an hour. We eventually got going and had a nice session. I would love to do it again. I got paid, too!

The next evening, H and I returned to the Folk School for Fiddle Fest, part of Maplewood’s Arts and Eats Walk. H, Kelly Wells and I set up in a small alcove off the sidewalk along Manchester Road the street from Shop and Save. We had enormous fun. I fiddled. Kelly played guitar, and H played mandolin. We put out an open case, and we got tips. Folks from toddlers to the elderly stopped to listen. Then we got free Jimmy John’s.

Sam Bush played the Sheldon that night. We had planned on skipping it, but we got free tickets. H had seen him earlier that day at the Old Post Office Plaza. She registered for a drawing. On our drive to the Folk School, she got a call that the original winner passed on the tickets. It was a high energy show. I particularly enjoyed his fiddling. He has a strong down bow style. The Cardinals were in the playoffs that night. The action stopped periodically to announce the scores. When they won, the sound man threw up his arms. Everyone cheered. The guitarist must have thought he played the best solo of his life.

The Folk School held a jam at the Kirkwood Farmers’ Market. Jams there have become semi-regular events. It was chilly for that time of year, but I had a good time.

At Off Broadway, H and I caught another show featuring the three times blogged Rum Drum RamblersMonads and the Wilders. I have enjoyed the Ramblers every time, going back to running into them at Meshuggah years back. All acts were high energy. The Wilders, unfortunately, are nearing the end as a band. I have been fortunate enough to see them another time recently. Their fiddler Betse Ellis needs to spend more time in Saint Louis.

The weekend was memorable. I made more money playing than I did watching. I think that is a first. Up to this point, it remains an only.

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Michael M. on December 29th 2011 in General, Live, Music

The Lulus’ Best

The Riverfront Times awarded the blogged Lulus, in which H fiddles, with Best Folk Band in Arts and Entertainment of the Best of St. Louis 2011. They knock off blogged friend Ryan Spearman who was Best Folk Artist 2010. Below is the video from their channel on YouTube of their performance of “Single Girl” at the Sheldon Ballroom opening for Ryan. It was a great night for them, Ryan and us in the audience. Check out their list of upcoming shows and see them where they are their best, live.

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Michael M. on September 27th 2011 in General, Live, Music

2011 Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra opener

I have not blogged about the previously often blogged Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra since 2009. I think I made it to only one concert in the 2010-2011 season. H got us tickets for opening night of Opening Weekend: Rite of Spring. This video on YouTube is a well produced introduction to the weekend’s program. Look at the index of program notes for this week’s.

The physical production was good and bad. A large projection screen hung behind the orchestra. Photographs, some of the original dance companies, were projected along with words and short action summaries of the ballets. At times, understanding what the music accompanied was helpful. It was distracting at times, though. Seeing the slide change in the middle of a musical swell took away from the music.

We sat close to the stage in front of the basses. I prefer sitting further back on the floor or sitting in the balcony. The mix of sound was mostly good. There were times, though, when the low strings were hard to hear because they pointed away from us despite being near. I could not see the horns, but were aimed toward us. Their sound came through clearly. It worked best for the first piece.

The night was dedicated to Stravinsky ballets. The first was Petrushka. The performance was excellent. Public Radio in Mississippi, the forerunner of Mississippi Public Broadcasting, much have played it often because I knew the piece. I loved the runs with the piano. Next came Les Noces. The arrangement was strange with four singers, four pianos, assorted percussion and the chorus. It was odd to me and not moving. To my surprise, the crowd loved it and gave it a standing ovation. The Rite of Spring closed the show. It was a great ending to a great opening.

I should make it to more than one performance this season. It is sad to have gone from a regular attendee to a rare one when it is so good, so close and so easy to attend. Work has its demands. The program also alerted me to the many community events. I resubscribed to the STL Symphony Blog to keep up with the many events. Smaller ensembles from the symphony will play in a variety of community settings throughout the season. It has been years since I saw the symphony outside Powell Hall, and I need to correct that problem, too.

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Michael M. on September 19th 2011 in General, Live, Music

Cardinals, Zoo, Body Worlds and Gillian Welch

H and I had several good outings this weekend. They weekend started with excellent tickets to the Cardinals game courtesy of one of her River Bound bandmates. The Cardinals got behind early and never recovered. Then a homerun in the top of the 9th closed the door on the possibility of victory. The pitching was poor on both sides, leading to an exciting festival of hitting. It was fun despite the loss, and the seats were the best I have ever had. The night ended with an extended fireworks display.

The next day, we met up with an old friend of mine and his family. The Zoo was good as always, but overwhelmingly hot. The heat ultimately led us to shorten our visit. My Chicago friends compared the zoo favorably to their local free zoo. A nice lunch at the Boat House let us visit a little longer. They departed to see family.

We headed to Body Worlds at the Saint Louis Science Center. We got free tickets at blogged LouFest. It is funny because we won those LouFest tickets. I blogged twice about Body Worlds before its last visit to Saint Louis although I never followed up after seeing the exhibit. Body Worlds and the Brain is the current version. It consists of carefully preserved cadavers and a few animals with artful dissections. The problem is that there is no major difference from the prior one I saw. I essentially saw the same thing twice. While very much worth seeing once, I needed something different for this second exhibition to be especially valuable, and it offered too little.

The brain component should have been that difference. It consists of displays along the walls that are not integrated well with the specimens. As someone very interested in the functions and dysfunctions of the nervous system, I felt disappointed by how little depth the wall displays offered. They could have presented explanations of sensory systems, the motor system and diseases including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s along with anatomic specimens. The displays do not do justice to the important and fascinating realms of neuroscience and neurology.

Blogged Gillian Welch played the Pageant Saturday night. The KDHX blog has this review, and the Riverfront Times blog RFTmusic has this one. The short summary is that the performance was stellar despite partial power outages due to the storm. I saw her at the defunct Mississippi Nights several years ago. She was great then and now. I realized this time how many of her songs are re-workings of old folk songs with new lyrics or a new bridge added to old verse melodies.

The Pageant itself was disappointing. Our tickets were balcony general admission, meaning that we had to go to the balcony and claim seats. Consequently, we arrived early. The slow folks at the doors did not help. I hated being patted down aggressively by a security guard as part of the three step admission routine of identification, patting down and ticket taking. As mentioned above, there was a partial power failure during the show. The heat was stiffling. While in the balcony, I took a snapshot with my cell phone. A security staff member leaned over from behind. He informed me that I had to delete it immediately, that he had to watch me delete it and that I would be removed if I took another photograph. According to the event page, the show was “Camera Policy: NO Cameras / NO Audio / NO Video.” I had no idea of the policy at the time. I reluctantly complied. The tone and treatment left me with a bad feeling. At least they managed to keep the power on.

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Michael M. on September 6th 2011 in General, Live, Music

The Lulus make television.

Fox 2 KTVI broadcast Taste Of Autumn Boosts Labor Day Festival Attendance on its evening news program. The linked video featured the blogged Lulus playing “Union Maid” at 40 seconds into the segment. H is prominent for a few seconds as the fiddler, and then the group’s harmonies can be heard behind the report for a while longer. The Lulus were among the many acts at the Veterans Festival in Forest Park. The news segment also covers the Greek Festival and the blogged Japanese Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden. The mild weather improved attendance for all of them. I had my weekend fun early in the weekend when the heat was setting records. Unfortunately, I have started night shifts and slept through the fun of the last two days.

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Michael M. on September 5th 2011 in General, Live, Music

LouFest 2 and the Festival of Nations

As mentioned a while back, H and I won tickets to  LouFest, which I also attended last year. We went to parts of both days. The valet bicycle parking, complements of Trailnet, was a great touch. We biked there both days. The KDHX blog covered Saturday and Sunday. We heard Dom and Surfer Blood, both solid, the first day. I wanted to see the blogged Roots, but Hurricane Irene kept them away. ?uestlove had a DJ set that was not enough to have me stay. We had some 17th Street barbecue instead. The second day, we made it for !!!, Cat Power and TV on the Radio. The days were hot, but the performers still put on big shows. I hope LouFest continues and grows.

We also visited the Festival of Nations Saturday afternoon before LouFest. This city is a fusion of cultures, and the festival is a great reminder. It is filled with people and food along with dancing, music and other cultural demonstrations. I have been before, but I seem to have neglected to blog about it. It was another summer highlight, and I look forward to going again.

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Michael M. on September 4th 2011 in General, Live, Music

Middle of Everywhere release

H and I met up with other Lulus and associated persons at Off Broadway for the late set of the release party for the album Middle of Everywhere by blogged Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three. The band had played an early set to a seated crowd. We showed up for the late set. We knew something was different when the line stretched down the sidewalk toward Cherokee Street. I never found out the reasons behind the delay.

By the time we got inside, opener Colonel Ford had been playing for a while. The crowd enjoyed the honky tonk music. I was surprised by how many of the songs I knew. They are a very tight group of seasoned musicians. Pokey joined them for a song or two toward the end of the set.

Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three took the stage to great enthusiasm from the crowd. The KDHX blog has this review. They were on, and the music was great. The place was packed. I wondered whether the show had been oversold, and H mused about fire code violations. The air conditioning either was not on or failed. We eventually camped in front of a fan near the merchandise table. The crowd gradually thinned, but its fervor stayed strong.

After the show, we had a late meal at Benton Park Cafe. It stays open 24 hours on Fridays and Saturdays, something I had not known. The food was good. It hit the late night hunger spot just right. We headed home with our bellies full of food and our heads full of tunes for a deep sleep.

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Michael M. on August 21st 2011 in General, Live, Music

The Tillers

The Tillers played the favorite Folk School . H and I went on a whim. See this video by blogged friend Ryan Spearman and this one by John Hotze. They are a three man folk group from Cincinnati. They switched around on classic string band instruments. The vocal harmonies were the best, though. I got too sleepy to make it the whole way through the show, but I am glad to have caught what I did.

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Michael M. on August 19th 2011 in General, Live, Music

Green Strum album

Blogged friend Ryan Spearman started his twice blogged Green Strum Project with wife Kelly Wells. They promised of an album dedicated to sustainability. Get Along Home was released June 18, 2011. You can find my name among the sponsors inside the cover. So far, my favorite song is “Willie McGee” about former Cardinals great Willie McGee. The Riverfront Times ran this fittingly flattering review.

Ryan will play the Sheldon Friday, August 26, 2011. The blogged Lulus, featuring H on fiddle along with Kelly and some twin harmonizing, will open. The Sheldon is one of Saint Louis’ great concert spaces. It should be a great night.

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Michael M. on July 16th 2011 in General, Live, Music, Recorded

John Wilkins at Off Broadway

I fought back an urge to turn in early last night and went out to Off Broadway to catch Reverend John Wilkins. His father was country blues and gospel great Reverend Robert Wilkins. I insisted to H that we go. I saw this video on Vimeo via this post on Highway 61 Radio several years back, and it raised my expectations. The show did not start until late for a Wednesday. It was worth losing some sleep.

The touring van had Mississippi license plate, which was good to see. We talked a little before his concert. I asked him whether he lived in Mississippi. He told me that he lives in Memphis, but he pastors Hunters Chapel in Como, Mississippi. He mentioned twice blogged Othar Turner in the same breath. I told him that I had been to Como many times and that blogged Como Steakhouse is a favorite of my father’s. I asked him whether he would play acoustic or electric. He asked me what I liked. I let him know that I wanted to hear some acoustic blues, and he said that he usually plays his father’s “Prodigal Son.” I let him get back to resting and having something to drink before his show.

We listened to the opening band the Airliners. They are a low-fi outfit with only drums and guitar. They were too loud for my old ears. The pairing did not work. The Airliners seemed to have no idea about John Wilkins or Robert Wilkins. I was disappointed at the end when the front man told us to hang on for John Wilson instead of Wilkins.

Reverend Wilkins was backed by a three piece band of guitar, bass guitar and drums. The bass guitarist was Eric Deaton. I recognized him as one of the good active players in the north Mississippi music community. The other two must have been Jake Fussell on guitar and Wallace Lester on drums. They did a great job backing him up. They played a little and introduced him before he came on stage. He played several songs with them before sending them off stage. He then played three acoustic songs that I truly enjoyed. I recorded them and posted them on YouTube. They were “Prodigal Son,” of which I missed the first few seconds,”I Want Jesus to Walk with Me” and “I Wish I Was in Heaven Sitting Down.” I made this playlist with all three.

Then the band came back on, and he went back to electric music. The music tended toward gospel, and he eventually “got happy.” Wilkins played a good hour and a half at least. The crowd included local luminaries from the twice blogged Rum Drum Ramblers and blogged Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three. You can catch glimpses of them in the videos above. We were a small group, but enthusiastic. Wilkins fed off the spirit. It was a show I easily could have missed, but I am glad I did not.

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Michael M. on July 14th 2011 in General, Live, Music

More summer music

I posted about some Louisiana music acts coming to Saint Louis. I found one more. Beau Soleil will play the Old Rock House on July 13. It should be good Cajun fun.

The Old Rock House has several other good ones coming up soon. Kaki King will play tomorrow June 27. It appears to be a make up show for the previously blogged one. I have to work.

Another great one that lands on a probable work night is Black Francis / Frank Black who will play Tuesday, July 19. I blogged about his Duck Room show years ago. Seeing the favorite Pixies reunion tour was great, and the solo shows are good, too. I hope somehow my call schedule works out.

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Michael M. on June 26th 2011 in General, Live, Music

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.