There has been a family emergency and I will be unable to teach for the coming weeks. My parents and I are fine, but someone we love is in the hospital and needs our care. All of our energy in the coming weeks will be directed towards helping them, and each other.
Please know that even though I may not reply to your emails, I love you all and will send you an update when I am able.
I give you permission to have fun.
I give you permission to try something ‘crazy’
All music is related, all music is meant to be played, and play should be an operative word in how we approach learning. It doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be challenging, that doesn’t mean you shouldn't practice, or that you won’t get frustrated. But it is very important to find the things that bring us joy within our music making, and to identify the things that really don’t and examine why that is.
Personally I lose the joy when I feel like my own creativity and ideas are being shut down.
Depending on the day my idea of fun might be to play exactly what is on the page, that challenge, the sense of accomplishment, the connection to the past. It is important to recognize the value of ‘playing things as written’.
This does not mean, you always have to play things ‘the way they are on the page’
In fact much of the music that we think of as ‘carved in stone’ comes from the long held tradition of messing around and just making shit up as you go. Sure, there are frameworks that were learned but everyone knew you could go outside of the box if it felt like the right thing to do.
To honour this tradition we will be looking at ways folks have had fun with Bach out side of the box.
So to set the stage:
Our Muse tonight is Johann Sebastien Bach 1685–1750) was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. (about 1600 to 1750.)
Lute Suite E Minor written between 1708 and 1717. It is probable that this suite was intended for Lautenwerck (lute-harpsichord). Which was basically a harpsichord with gut strings instead of metal strings so it would have a super mellow tone.
We’re going to hear Mario D’Agosto a Luteist from Italy playing the 5th movement.
Any Guesses on who we’re hearing next? (Hodge House guessed correctly!)
this is not a LautenWerk, but a FlautenWerk
1969 Jethro Tull,
Last week we listened to Bach’s Concerto in Dminor for 2 violins, and we are going to listen to it again.
Starting with the most “by the book” to let’s take this and run with it.
Andrew Collins, Mike Mezzatessta
the 2 takes of Django, Stephane & Eddie
For our final bit, this isn’t a cover of a Bach piece but it is a beautiful take on a classic.
This is the Lonely Heartstring Band - Performing a very ‘accurate’ cover of Graceland.
Nourished by deep roots in the expansive canon of traditional American music, The Lonely Heartstring Band embodies the modern American condition—an understanding and reverence for the past that informs a push into the future. George Clements (guitar, vocals) Patrick M'Gonigle (fiddle, vocals) Charles Clements (bass, vocals) Maddie Witler (mandolin) and Gabe Hirshfeld (banjo) bring together their own musical styles to create a sound greater than the sum of its parts.
Bonus: Bela Fleck and Chic Corea
*Just as a little aside: I did a lot of demoing with my voice and props this week... so there will be things that won't appear here that really make things clearer*
Alrighty so last week the question of “What Makes It Swing?” Was asked
Swing does refer to a few different things in music,
From the online Encyclopedia Brittanica:
Swing, in music, both the rhythmic impetus of jazz music and a specific jazz idiom prominent between about 1935 and the mid-1940s—years sometimes called the swing era. Swing music has a compelling momentum that results from musicians’ attacks and accenting in relation to fixed beats. Swing rhythms defy any narrower definition, and the music has never been notated exactly.
So that’s about as clear as mud. Let’s break this up, first by figuring out what this sounds like.
So everything I’m about to say is as accurate as I can make it, but as always, I’m not an expert, I’m an enthusiastic educator who does her best to make things understandable. I am not a professor of music theory or jazz but that may actually be an advantage for this.
So back to our definition, we’re going to pick it a part.
a compelling momentum that results from musicians’ attacks and accenting in relation to fixed beats.
We’ll start with fixed beats. We can do this.
The fixed beat referred to here is most often a quarter note, [Clap 1 2 3 4] often the bassist will be providing a “Walking” bass run. [Sing blues walking bass while clapping]
Ok so that’s our fixed beat,
Now, Let’s look at what the guitar is doing, Like the bassist, the Rhythm guitar player is usually playing quarter notes as well, however, they will be placing an accent or emphasis on beats 2 & 4 [Clap this] that sounds like this on the guitar [Play G6 Blues]
And now what’s our drummer doing?
Our drummer at most basic will be walking the dog [Voice demo] desk demo.
See if you can hear and identify some of these elements in this track.
This is “Gee Baby Ain’t I Good To You” Humphrey Lyttelton & His band with Kathleen Stobart (On tenor sax) Year
Swing music has a compelling momentum that results from musicians’ attacks and accenting in relation to fixed beats. Swing rhythms defy any narrower definition, and the music has never been notated exactly.
The momentum here must be in reference to our 8thnotes, up till now we’ve been dealing in quarter notes
In a straight rhythmic feel we divide each quarter evenly in two. [Sounds like 1 + 2+ etc)
For swing, we divide quarters into two eigth notes but instead of this being an even division, the first 8thgets more of the space, and the second one gets squished up closer to the next beat. [listen to violin scale with image shared]
This can if notated look like this[showslide], but, depending on the groove, it may be that the first note gets more than 2/3 of the beat, and the second note gets squished even closer to the next. It’s also super chaotic to try to read a chart notated this way.
The general consensus there fore is to write it out as if it’s straight 8ths, and scrawl swing at the top, or 8ths=triplet quarter eight.
Up next we have the Vivien Garry Quintet, with Operation Mop from 1946
Led by Bassist Vivien Garry, on fiddle we have Ginger Smock, Wini Beatty on piano,
Ok I promised a Score, a big band score, so now that we have an idea of what we’re listen to in relation to what we are looking at lets listen to a quintessential big band swing number.
The Glenn Miller Orchestra with Tuxedo junction. Reading scores is challenging even when you’re used to it, so if you are not a reader, if this looks like polkadots, I challenge you to follow our dear friend the bassist. I’ll try to switch the pages in the right places. If you want a bit more of a challenge, follow the trumpet line, or the saxes.
If you get lost there are a couple places with really unique sounds that might get you back on track.
Everything we’ve heard so far has had a swing feel, now, I’m going to do a palette cleanser; We’re going to listen to some Bach. This is straight rhythm, I have the violin score, which I will share. Concerto for 2 violins in D minor – London Symphony
And now because no music is born in a vacuum, from 1937, Improvisations on Concerto for 2 violins, Stephane Grappelli & Eddie South on Violins, Django Reinhardt on Guitar.
One of the things that I find very interesting with humans, is that we often find something we like and then put the blinders on, filtering out a lot of the context and world that was around when that “thing” was being created, this is true for music, art, food.
So tonight, to give ourselves some context for western swing, I’ve more tunes than usual, we’ll have 3 western Swing tunes, each will have a companion track for some context.
We’re going to start, not with Western Swing as I promised, but with an artist who was a huge inspiration to the first Western Swing artist of the night.
This first track is Undecided, which was first recorded in 1938, This particular recording is from 1939, Django Reinhardt & the Hot Club of France with Beryl Davis on Vocals and Stephane Grapelli on violin. This is Hot Club or Manouche Jazz, It can be referred to as Gypsy Jazz, but the term Gypsy is actually quite problematic and it is a derogatory term, imposed by outsiders on the Roma community.
Smokey Rogers & Joaquin Murphy 1950 Trouble Then Satisfaction
a decade later we have Smokey Rogers with renowned steel player and huge Reinhardt fan performing a song that has some pretty direct correlations to undecided, true this is a much more laid back tempo, but it’s pretty clear. If you have the time to trawl through the 400+ recordings that Joaquin is credited on in his career, and then dive into the Django Rienhardt catalogue, you’ll hear the huge influence and respect that Murphy had for hot club and Reinhardt’s playing.
"Li'l Liza Jane" was first published in 1916 as a composition by Ada de Lachau. It was described as a "Southern dialect song". The song's origins, go back even earlier. There are records of the lyrics being sung by slaves in Louisiana before the American Civil War.
The name "Liza Jane" or "Eliza Jane" was a standard female character name in minstrel shows. And that is a piece of musical history that often gets glossed over.
Minstrel shows, where white performers would dress in blackface, and lampoon African American culture, were highly popular, the music played in these shows would sometimes have deeper roots to actual African American music, some times not.
The melody of the chorus of little Liza Jane is shared with the West African welcome song "Fanga Alafia".So before we listen to Lil’ Liza Jane, Let’s listen to it, Here are Weedie Braimah & Amadou Kouyate, performing Fanga Rhythm, in 2016.
Bob Wills, a founding musician to Western Swing, and probably the best brand recognition in this genre. This is from 1941
We call it Western Swing, the term Western Swing wasn’t widely used for the first years of this music. For the Musicians it was what you played for people who wanted to have a good time, and there was no need to give it a name. The record companies, committed to the filing system of “mountaineers songs” and ‘Descriptive novelty” and so forth labeled it “hot Dance”
We have 2 more tracks, both from 1952, so the term western swing is definitely in use by this time.
Bill Monroe, the father of bluegrass, from 1952 Pike County Breakdown
Pee Wee King
This recording is from circa 1952 for Standard Radio Transcription Services and were designed for sale or lease to radio stations.
Our Bonus Pieces:
A historical fiction about Theremin,
by Canadian author Sean Michaels
Etherial, haunting, otherworldly, the theremin is a relatively young and unique instrument. Invented by Leon Theremin, born Lev Sergeyevich Termen, in 1920 and patented in 1928 etherphone, thereminophone.
It as instrument that is played entirely without actually physically contacting the surfaces,
And because even after doing a bunch or reading and research on it, I can only comprehend snip-its of the scientific wizardry involved with how it works I’m going to let someone else walk us through. From the University of Youtube. Here is a brief, and the most straightforward although it still goes over my head at times explanation on how the Theremin does its thing.
So now, let’s talk a bit about the creator and it’s creation. The theremin was the product of Soviet government-sponsored research into proximity sensors. The instrument was invented by a young Russian physicist named Lev Sergeyevich Termen, after the outbreak of the Russian Civil war.
After a lengthy tour of Europe, during which time he demonstrated his invention to packed houses, Theremin moved to the United States, where he patented his invention in 1928. Subsequently, Theremin granted commercial production rights to RCA.
Although the RCA Thereminvox (released immediately following the Stock Market Crash of 1929) was not a commercial success, it fascinated audiences in America and abroad.
Let’s hear and see the man himself playing,
Another of Termen’s inventions was the Buran eavesdropping system. A precursor to the modern laser microphone, it worked by using a low-power infrared beam from a distance to detect sound vibrations in glass windows. In 1947, Theremin was awarded the Stalin prize for inventing this advance in Soviet espionage technology.
Theremin invented another listening device called The Thing, hidden in a replica of the Great Seal of the United States carved in wood. In 1945, Soviet school children presented the concealed bug to the U.S. Ambassador as a "gesture of friendship" to the USSR's World War II ally. It hung in the ambassador’s residential office in Moscow and intercepted confidential conversations there during the first seven years of the Cold War, until it was accidentally discovered in 1952.
In the spirit of intrigue and mystery here is the opening theme from British Crime Drama “Midsomer Murders” which features some very spooky Theremin.
One of the early adopters and highly celebrated Therminists?? was Clara Rockmore
Clara Reisenberg was born in Vilnius, then in the Russian Empire, to a family of Lithuanian Jews. After the October Revolution the family obtained visas and moved to the United States in 1921.
In America, Rockmore continued to study music, however As a teenager, tendinitis affected her bow arm, attributed to childhood malnutrition, and resulted in her giving up the violin. However, after meeting fellow immigrant Léon Theremin and being introduced to the theremin, she became its most prominent player. She performed widely and helped Theremin to refine his instrument.
Termin actually proposed to her at one point, but she turned him down. Probably for the best all in all as the espionage and spy vs spy stuff never turns out well. Termin did end up being sent to Butyrka prison, sent to work in the Kolyma gold mines, and then to a secret laboratory in the Gulag Camp system, he survived all this and was eventually rehabilitated, and lived to the age of 97, passing away in 1993.
Here is Clara Rockmore playing the familiar and beautiful Gershwin piece Summertime.
After a flurry of interest in America following the end of the Second World War, the theremin soon fell into disuse with serious musicians, mainly because newer electronic instruments were introduced that were easier to play. However, a niche interest in the theremin persisted, mostly among electronics enthusiasts and kit-building hobbyists. One of these electronics enthusiasts, Robert Moog, began building theremins in the 1950s, while he was a high-school student. Moog subsequently published a number of articles about building theremins, and sold theremin kits that were intended to be assembled by the customer. Moog credited what he learned from the experience as leading directly to his groundbreaking synthesizer, the Moog.
and so to wrap up our journey I was very pleased to find a very talented, modern young man who we can watch as well as listen to, because the movement and the sound of the mechanics of this instrument are so intriguing to me.
Grégoire Blanc started to play the theremin at the age of 15 after learning about its existence during a science lesson in high school. The very first contact with the instrument was a revelation after years of cello practise. Indeed, the process of picking notes in a free, “fretless” space is very similar.
In September 2019, following six years of intense scientific studies, Grégoire took a new turn to beat the frustration of too little time for music. Holding two Master’s Degrees, one from the leading French school of Arts and another one in sciences applied to music, he decided to pursue a career in music.
I hope he is holding on in this storm.
This was filmed for the 100 year anniversary of the invention the Theremin, here is "Clare de Lune" with Orane Donnadieu on piano.
Tonight is another special edition of Music Appreciation, Folks have been submitting their tunes all week, and we have a wonderful smorgasbord to listen to tonight.
Our set list for the evening is:
Air a Danser - Hosted by Heather W.
Take it with me - Hosted by Abby
Twinkle Twinkle - Hosted by Rick
It don't mean a thing - Hosted by Heather G
Kodo - Hosted by Bronwen
Diesel Smoke, Dangerous Curves - Hosted by Kathryn
A ‘brief and totally incomplete but I’m really just trying to give you an idea of where it all started’ history of the electric guitar.
Most of us here will have varied opinions of electric guitar, that’s to be expected, the electric guitar is hard to escape in these modern times, and come in so many shapes colours, sounds and . But it comes from more humbled roots,
Horns and strings and drums and banjos can easily overshadow the humble acoustic guitar, especially when soloing, so the role of the guitar was as an almost entirely rhythmic instrument. Sure folks could rip a solo here and there, but it was hard to be heard. And so as through out history the brains of the nerd nation went to work on solving this problem.
One solution was to build a bigger more resonant instrument. When you go into a music store these days the most common size and shape of guitar on offer will be the dreadnought.
The very first Dreadnought guitars (named for a class of World War I era British battleships, "Dreadnought") didnt appear until 1916 and were manufactured by Martin for the Oliver Ditson Company, a publishing firm based in Boston. The Ditson Dreadnoughts were quite different in appearance from their modern offspring: The bodies were elongated to accommodate a wide, 12–fret custom guitar neck (12 frets clear of the body) with a slotted peghead.
Another “make the acoustic guitar louder” approach was to change the flat top to a carved arched top like a violin or cello. Orville Gibson was working on these as early as the 1890’s.
But even then you are limited, a great acoustic guitar will still have a hard time trading 4s on the bandstand with a horn section.
So lets get electric!
To start why don’t we listen to what some consider the first recording made with an electric guitar.
First up we have Eddie Durham playing with Lester Young and the Kansas City Six September 27 1938 -
This is the 2nd take, of the two that are available to us.
Buck Clayton - trumpet, Lester Young - Clarinet, Tenor Sax, Eddie Durham - Electric Guitar Freddie Green - Guitar, vocals, Walter Page - Bass, Jo Jones - Drums
So earlier I said “some consider” that last one the first recording of electric guitar because if you make a claim like that, someone will dig through the archive and prove you wrong, Which is awesome. Follow that ribbon into history. So if we start with a well known “first ever” like above, we can find others.
Here’s a Big Bill Broonzy recording from March 1st 1938 featuring George Barnes on Electric Guitar. Barnes was born in South Chicago Heights, Illinois in 1921. His father was a guitarist and taught Barnes acoustic guitar at the age of nine. A year later, in 1931, Barnes's brother made a pickup and amplifier for him. Barnes said he was the first person to play electric guitar. So let’s take a listen to this track and see where it takes us.
Ok, well now, that we know how this all works, neither of those are actually the ‘first’ they sometimes claim. there are recordings of electrified steel guitars pre 1938 So now we head into the world of what we know know as western swing but would have just been called dance music.
Milton Brown hired Bob Dunn to play and record steel guitar with his group “Milton Brown and his musical Brownies”
This recording is from jan 27 1935 when Milton Brown and his band the Musical Brownies recorded forty-nine songs in a single three-day session.
Milton's band is widely credited as being one of the originators of the Western Swing style.These were recorded in 1935 one in 1936 when Western Swing had lot of that rural country blues feel to the songs.When swing hit it's peek in the mid to late 1940s that rural blues feel was long gone.Most of the western swing bands by then were a much slicker sounding.Milton Brown died in automobile accident in 1936 cutting short what could have been a stellar career.
I’m not entirely convinced about the directions given to the fiddle player. But I also think that it’s a nod to the Hawaiian origins of the electric steel guitar.
Before we listen to the last piece, which, you probably know is going to be pre milton brown by now. Lets look at the first patent for an electric guitar, if you get a chance go check out the full patent because it covers more than just electrifying guitars.
naval officer George Breed, is to electric guitar as Leonardo da Vinci’s is to the helicopter.
In 1890, Breed submitted a patent for a one-of-a-kind design, utilizing the two basic elements that would eventually make their way into Stratocasters and Les Pauls (modern electric guitars) —a magnetic pickup and wire strings. Unfortunately for Breed, his design also included some very impractical circuitry and required battery operation, “resulting in a small but extremely heavy guitar with an unconventional playing technique,” writes the International Repertory of Music Literature, “that produced an exceptionally unusual and unguitarlike, continuously sustained sound.”
the design went nowhere. That is, until George Beauchamp, a “musician and tinkerer” from Texas, came up with a design for an electric guitar pickup that worked beautifully. The first “Frying Pan Hawaiian” lap steel guitar.
And so let’s hear what an electric frying pan sounds like,
Here is Eddie Bush’s Biltmore Trio from 1934 performing Talkin’ to myself
Here is a really great place to find archival recordings that might be hard to find elsewhere.
Next week will be a by Submission Music Appreciation, So if you’ve got something you want to us to appreciate please send me the info/links and prep a brief intro.
Tonight is another instalment of true Hurdy Gurdy Nerdy
One of the great feats of musical engineering, the accordion is in reality a ridiculously beautiful instrument, both in its often over the top chrome and glitter exterior reminiscent of a 1950’s Chevrolet Bel Aire, and it’s versatility of sound.
The First patent for an Accordion was filed by Cyril Demian of Vienna, in 1829, although it was a modification of an earlier 1822 instrument called the Handäoline, a small 5 keyed, manual bellowed instrument created by Berliner C. Fredrich L. Buschmann in 1822. (Actual patent drawing below!!!)
Over the years many variations on this instrument have been made, and we’re going to hear some of the variations on modern accordion types.
But before we dive into the tracks, let’s look at how most modern accordions are made, cause it’s pretty nutty. Please forgive the Grainy Video, and the appropriately 1990’s discovery channel background music
For our first tune to appreciate we have Pearl Django, with the Conversation,
Seattle Based, With a performance history spanning more than 26 years, Pearl Django endures as one of the most highly regarded Hot Club style groups working today. Although the band’s roots are firmly in the music made famous by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli, its extensive repertoire includes traditional jazz classics and original compositions. The band’s signature style is marked by pristine and dexterous string work, colors of Bal Musette, the steady pulse of rhythm guitar and an unmistakable swing that delights audiences of all musical sensibilities. Throughout the years, Pearl Django has cultivated a devoted and enthusiastic following and they continue to play to packed houses wherever they perform.
The accordionist here is David Lang, playing a Patosa Piano Accordion.
So now, here is a regional variation, The Cajun accordion, sometimes referred to as a Melodeon. Cajun accordion has it’s own distinct flavour of sound, these instruments are usually Single Row Diatonic, which means they have only the 7 notes of a diatonic (Do re mi fa so la ti do) scale, though multiple octaves can be present. Multiple accordions for different keys are necessary.
Many different accordions were developed in Europe throughout the 19th century, and exported worldwide. Accordions were brought to Acadiana in the 1890s and became popular by the early 1900s (decade), eventually becoming a staple of Cajun music.
Many of the German factories producing diatonic accordions for the United States market were destroyed during World War II. As a result, some Cajuns, began producing their own instruments, based on the popular one-row German accordions but with modifications to suit the nuances of the Cajun playing style. Since the end of World War II, there has been a surge in the number of Cajun accordion makers in Louisiana, as well as several in Texas
Marc Savoy, who we will hear in just a moment, is a musician, builder & player of Cajun Accordion. Which is totally an understatement. Marc, along with The Savoy Family band, have deep roots in Louisiana, cajun music and the history of its instruments, culture, and repertoire. They are from, and continue to keep these sounds alive.
This is Marc Savoy on accordion, Dewey Balfa on fiddle & D.L. Menard (The Cajun Hank Williams) on Guitar. The tune is Lake Arthur Stomp.
So often, the accordion is found singing with fellow sustain tone instruments, as we’ve heard in the last 2 tracks, the bowed string of the fiddle and bellow reeds of accordion are very sweet together, in the next one, we have a woodwind reed, Clarinet, next to the steel, leather & wax reeded accordion.
The time signature is really cool in this one, 9/8, but with multiple groupings of 2 & 3 instead of our western “slip jig” intuition counting of 3 groups of 3.
Guy Klucevsek is one of the world’s most versatile and highly-respected accordionists. I only heard about him this week when we watched a documentary on NY based accordion culture called “Accordions Rising” which I have linked in the resource page. You can watch it for free!
He has premiered over 50 solo accordion pieces, including his own, as well as those he has commissioned from other notable composers. He plays a piano style accordion, and has emailed back and forth with Wendy several times already, so if you like this track do send him an email, he’s seems like a really cool human.
This tune is called Grooved Shoulders. You can find it on iTunes, I'm not sure if you can get a digital copy elsewhere at this time.
And for our final feature of the evening, would I even be me if I didn’t sing the praises of Accordion in Western Swing.
This neat little number is from my archive, but can be found online on the 1976 release “the Best of Pee Wee King & Redd Stewart” as well as the 1990 Pee Wee King's Country Hoedown: 51 Unreleased Recordings on 2 CDs from Blood Shot Records
This recording was made circa 1952 for Standard Radio Transcription Services and is part of a series of recordings designed for sale or lease to radio stations around the country. The music heard here assumes sharper perspective when it is recalled that the early 1950s was the era of Hank Williams and his deep-dyed honky tonk sound, and of Bill Monroe and his bold experimentations with the emerging bluegrass sound.
Pee Wee King is the Accordionist here, to me this track speaks to many wonderful hours and the connection you build when you play music with the same folks for many years, or have many shared roots and understandings in your playing. This is a piece of music that is great for the listener, and I imagine grew from much joy in playing it. In searching for information for this track today, I found a new treasure trove of information on western swing that I definitely didn’t have time to dive into but am looking forward to exploring before the next Radio hour
This is Subdued Mood - Pee Wee King
What does 1919 have to say in 2021? Is there music for this time that we are traveling through? Are there artists that have created art that can speak to this insane journey?
We are going to start with a composition by someone who is most definitely not my favourite composer.
Piano-Rag-Music is a composition for piano solo by Russian-born composer, pianist, conductor Igor Stravinsky,
written in 1919. Stravinsky, who had, by that time, emigrated to France after his studies with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov in Russia, was confronted with American jazz combos actively influential in Europe. Stravinsky interprets the ragtime in a rather cubist way,
Stravinsky wrote the piece for Arthur Rubinstein, who didn’t particularly like it and wouldn’t play it in his programs, which caused a wee bit of tension between him and Stravinsky.
And so, who now, shall perform this for us tonight? Rubinstein refuses,
So we will turn to 28 year old Magdalena Müllerperth, from Germany, a very talented and currently active musician who I'm sure will be happy to take the gig. This is off her 2019 release “Stravinsky & Hindemith: Works for Piano” and so we gather, in the concert halls of our own homes, to take in a piece of music written in 1919, performed in 2019, Composed as the world grappled with a pandemic, and now taken in at a mid point, a turning point in our own time of navigating these things.
I am curious to hear how you feel about this piece, I was surprised by my own reaction to it, coming from my grudging history of hearing Stravinsky “As Music Student”, to hearing Stravinsky as “Fellow traveller reflecting on the present situation of the world”
Should you wish to purchase this track you can find her music on iTunes,
Can I Sleep in your Barn Tonight Mister?
Charlie Poole - Of “moving day’ fame ( I will link to that ridiculousness here)
‘North Carolina music in the first half of the twentieth century reflected Americans' interest in a burgeoning new genre—country music. While what is now known as "country music" existed before the 1900s, "the form came into being as a commercial enterprise in the 1920s". Based on "traditional ballads and folk songs," country music featured often melancholy lyrics, a distinctive twang, and instruments such as the banjo to explore the problems and challenges of the day, including Prohibition, the effects of the Great Depression, and racial tensions.
Perhaps no country singer from this time period is better known than Charlie Poole. Poole, who along with the North Carolina Ramblers, was known as "one of the most popular string bands of the 1920s . . . had a great influence on the development of bluegrass music”. Poole helped to popularize the banjo and "created a unique playing style involving his thumb and two fingers". The son of poor millworkers, Poole was unable to buy a banjo and thus began playing on a banjo he made himself out of a gourd. His music still resonates with listeners today, as evidenced by the annual Charlie Poole festival in North Carolina.
Poole and the North Carolina Ramblers made their first record in 1925 and "Can I Sleep in Your Barn Tonight Mister" was one of the first releases (Rorrer). The record sold 102,451 copies at a time when the "average sales for a Columbia country music record . . . was about 5,000" https://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/barn/summary.html
And tonight we are going to support the wonderful Caleb Klauder & Reeb Wilms from the Pacific Northwest.
This wonderfully historic sounding duo have taken the deep dive into technology and are adapting to online lessons, live streams and merchandising during the last year.
This track is from their 2014 release “Oh Do You Remember”, that has been one of the 4 CDs on rotation in my car for the last 6 years. Their music ranges from back woods/singing into tin can oldtimey to western swing and honky tonk. Their albums usually feature a mix of old standards and new compositions that meld together seamlessly. This particular track is at the old time edge of the spectrum, so if you like a more slick, twin fiddle, steel guitar sound do check out their other recordings.
You can purchase their music directly from their website, it is easy to download/paypal check out, there are 7 albums to choose from, and you can listen to samples of them all, purchase full albums or tracks individually.
This next one is a popular song published in 1919 by Fred Fisher, who wrote the lyrics for the music written by Felix Bernard and Johnny S. Black.
Bandleader Ben Selvin recorded "Dardanella" for several record labels (including Victor and Paramount), and by some estimates, his recordings of the tune sold a combined total of more than five million copies. His main recording was made for Victor on November 20, 1919 under the name of Selvin's Novelty Orchestra. It was released a week later and began to sell really well in December 1919 to top the charts in January 1920.
Tonight I am going to feature a wonderful arrangement, "Dardanella"
by one of our very own
From the album All's Fair in Love and Jazz
Chris Davis - trumpet
Connor Stewart - clarinet
Josh Roberts - guitar
Jen Hodge - bass
Martí Elias - drums
You can purchase for download or CD at https://jenhodgebass.bandcamp.com/album/alls-fair-in-love-and-jazz
You could probably also send her an email and an etransfer if you’re looking for a hard copy and then she’d get all the dough. firstname.lastname@example.org
To end the night with a shimmy as promised, we are going to get “I wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate”
Published in 1919, Written by Armand J Piron, this is a fun little number that has been recorded by everyone under the sun, from Bob Wills to Connee Boswell to Betty Grable and beyond
For over a decade, before swing music became hip once again, trumpeter Eli Preminger has been bringing the joyous sound of New Orleans jazz to the Israeli crowd. As a soloist, bandleader and member of several ensembles such as Marsh Dondurma, Eli performed on some of the most prestigious stages in Israel and around the world, such as the Red Sea Jazz Festival, the Israel Festival, the Jewish Music Festival in Krakow and the Montreal Jazz Festival.
This particular recording features Tamar Korn, and correct me if I’m wrong a Loyd Arntzen verse variation.
and it is so fun, and man, it’ll totally make you shimmy like sister Kate.
I wish I could Shimmy Like my Sister Kate -
Eli & The Chocolate Factory
Hot jazz from Tel Aviv, featuring vocalist Tamar Korn from NY.
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released May 17, 2019
Eli Preminger - trumpet
Amnon Ben Artsi - trombone
Tal Kuhn – bass
Rani Birenbaum – drums
Ilan Smilan – banjo
Jess Koren - saxophone
Tamar Korn - Vocals
If you would like to hear this one or purchase it follow the link below:
So here we are. It is December 28th, and our last music appreciation for the year of 2020, and what a year it has been.
Our landscape of music has changed dramatically, and that is to be expected. We’ve risen to the challenge of learning new technologies, tried to adapt our old habits and joys, and been faced with the reality of what is possible.
some of us have had all the time in the world to play or sing, and none of the energy or creative drive to o so. Some of us have no time, but the wish to do so. Some of us, and this is particularly true for me have swung wildly between feeling inspired and driven to create, full of solutions and ideas, and then melted into a soggy mess of despondency and despair and depression.
There are no ‘shoulds’ for our creative selves in this time. Please do not let that voice shame you if you feel you should be creating art.
what I want to give you tonight are some avenues of possibility, ways of being musical that you may feel drawn to exploring in the coming year.
The thing is, you’re already doing one of them. You’re here, right now, and that’s enough
A wonderful and achievable goal for all of our ukulele and guitar players, if you want to learn this specific tune, I will link to a resource on youtube, of a free tab/sheet music and video lesson of this piece. Even if you only learn the first 4 bars. It will be worth it. You can do it
But this avenue is ‘ find a goal for your music, a skill you would like to develop, a particular song you would like to learn, something specific. something you can break into smaller steps and work through, and be ok with slow progress. Take advantage of the resources available. Youtube has so much to offer you. and you are descerning students. IF the lesson isn’t jiving, if the teacher doesn’t seem like someone you want to listen to. Then head to the next one.
I’m going to read clemmys intro to this piece, from “Year of Wonder” By Clemency Burton Hill
Find something simple, that you already know, or you can learn easily in a sitting, and do it a million times. Use it as a meditation to block out all other distractions. Be mindful if you share a space. maybe warn your peeps that it might be a good time to go for a walk. and do the thing you know how to do well, and do it many times.
This is a wonderful meditation of an old time tune called “old Granny Blair’ that I learned in the middle of a field in the middle of the night at a music festival from my friend justin hoffenberg.
This is Pharis and Jason Romero From the album “back up and push’
If you are someone who really benefits from accountability, one of those folks like me who needs a gig, or a lesson or a performance to actually get their shit together to practice then I would suggest finding a fellow human and either do a “show and tell” once a week, jump on zoom, show where you are at in the process, it can be short, they show you where they are at even if no progress is made at least you did the thing.
Or - Learn a song, devide and conquer, one person figures out chords, one figures out lyrics, teach the parts to each other. Learn both parts. Just do one song. do it so many times that you can take turns playing it on zoom with the other person muted. then switch. For a moment, one at a time, you will get to play together.
This is Jo Miller & Laura Love Singing Blue Railroad Train Blues from the album Jo Miller & Laura Love Sing Bluegrass & Old Time
You don’t need to play. let the dust gather on the case, on the vocal chords. Explore the possibilities of the whole of the history of recorded music at your fingertips. available.
Find an album, Make sure it’s THE WHOLE ALBUM.
Set it up on what ever device you use, to listen, one with no adds or interruptions.
turn all ringers off.
cover all screens
Lie down in the middle of the floor.
and press play,
do not get up to unload the dishwasher.
or fold the laundry.
Lie on the floor and listen to the whole damn thing, all the way through.
Do this once a week,
Do this every day,
Spend the whole weekend,
If you need ideas on albums to listen to I’ll start a list, we can all contribute to it and I’ll post it.
This week in honour of Tony Rice We’re going to listen to the titile track of church street blues. But I may just lie on the floor after this call and listen through the whole shebang.
Tony Rice - Church Street Blues
What do we do?
Join us to be inspired by music from around the world, no preparation, prerequisites, or practicing required. I’ll read a short composer bio, highlight some historically relevant material or interesting context, we’ll listen to a piece of music, and then take the time to reflect on what we heard, ask questions, and explore.