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Showing posts from January, 2015

Box Set - Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection February 24, 2015

From a media release:

Smithsonian Folkways
Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection
February 24, 2015

Order the Lead Belly Box Set

Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection, the first career-spanning box set dedicated to the American music icon, will be released on February 24, 2015. The 140-page, large-format book includes 5 CDs with 108 tracks (16 previously unreleased), accompanied by historic photos and extensive notes.

Listen to a Sneak Preview of Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection including the previously unreleased song “Been So Long (Bellevue Hospital Blues)” at the link.

NPR’s Ann Powers says, “This is a powerful time to hear Lead Belly's voice again.” Read more from NPR and listen to the previously unreleased song, “I’m So Glad, I Done Got Over.”

Jazz/Pop CD Release: Arthur Fowler - What's Keeping Me Going (Indie - February 14, 2014)

CD Release:
Arthur Fowler - What's Keeping Me Going
(Indie - February 14, 2014)

Order/Buy the CD

Milwaukee born/Tokyo resident Arthur Fowler describes himself and his sound as acid folk singer/songwriter but I think that's a little too narrow a definition. His upcoming release features a range of styles from straight up jazz to bluesy to pop to rootsy folk.

Arthur ended up in Tokyo via a stint in Spain and has played with jazz bands and other ensembles in Spain, all over the U.S. and of course in his now home of Tokyo.

His lyrics are self aware and reflective and he sings in a nimble tenor with a pleasing soft edge and a nice range into his high end. There's a nice rhythmic pulse that fuels the groove running through the songs on this collection and he's paid a lot of attention paid to the musicianship. His own chops are solid, with some lovely fluid guitar lines in the first and title track, What’s Keeping Me Going. You can hear global influences even beyond his own Am…

dérangé Concert Series 'All Folked Up': intersection of Opera, Jazz, Folk & Canadian Contemporary February 12 2015 in Toronto

From a media release:

Off Centre Music Salon presents their inaugural dérangé concert
February 12, 2015

curated by Nico Dann & Ilana Zarankin
featuring Shepherds Heard, Hobsons Choice, Inna Perkis and Boris Zarankin with host Nate Renner

TORONTO (January 28, 2015) – Off Centre Music Salon celebrates its 20th Anniversary season by launching dérangé - a two-concert pilot project at the intersection of Canadian Contemporary, Classical, Jazz and Folk Music celebrating a more "out of line," interdisciplinary and creative approach to performing this repertoire. The first of these two concerts, ALL FOLKED UP, takes place on Thursday February 12, 2015 at 7 pm (with a pre-concert lobby reception beginning at 6:30pm) at Toronto’s The Music Gallery, 197 John Street.

What is folk music? It is music that appeals to the most basic human conditions: love and suffering, loss and happiness… In our northern hemisphere, it is often music that reflects the struggles that the natural …

Single Release: Liz Graham - Charcoal on a Canvas (Indie - Jan 9, 2015)

Single Release:
Liz Graham - Charcoal on a Canvas
(Indie - Jan 9, 2015)

Buy the single (name your price)

Liz Graham sold over 100,000 copies of her first album - called simply, Liz Graham - back in 1998. Despite charting on CMJ, Top 10 Women’s radio and Top 10 Music in the UK and Japan, touring with Lilith Fair and receiving a big label offer, life took a different turn in 2000 when a family member became ill.

She never stopped writing though and performed at small venues. Liz co-wrote and sang the techno song, “Daylight”, in the 2013 Dreamworks thriller, The Fifth Estate. Now she's back with a new album in the works (scheduled for release later this year) and a new single - Charcoal on Canvas.

I said “we’re not art yet,
I just don’t know what we are right now”

I say - you say is the back and forth motion that carries the sense of the song.

Don't you want to be in my gallery?
Don't you want you want somebody who can capture you on canvas..?
Charcoal on canvas

As someone who mak…

TD Discovery Series Spotlights Toronto Jazz Musicians - March 25 to April 30 2015

From a media release:

The TD Discovery Series Presents Live Music and Educational Performances Year-Round

Upcoming Dates:
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 – Alexander Brown CD release, Lula Lounge
Thursday, March 26, 2015 – Robi Botos CD release, Jazz Bistro
Saturday, April 25, 2015 – Tom Richards’ Riverrun 12-Hour Music Marathon, Beit Zatoun
Thursday, April 30, 2015 – Alex Goodman CD release, Jazz Bistro

Bringing fresh jazz to the forefront of the city’s music scene, the new TD Discovery Series will present year-round live music and educational performances featuring some of the best talent in the Toronto scene. Designed by Toronto Downtown Jazz, producers of the TD Toronto Jazz Festival, with the generous support of TD Bank Group, this new initiative encourages the creation, development, and presentation of unique, new programming by local jazz musicians.

“With the TD Discovery Series, we are excited to foster the development and growth of jazz in Toronto: emerging artists, perhaps unkn…

Soundstreams presents the Canadian premiere of THE WHISPER OPERA by David Lang February 26–March 1 2015 in Toronto

From a media release:

Canadian premiere: The Whisper Opera straight from NYC and Chicago
Soundstreams presents the Canadian premiere of
Words and music by David Lang
February 26–March 1, 2015
The Theatre Centre

The Pulitzer Prize-winning composer explores the tension between our private and online selves in an opera so intimate it can be experienced by just 52 people at a time.

Toronto – Soundstreams continues its 2014/2015 season with the Canadian premiere of American composer David Lang’s The Whisper Opera at Toronto’s newest live arts hub, The Theatre Centre, from February 26 to March 1. Straight from acclaimed performances in Chicago and New York, this extraordinary, contemplative, and haunting work will have a limited run of just six performances, and also marks the Canadian debuts of soprano Tony Arnold and New York’s International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE).

Inspired by the question “What if a piece were so quiet and intimate and so personal to the performers that yo…

From Nacional Records:Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra Celebrates 25th Anniversary With Release of 'Ska Me Forever' (February 10, 2015)

From a media release:

From Nacional Records:
Iconic Band Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra Celebrates 25th Anniversary With Highly-Anticipated Release of 'Ska Me Forever' (February 10, 2015)

Pre-order/Buy it here

Renowned Worldwide for Explosive Live Performances, Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra’s International Following Continues to Grow Through Extensive Global Touring

After decades of performing sold-out shows in Japan and in over 26 countries, legendary band Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra celebrates their 25th anniversary with the U.S. release of their new album, ‘Ska Me Forever” on vinyl and digital download on February 10th, 2015 with online pre-sale for the album going on now.

Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra’s 19th album boasts a dynamic blend of rock, jazz, ska and punk, and features the lead single “Wake Up!” with Asian Kung-Fu Generation. Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra also puts their playful and diverse spin on fan-favorite covers of Café Tacvba’s 'Eres,' Beethoven’s 'S…

Opera, Theatre, Dance & More - Spoleto Festival USA Announces 2015 Season

From a media release:

The 39th Season of America’s Premier Performing Arts Festival
is Scheduled for May 22 – June 7 in Charleston, South Carolina
2015 Festival Includes Three World Premieres and Three US Premieres

Check out the line-up here

CHARLESTON, SC - Festival General Director Nigel Redden has announced the program for the 39th annual Spoleto Festival USA, taking place May 22 through June 7, 2015. Held in Charleston, South Carolina, the Festival includes the world premiere of the opera Paradise Interrupted composed by Huang Ruo and designed and directed by visual artist Jennifer Wen Ma, the American premiere and first performances in over 350 years of Francesco Cavalli’s baroque opera Veremonda, l’amazzone di Aragona, and the first US performances of a new production of Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare’s Globe directed by the company’s Artistic Director Dominic Dromgoole and Tim Hoare.

• Tickets are available January 20 at o…

Canadian Stage announces Molly Parker to star in Harper Regan directed by Matthew Jocelyn March 1 - 22, 2015

From a media release:

Canadian Stage announces
Molly Parker to star in Harper Regan
directed by Matthew Jocelyn
March 1 - 22, 2015

Get Tickets

Toronto, ON –
Canadian Stage today announced that film and television star Molly Parker (Deadwood; House of Cards) will take to the stage for the Canadian premiere of Harper Regan at the Bluma Appel Theatre (27 Front St. E.) from Mar. 1 to 22. Parker will play the title role, with direction by Canadian Stage artistic & general director Matthew Jocelyn whose most recent production THIS (2013) was called, “one of the best plays of this or any other season” by NOW Magazine. Internationally renowned for portraying unconventional characters in both film and acclaimed television programs, this will be Parker’s first live theatre role in 18 years.

Harper Regan is written by English playwright Simon Stephens, known for his Olivier Award-winning adaptation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and the gritty dramas, Punk Rock and Port. Wh…

Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate On Tour in the US & Canada - Tour Begins January 29, 2015

From a media release:

Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate
On Tour in the US & Canada - Tour Begins January 29, 2015

Preview tracks & Buy the CD

• For updates, visit

Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate return to North America on the heels of a triumphant debut in 2014. After the release of their acclaimed album Faya by Cumbancha Discovery and a successful tour in the summer of 2014, Driscoll and Kouyate, backed by bassist John Railton and drummer James Breen, bring their electrifying collaboration to venues across the US and Canada starting January 29th.

The well-worn and often overblown expression "music is a common language" has never been more apropos in the case of Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate. Driscoll contributes the rapping, looping, beatboxing and songwriting talents he developed growing up in Syracuse, New York and during his own successful recording career. Kouyate, already a phenomenon in African music circles, has blown minds and ears …

New from Smithsonian Folkways: New Orleans Brass Bands: Through the Streets of the City (out January 27 2015)

From a media release:

New from Smithsonian Folkways: New Orleans Brass Bands: Through the Streets of the City (out January 27 2015)

Get an early listen

For more than a century, the signature sound of New Orleans has been the brass band — at once a source of celebration, collective expression, and community pride. On January 27th, Smithsonian Folkways will release the newly-recorded collection New Orleans Brass Bands: Through the Streets of the City, bringing together for the first time in one recording three musical generations that represent three dominant styles of brass bands. Featured are the classic sound of the Liberty Brass Band, the modern-yet-traditional Treme Brass Band, and the funk, rap, and “bounce” influenced Hot 8 Brass Band.

With the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaching in 2015, album producer and Liberty Band leader Dr. Michael White believes that the renewed interest in brass band music is due in part to a wider audience appreciating and pre…

Recently Released: Dave Plaehn - Radio Sister (Independent - December 8, 2014)

Recently Released:
Dave Plaehn - Radio Sister
(Independent - December 8, 2014)

Buy the album

Radio Sister is a recent release by veteran musician Dave Plaehn. Dave has been a working musician since the 1970's, eventually ending up in Oregon where he now makes his home. Dave has released three albums as a solo artist since 2008 and plays acoustic blues with slide guitarist, Jeff Hino, as a duo. He's played in a number of blues, rock and reggae bands and all of those stylistic influences show up on this release, his follow up to 2013's critically acclaimed Amos Got Soul.

The album begins with the laidback reggae vibe of I Want Love, a song lit up by a strident sax line. Dave's vocals are languid and sexy on this track - just what's  needed along with great backing vocals that nicely contrast his voice. The tracks continue in a jazzy thread with Nothing's Got A Hold On You.

He pays attention to the hooks and has been at the game long enough to make his music harmonic…