Friday, June 25, 2010

Just a quick observation

Don’t get me wrong I like a bowling shirt, sun glasses and cool hat as much as the next guy....
However if you find yourself in this uniform, playing to a roomful of khaki wearing audience members who have their IPHONE’s clipped to their belt you may be playing a I IV V or a 12 bar progression....but you aint playing the blues.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A press release from The Ten Foot Polecats

June 21, 2010


Media Contacts:
Jim Chilson (Ten Foot Polecats)
Phone: 781-258-2471

Keith Mallette (Hillgrass Bluebilly Records)

Ten Foot Polecats CD Release Party at Club Bohemia – Saturday July 17, 2010
Boston area CD Release Party for Ten Foot Polecats “I Get Blamed For Everything I Do”

Cambridge, MA, July 17, 2010 - Ten Foot Polecats have announced that they will be hosting their Boston area CD Release Party for their current CD “I Get Blamed For Everything I Do” on Hillgrass Bluebilly Records (Austin TX). Although their CD was officially released on March 23, 2010 (physical) and May 4, 2010 (downloads), Ten Foot Polecats have been on tour throughout the Midwest, South, and Mid Atlantic so this will be their comeback appearance to the Boston area.

So far this year Ten Foot Polecats have played a lot of notable shows, both regionally and across the Eastern United States. Some of these shows include Muddy Root Festival outside of Nashville in May, Heavy Rebel Weekender X in North Carolina scheduled for July 4th, and earlier this year in Cambridge played and organized a sold out show (in a monsoon!!) on February 25th at PA’s Lounge in Cambridge with James “T-Model” Ford. They have also made tour stops and have scheduled tour stops upcoming in Connecticut, New York, Ohio, New jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia. Some of the many venues in Boston and Worcester they have played include: The Middle East, Harper’s Ferry, The Lizard Lounge, The Lucky Dog Music Hall, Johnny D’s, Gilrein’s, Porter Belly’s, The Dive Bar, Oliver’s Nightclub, Club Bohemia, and more.

The CD “I Get Blamed For Everything I Do”, since it’s download release date of May 4th, has made appearances in the blues chart list on both Amazon and iTunes. Some of the charts placements are as follows:

#11 (Amazon-USA) most downloaded Blues song: “Chicken Head Man” – week of June 5th, 2010
#164 (iTunes-USA) most downloaded Blues CD: “I Get Blamed For Everything I Do” – week of June 5th, 2010
#3 (iTunes-Italy) most downloaded Blues song: “I’m Goin’ Crazy” – week of May 22nd, 2010
#4 (iTunes-Italy) most downloaded Blues song: “Big Road” - week of May 22nd, 2010
#6 (iTunes-Italy) most downloaded Blues song: “Brokenhearted” - week of May 22nd, 2010

The CD and band has also drawn well received reviews in such publications as Big Rock Candy Mountain (Chicago), American Blues News (New York), Blues Blast Magazine (Chicago), My Joog (Virginia) and locally in The Boston Phoenix (review by Ted Drozdowski), Boston Blues Booze and BBQ, and The Boston Blues Society, and more.

Details of the July 17th CD Release Party:

Saturday July 17 – 9pm $10 cover
CLUB BOHEMIA – downstairs at The Cantab Lounge
738 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge MA

9pm The Tin Thistles
10pm Smokestack and The Foothill Fury
12am King Sickabilly

King Sickabilly (Providence RI) from Sasquatch and The Sickabillys fame, will join us for his one man band version of his rebel roots as he brings original gut wrenching lyrics and untamed sounds via his throat, hands, and feet.
Smokestack and The Foothill Fury (Georgia – I think) bring his trash country and Hasil Adkins-esque style music and stage show to Boston for a stop on his 24/7/365 touring schedule.
The Tin Thistles (Boston MA) Local curators of some Electric Boston Oi Folk and Punk. Young and aggressive, take no prisoners attitude.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Blues aint dead, just certain conceptions should die

The Blues aint dead, just certain conceptions should die

“Today's blues music isn't only steeped in the past; it's anchored to it. During the performances before and during the banquet, I could trace to almost every song, instrumental solo or vocal style I heard its originator or its most celebrated proponent—and I'm far from an expert on the history of the blues. These tales of heartache, oppression and fleeting joy sounded all too familar.

According to Jay Sieleman, the Blues Foundation's executive director, most blues fans aren't looking for something new. "We all don't want the blues to be the same ol', same ol'," he said, "but it'd better be close."

So, really this is a tired old argument. Music critics and music academics will debate the point over and over and over and over and over again about the future of the blues. In between hand wringing they will write white paper after white paper either discussing the future of the blues or the death of the blues, all the while not getting out to support the next generation of The Blues. In my own, not-so-humble opinion if they want to continue the debate on which guy is going to be the next Eric Clapton, the next Jimi Hendrix while not embracing the new up-and-coming acts then the blues are dead. Let them go, stop pumping bullets in the dead horse and let this piece of Americana slip away.

Sure, the 12 bar blues progression is really something which the majority of audience in the world want to hear. It is familiar, and what is familiar is comfortable as it allows the performer and listener to not to think.  The conveying of emotion of can not always be done by perfunctory routine.

Here is a little secret though that those of us in-the-know have already come to grips with and only some of us are willing to share. The Blues are much more than a 12 Bar progression. It is a cathartic experience, a connection to the harder aspects of personal life that all of us experience, yet few can actually connect with in the context of music of life in general.

If you’re looking for the rock solid 12-bar progression, then again, perhaps the blues need to die. If you are looking for The Blues to be that predictable piece, then you’re missing too much...and those of us who really appreciate The Blues want you to just go away...Ivy Leaguers looking to analyze each note need not is OK to get caught up in the moment.  It is OK to play blues which does not happen to be three chords in a predictable blueprint.

The future of The Blues lies right out there in front of us all. It may not be the 12-Bar progression reproduced by Ivy Leaguers, or guitar shredders who cop Buddy Guys licks try to pass them off as their own, but it’s there. The current crop of The Blues is now blended seamlessly with Country and Folk (I.E Watermelon Slim, Kent Burnside), Punk (Black Keys, Ten Foot Polecats, Illinois John Fever, or many other Hillgrass Bluebilly artis), trance blues (Scissormen, the Fat Possum label before they started working in the college alternative bands), but it is still there man, it's still there.

So, while The Blues (or at least good Blues) will never be part of the main stream, I plan on still getting out to as many good shows as possible while desperately to get a room on a Blues Cruise. While I may not appreciate every different incarnation of Stevie Ray Vaughn attempting to pass themselves off as new and different I yearn to find that next Scott H Biram or Otis Taylor....

So, seriously, if you are looking for the next Clapton (or the current Clapton Blow Bonnamassa) then I am not the guy you wanna read. If you’re looking for something new, different and great, then I hope to hip you all to something new and different.

Cause that's why I am here.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

10 Shots with Gracie B Curran

When people with a respected musical opinion tell me to check out another artist, I am usually all ears.  I’m fortunate to have a strong connection of friends and mentors who know enough not to waste my time...
That’s how I met “Gracie B” Curran.  After hearing great things from all of the right people about Gracie B, by chance I had a chance to see & hear her sitting in with Blind Billy & The Spectacles.  Having ripped through an outstanding rendition of “Kansas City”, Gracie B came back out into the audience to have a few beers with the disassembled masses....
In between Pabst pints, Gracie B said all of the right things about music, I was awful fortunate to have such a strong musical network of musicians....only then did I let her know I was the man behind the wayfarers...
In between rehearsals for their upcoming gig at Mari's Place ( in Quincy Mass on Saturday, June 12th ( 9PM to 2AM) Gracie B had a chance to step up to the bar and do Ten Shots....
As always with Ten Shots this is the artist in their own words...
Georgetown Fats - Tell me about how you got your start in music? 
Gracie B - My mom was the choir director at our church. There was always music in our house, I've always love to sing. My dad and I would stay up real late; sit at the kitchen table and he'd tell me about seeing Janis Joplin, or Bob Dylan back in the day down the cape... seeing the obvious effect it had on him- made me want be that singer that dad's tell their daughters about. And the first time I sang with a live band, I knew I was ruined for anything else... 
Georgetown Fats - In addition to singing, I hear you have also begun tooting away at a blues harp?  How is it going for you?
Gracie B - I'll be honest its not sounding too great. Horrible actually. But check back in with me after my lesson with Blind Billy. Perhaps after I’ll suck a bit less. Or more, maybe thats the problem, I don't suck hard enough? oooh man...
GF - So do you play any other instruments?
Gracie - I was recently inspired to buy a Hammond M3. We'll see how that goes after I get to know her a bit better. Unfortunately my lack of coordination, awkwardness, and clumsiness may it difficult for me to play an instrument. I'm still working on being able to sing and tambo at the same time... I'm working on it though!
GF - Tell me about some of your musical inspirations, are they all blues artists? 
Gracie - I just feel blues differently then most other genres of music.  
I grew up with the Beatles, Carly Simon, Bette Midler, and Janis Joplin- but when I heard Ray Charles' "I Got a Woman" the first time, I knew I was in love with the blues and soul, and I couldn't get enough-
Then, I think it was going to record stores that made me dig deeper- I love the sound of vinyl. In a way just the medium alone led me to get an education and discover more blues and soul artists and albums.
People would give me mix CDs (which is the best gift ever)- and just talking to other musicians, what they like, what they think you should check out... then you hear Robert Johnson and Son House along the journey- its so simple but so honestly emotive. You take the influence and inspiration that comes from whatever gives you that feeling, and then you do your best to relay that emotion and feeling yourself- 
I love everything from Etta, to the Black Keys and something I particularly appreciated about Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings was that they specifically recorded on equipment that would give them a certain timelessness. You listen to the album and you wouldn't think it was recorded recently. The band is just smokin'... 
GF - What is the hardest part for you with the business aspect of music? 
Gracie - At the moment its really the desire to play original music. The blues and soul are so much about emotion, it just feels inauthentic to do covers or covers of covers. And at the same time, its a lot of fun to play tunes that everyone knows and sings along to. I guess just finding the balance between satisfying the crowd and being satisfied creatively and hopefully one day that will be with originals and not Mustang Sally. 
GF - Do you have any musical horror/funny stories you would like to share?  Please feel free to  emit any names of any guilty or clueless parties.
Gracie -We filled in last minute for a gig at Copperfields in Boston. It was a Thursday night in September. Two people came out to see our band that night. One guy was hammered, insisting he was a gypsy who very much enjoyed gyrating in my face (one leg on the stage even, a lot of thrusting). The other was intently watching us intently from the bar, sipping his Pabst Blue Ribbon and shooting Jack. When it came time to "work the crowd" at the end of the show, it was either talk to the gypsy or the guy at the bar in the High On Fire T Shirt. I chose the guy at the bar, we started talking and we've been dating for three years now. When we fight I remind him that I could have picked the gypsy. 
GF - How long have you been working with ‘The High Falutin’ Band’, and how did you meet the guys?
Gracie - Me and the High Falutin' fellas have been playing together now for a few months. I met Geoff Murfitt about four years back, he's a sick sick bass player but he's also just a good time, super laid back. I've known Tommy for a while now too and  still I think I’ve only seen probably 17% of what he can do so Im looking forward to seeing the other 83%. (is that right? math wise?). As a singer its easy to get sucked into a situation where you play with different players every night, whatever lineup you can grab. This is an attempt to make something that can grow and evolve into something good and its own. These are great guys and great musicians; I'm learning a lot, we have fun, play well together and Im looking forward to seeing where it goes. 
GF - Are there any plans to take ‘The High Falutin’ Band’ into the studio anytime soon?
Gracie - I hope so. I was laid off in February from my "day job" right after I started playing with Geoff and Tom. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason so I just decided to kick the writing up a few notches and throw all my focus into music. I'm hoping we can introduce more and more original tunes as we go. So I guess by 2015-ish we'll be playing all our own stuff. Ha. 
GF - If memory serves me correct, you’re hosting an open mic on Tuesdays.  What locale, and how has the turnout been?

Gracie - I hosted an open mic in Back Bay for a while. Like a hundred Berklee kids every week- it was pretty fucking entertaining but pretty intense. The vibe at the My House Lounge on Tuesday nights is much different. Very relaxed and chill. Its right outside of Quincy center and it doesn't cost $12 for a Jack and coke so Im a happy camper. We've had a great crowd - I think the best part of an open mic is you never know what someone is going to pull outta of their back pocket. Like the Susan Boyle effect. You just never know who in the crowd will get up and blow you away. 
GF - A ‘Janis Joplin’ cocktail is made with Southern Comfort, Sprite, and has a salted rim.  Walk me through how someone would make themselves a ‘Gracie Curran’ cocktail.
Gracie - I'd have to say Root beer and Jack Daniels in a frosty mug. With a Prilosec chaser. Now thats badass! 
GF - What magazine or publication will it be to run a story about you which will let you know you’ve made it?
Gracie - Time Magazine. They don't mess around and I like their music reviews. If you're in there, you must be pretty legit. Obviously if you make it into Rolling Stone, things are probably going pretty well. High Times would just be a nice big soap box to stand on. Granted I'm pretty jazzed about this 10 Shots article :)
I think the first time I hear myself on the radio is when Ill feel like I really succeeded or even playing the main stage at the House of Blues- We'll see. 
GF - Van Halen used to request bowls of M&M’s with the brown M&M’s plucked out, Dustin Diamond won’t let comedy clubs mention he was “Screech” when promoting his comedy routine, what amusing thing is or will be in your contract rider?  
Gracie - I don't really dig the diva-ness of all that, I'm easy. I like all M&M's equally.
Georgetown Fats - Is it possible to ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ if you’re not wearing pants?
Gracie Curran - Being Pantless is wonderful, and in itself makes you feel like you are flying-  If you see me in a skirt its purely for the breeze... 
Thanks again to Gracie B for being such a good sport, and for having the chops and willingness to get a little weird.  For more info on Gracie B & The High Falutin’ Band check them out at;