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April 2009 Archives

April 15, 2009

Detaxify Yourself

Well, you've paid your taxes, so you need a drink, and some good music. All the bands out there need your tips in a big way, and the bars need your drinking habits. So you know what to do, right? All the information you need is right here.

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Doug's Birthday Jam

I didn't bring the good camera, but Doug Hatt (in Hatt in photo) held a great birthday jam at Nolita House on Monday night. It was strange to be there when it was dark outside, but the music was great, Doug's brother came in from Michigan (and quite a few people waved at him repeatedly until they realized he was not, in fact, Doug), and we played until last call.

April 5, 2009

The Plunk Brothers CD Release Party

And a lot of special guests. Bob Jones and Boo Reiners, otherwise known as the Plunk Brothers, had a CD release party at Jalopy last night. Their first set consisted entirely of songs from their brand new CD, Two Guitarists and a Microphone, which is not available online yet but hopefully will be soon. It's 40 minutes of wonderful guitar duets and harmony singing. Their live shows are a joy to watch and that spirit comes through on the recording.

In the second set they invited a series of guest stars up to play with them, including frequent singing partner Jen Larson, and also Trip Henderson, Ben Fraker, Elena Skye, the Sheriff of Good Times, and me. It was great fun and a great honor to play with them and a wonderful night overall.

April 4, 2009

Del Rey!

Yes, I'm a Del Rey groupie. Last night I went to the Good Coffeehouse in Brooklyn to see my second show this week -- even though Bruce Molsky was playing at Jalopy and Trip and Emily were opening.

Del is not nearly as famous as she should be. You could pile every well-known living blues guitarist on one side of a balance scale, and put her on the other, and they'd all have to be scraped off the ceiling.

She's a complete master of traditional fingerstyle guitar, but takes it to all sorts of places that the originators of that style -- Blind Blake, Gary Davis, etc -- never dreamed of. Last night, along with clarinetist Craig Flury, she played hot 20s jazz, two calypso numbers, several mind-bending original tunes, and old tunes for which she wrote new lyrics because she thought the original words were stupid.

She's a virtuoso, playing sophisticated jazz fingerings with all sorts of counterrhythms and moving bass lines, all at lightning speed, relaxed and smiling the whole time, or raising an eyebrow at her guitar as if it had considered talking back to her. Her lead playing is mostly beyond my comprehension; if I could play rhythm backing the way she does I'd be happy. Very happy.

Here she is doing a classic blues, and here she is doing a duet with Steve James, a ragtime tribute to many great guitarists including her hero Memphis Minnie.

April 1, 2009

Roots Music Bailout!

Thanks to the passage of the recent roots-music bailout bill, all jams listed below are now paid gigs. Payment depends on the instrument: singers and bass players make the most, followed by melody instruments like mandolin and fiddle. Guitarists are paid on a sliding scale based on volume and ratio of correct chords. Banjo players are paid on a sliding scale depending how many other instruments they bring. Harmonica players can collect tips, but only in a standard Marine Band harmonica case. The offer is good today only, so get out there and play.

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April 2009

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