Editor’s note: while the creator and regular author of this column, MOLD Man, wiles away the time in a dark, dank jail cell in Lithuania, retired and erstwhile Almost Daily News writer Larry Carlin (in the photo above) has stepped in to fill the void here a few days each week.
Friday, April 18, 2014
Hippity, hoppity, Easter’s on its way! The staff here at MOLD World Headquarters wishes everyone a nice Easter weekend, however you chose to celebrate it. This is a special religious occasion for many, and for others it is a time to get together with family. Heck, in some locations this Sunday is also a time for an annual bluegrass pickin' party. How this weekend ever became affiliated with chocolate rabbits and dyed eggs is unknown to us. Speaking of which, here are some scary photos to get you in the mood for the Easter holiday. While it is impossible to tell, hopefully no CBA members are in any of these shots…
Easter egg hunt, adult version. Speaking of Easter, here is a photo for an egg hunt that you must be at least 21 years of age to participate in. It is hardly your traditional fare, yet from this vantage point at Friday morning at the end of a hectic week, it does look tempting...
Nuns just wanna have fun. Last week in this column there was a video posted of an Irish priest who did a great job of singing a modified version on Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" song at a wedding. This week it is 25-year-old Italian singing nun Cristina Scuccia singing a duet of Cyndi Lauper's hit "Girls Just Want To Have Fun." You will have to see/hear this to believe it. We never had nuns like this in my grade school...
Singing from the grave. Even though he has been dead for over six decades, country music pioneer Hank Williams Sr. will be putting out a new album next month that will feature some previously unreleased material. Read the details here.
Milestone. Yesterday was the 77th birthday of everyone’s favorite animated drake, Daffy Duck. Check out his first Warner Brothers cartoon, where he has yet to become the star of the show. What is the musical connection here, you may be wondering? Well, just make sure that you notice the instrument that the creature in the boat is playing starting at 3:55 minutes in…
To be or not tuba? An enterprising (yet apparently not very bright for one of them being a music teacher ) couple from New York was caught recently stealing tubas and other instruments from the gal’s school which they then sold at pawn shops in order to get cash to help pay for their heroin habit. She also stole and sold a school computer too. Speaking of tubas, if you have never seen musician/comedian Martin Mull’s version of his song “Dueling Tubas,” you need to invest two minutes of your time right here right now…
Bad rap. We’ve heard of some wild publicity stunts over the years, but this one takes the cake. Either that or this guy just had a bad day. A rapper (we refuse to use the words “rap” and “artist” together) named Andre Johnson not only dismembered himself, he also jumped out of a two-story building and survived. Heck, he should have gone up a few more stories to save us from the comeback album and tour. He will, however, be singing in a much higher pitch than ever before...
Worst city for country music? That, according to this web site of questionable merit, is The City By The Bay, San Francisco! It came in at #50 out of, uh, 50, as the worst big city to find live country music. Proudly, it is also the worst when it comes to NASCAR, hunting, firearms and pickup trucks. But hey, the survey didn’t ask about bluegrass! There is a decent amount of that happening on a semi-regular basis…
West Marin fiddling. Blaine Sprouse is an amazing fiddler with a pedigree that will make your head spin. Check out his resume on his web site. He now lives in West Marin County, and he is also currently a member of Peter Rowan’s Bluegrass Band, so you will see him when the band plays at Grass Valley in June. Blaine will be playing a show this weekend that features a stellar supporting cast. Here is the description from the Marin Independent Journal: “Originally from West Virginia, Blaine Sprouse was born to be a fiddler. After starting with a glued-together instrument he found in a dumpster, Spouse moved to a proper fiddle and bow at age 11. He honed his craft by following Bill Monroe's band around regional bluegrass festivals. Sprouse's masterful style gained attention on Alabama's hit country single ‘If You're Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band).’ He plays his signature fiddle, along with some guitar and mandolin, in a show blending bluegrass, swing, jazz and folk with guests including Tim Weed, Sharon Gilchrist and Paul Knight at 8 p.m., April 19th, at the Dance Palace at 503 B St. in Point Reyes Station. Tickets are $10 to $20. Call 415-663-1075.”
Just duet! Laurie Lewis and her partner/mandolinist Tom Rozum are playing some duo shows this weekend with Melody Walker and Jacob Groopman. They will be at the Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley on the 18th, and at the Auburn Placer Performing Arts Center on the 19th. You can also read stories about Laurie in the Paradise Post (where Jacob’s last name is incorrectly spelled) and in the Synthesis Weekly.
Bluegrass Bonanza in SF. There will be a veritable cornucopia of bluegrass at the Plough & Stars in San Francisco this weekend. On Friday the 18th The Kentucky Twisters will be playing the Bluegrass Bonanza series, and then on the 19th it will be a twin bill featuring Canyon Johnson and Mountain Dojo.
Weekend fun. If you are looking for some bluegrass or many other kinds of acoustic music this weekend, just go to KALW (91.7 FM) bluegrass radio show host Peter Thompson’s Bluegrass Signal web site and you will have no trouble filling your social calendar. Be sure to tune in to hear Peter on Saturday the 19th from 6:30-8 p.m. This week’s show is titled Cry From the Cross, in honor of Easter weekend, featuring some highlights from Ralph Stanley's classic 1971 album, plus some of his other gospel recordings from the same era.
Man in the know from Music Row. Raconteur and music maven Randy Pitts of Nashville is this column’s frequent and knowledgeable CD reviewer. Here is a rumination along with two more of his reviews:
I was reminded on reading in the MOLD News column on Wednesday of Natalie MacMaster, niece of Buddy (the Bill Monroe of cape Breton fiddle). Larry Carlin posted a link to a video there of Natalie playing music and dancing with her four young children that is a must see (watch it here). I was lucky to be involved with three shows involving Natalie in the ‘90s while I was living in the SF/Bay Area. One at MLK High School in Berkeley involving Joe Wilson and The NCTA, a Masters Of The Fiddle tour (with Michael Doucet, Claude Williams, and Brendan Mulvihill), one at the middle Freight of a Celtic fiddle evening with Brian McNeill and Martin Hayes in addition to Natalie (two nights, one of my favorite shows of all time), and one at The Julia Morgan Center, which featured Natalie and her band. She not only was – and is – beautiful and a talented fiddler and singer, but she could and did fiddle, and moonwalk backwards, across the stage while she was doing it...fond memories...made me feel good to see her with her young children, even the smallest of whom already has great tone and technique on the fiddle...
Randog's Daily Pick 4/16/2014
Jimmy Arnold Riding With Ol' Mosby
"He was one of the most interesting people I ever arrested," Eddie Dean quotes a detective who accosted multi-instrumentalist Jimmy Arnold in one of his many serious run-ins with the law during his lamentably short time on this earth. By all accounts a tortured soul, and who, for most of his brief life, found small solace in his musical genius, Arnold made other bluegrass bad boys look like Little Lord Fauntleroy. He is largely forgotten today, but one needs only to listen to this album to know that he was something special on at least three instruments – banjo, fiddle, and guitar – and was conversant with musical styles well beyond bluegrass. He plays both fiddle and banjo on Joe Sullivan's “Little Rock Getaway” here – and Mike Auldridge plays dobro(!), then moves on to “Panhandle Rag” on banjo, again with Auldridge, among others, does a solo turn of the classic Scott Joplin rags “The Entertainer/Maple Leaf Rag” on banjo, and sings, plays fiddle and guitar on his version of “My Home's Across The Blue Ridge Mountains” from the album many consider his masterpiece, Southern Soul. There are thirteen more songs, spanning pretty much the gamut of Southern string band music, from Stephen Foster's “Swanee River” (banjo and fiddle) to a Howdy Forrester (“Doc Harris' Hornpipe”), to a tune called “Tommy Jarrell” on banjo that was inspired by its namesake, to Jimmy's paean to fellow bad man “Jesse James,” also from Southern Soul. Lots of great music here, from a fascinating, nearly forgotten tragic figure. Backed by various bands, all excellent and wonderful stuff.
Randog's Daily Pick 4/17/2014
David Grier Freewheeling
I first became aware of David Grier when I heard a Country Gazette album called Strictly Instrumental, which was just that, and thought that band had happened on the best new bluegrass guitarist in ages...and they had, and you should get that album if you can. It is with this, his first album with his name out front, though, that David got a lot of people's attention. Six originals show off his versatility and melodic sense, and he plays four traditional numbers, “Angeline The Baker” (cool version), “Alabama Jubilee,” “Roanoke” (he burns it down), and “Gold Rush.” Wonderful accompanists include Stuart Duncan, Roland White, Sam Bush, Billy Joe Foster, Wyatt Rice, and Mark Schatz, who, in addition to his usual sterling bass playing, also displays his old-time banjo chops. From 1987...that long ago?
Comments, questions, quips and tips? Send an email to email@example.com. For more info than you need to know about designated MOLD columnist Larry Carlin, go to his Carltone web site.