My wife and I spent the weekend in Savannah Georgia. It's a beautiful place full of history and mystery. Everywhere you go, it feels like the set of a film noir movie. Here's a picture from Forsyth Park in the heart of the city:
We're launching a new album giveaway for June! So don't forget to stop by the Win Stuffpage to sign up.
Go make some noise,
On episode 194 of the Americana Music Show, Brigitte DeMeyer plays track from Savannah Road and talks about working with Will Kimbrough and Jano Rix and how Gregg Allman inspired her. Also on this episode, rock & roll from the Hard Pans, newgrass from the Howlin’ Brothers, stringband music from Tumblin Bones, New Orleans street music from John Oates, dark rock from Ernest Troost, tinpan alley jazz from The Bumper Jacksons, blues rock from Jenni DeVoe, backporch music from Tommy Malone, and alt.folk from the Secret Sisters.
In May I had the pleasure of landing one of my “bucket list” interviews with Candi Staton. She is one of the few, earliest singers that defined and developed the sound we know today as “soul music.” She is one of the brightest stars to come out of Rick Hall's FAME studios in Muscle Shoals where it all began back in the 60's. And here today, in 2014, she's still releasing albums and she still knows how to create the emotional punch in a song that's so crucial to the soul sound. Candi says that every song on her latest album, Life Happens, is based on things she's experienced over the years, so it's also a glimpse into her life in addition to being a great example of that Muscle Shoals sound. I'm happy to announce that Candi Station's Life Happens is the giveaway album for June, courtesy of Megaforce.
Eden Brent plays “Boogaloo’s Boogie” which was taught to her by her mentor, Boogaloo Ames.
Man On Fire / Charlie Greene / Charlie Greene / 3:45
Honorable Women / Charlie Greene / Charlie Greene / 3:20
Everything Gets Me Down / Charlie Greene / Charlie Greene / 2:24
Loving a Fool / Tumbling Bones / Loving a Fool / 3:32
I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby / Tumbling Bones / Loving a Fool / 2:18
Money Is for Spending / Tumbling Bones / Loving a Fool / 3:46
Better This Way / Eden Brent / Jigsaw Heart / 4:11
I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free / Eden Brent / Jigsaw Heart / 4:09
Let's Go Ahead and Fall in Love / Eden Brent / Jigsaw Heart / 3:47
Tendin' to a Broken Heart / Eden Brent / Jigsaw Heart / 4:46
Longer Than You've Been Alive - not FCC clean / Old 97's / Most Messed Up /5:53
Give It Time / Old 97's / Most Messed Up / 3:23
Let's Get Drunk & Get It On / Old 97's / Most Messed Up / 3:04
Guadalajara / Old 97's / Most Messed Up / 2:53
Let's Get Drunk and Start a Fire / The Willies / Jazz Age Thump / 1:42
Living Hell / The Willies / Jazz Age Thump / 3:25
Gone and Back / Anna Lynch / Anna Lynch / 3:16
Olivia / Anna Lynch / Anna Lynch / 2:38
Crawdad Song / Love Is the Devil / Pork Chop Willie / 4:15
The Right Thing To Do / Still There In My Soul / Jimmy Walker / 4:05
Sometime an album like Rod Melancon’s Parish Lines comes out and describing it is simple as pie. It’s a rock & roll album. Nothing else needs to be said about it, really. You can talk about Rod’s Louisiana heritage if you want. The album is full of references to where he’s from. But it’s not an album about Louisiana. I don’t think the intention here is to make someone thing about Louisiana. The album is about Rod Melancon, whose T-shirt and jeans vibe is worn like a James Dean tribute. That’s about as flashy as he gets and his music is equally straight forward. It’s neither in-your-face, nor apologetic. It’s matter of fact, take it or leave it. The rhythm section has that Johnny Cash-by-way-of-Social-Distortion vibe that gives the tight guitar work bounce off of. And while Rod’s never going to win any singing contests, he’s got enough of that soul/R&B/blues vibe in his delivery that he can sell a song line when he sets his mind to it.
Rod Melancon was inspired by Hank Williams’ music, as described on the Medina Records web site:
But a chance encounter with his grandfather and Hank Williams would steer his life in an unexpected direction. When he returned to Louisiana from Los Angeles for the Christmas holiday, Melancon saw his grandfather’s tears as he listened to a Hank Williams record Melancon had given him. Those tears touched young Melancon to his core. He knew then that he wanted to touch people through music, the way the Hank Williams once did.
“I grew up with a strong love of film. It was originally what I came to L.A. to do,” Melancon says. “But the thing about songwriting is that you are a one man crew: the director, the screenwriter and the actor. What could be better than that?”
I’m adding “Marella,” “South Louisian’,” “Mad Talkin’ Man,” and “Wanna Go for a Ride.”
Eden Brent has released her third album of piano bar boogie woogie called Jigsaw Heart. and it’s her best yet. It captures the spirit of you’re favorite seedy bar in New Orleans or that roadhouse on the highway everyone stops at. She plays the piano like it’s her personal mission to make people feel good, to help us laugh at the human condition, and to help us get over breaking up, and, most of all, to entertain us. Her voice has that timeless, solid, been-around-the-block-more-than-a-few-times feel to it that makes you feel right at home. You get a little bit of gospel, and little bit of R&B, a little bit of country/soul and a whole lot of blues on this album and it’s all channeled through her amazing mastery of that old piano sitting in the cornet of the bar.
I’m adding “Better This Way,” “Everybody Already Knows,” “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free,” “Let’s Go Ahead and Fall in Love,” and “Tendin’ to a Broken Heart.”
Charlie Greene’s self-titled album first strikes you as one of those early suit and tie rockabilly acts. There’s more than a little Roy Orbison in his particular brand of country rock. His approach to songwriting is reminiscent of Harry Nilsson, just the right about of quirk and humor. But under the musical surface and that clean-cut look is more than a little bit of grit, insurrection, and attitude. And he gets away with it all and you’ll be boppin’ your head the whole time.
I’m adding “Man On Fire,” “Honorable Women,” and “Everything Gets Me Down.”
Preview Charlie Greene’s self-titled album on Amazon.
John Oates, yes, that John Oates, has a new album out, A Good Road To Follow, which has a mind-boggling number musical WTF moments. Americana fans pride themselves in saying that they “like it all,” but this album challenges you to like it all in one album, sometimes all in one song! There’s the hard rock bits, there’s the very urban R&B bits, there’s lots of bluesy guitar work here and there. Gospel-y back up singers. There’s the high lonesome twangy guitar and Vince Gill to lend some country rock gravitas. And oh yeah, lots of hook-driven pop moments. You want a musical melting pot of everything from the southeast? And I mean everything? John Oates has got your musical melting pot right here. It’s an acquired taste, but give it a few spins and you’ll start saying to yourself, “ah, I see what he’s doing now.”
I’m adding “Stone Cold Love,” “Lost In Lousiana,” and “Don’t Cross Me Wrong (W/ Vince Gill)’” to rotation.
Preview A Good Road To Follow by John Oates on Amazon.
About Calvin Powers
Calvin Powers is the host and producer of the Americana Music Show.