Some Telluride locals not happy with all the festivals and loud music… sounds like New Orleans … The Colorado Sun

 

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Complaints over noise divide the resort town of Telluride, where hosts of dozens of annual concerts now must submit sound-management plans.

 

“Window rattling.” “Wall shaking.” “Ear Shattering.”

 

~~~  CONTINUE  ~~~

On ‘Caliente,’ New Orleans And Havana’s Shared Love Of Music Is Joyfully Celebrated ~ NPR

 

For four days in January, Getting Funky In Havana — the title of a musical exchange between Cuba’s Cimafunk and the New Orleans groups Tank and the Bangas and The Soul Rebels — explored and celebrated the shared musical roots of the artists’ hometowns. The musical ties between Havana and New Orleans go back hundreds of years, which Alt.Latino previously documented in our coverage of the project. But now, this historical connection has been brought into the 21st century in a new single featuring all three groups.

It’s a beautiful illustration of how much the two cities have in common, from their shared connection to Africa to the unabashed joy that music inspires in both places.

Guy Clark Documentary Trailer: New Film Features Sissy Spacek as Narrator ~ RollingStone

Spacek steps into the role of Susanna Clark, wife of singer-songwriter Guy

Actress Sissy Spacek steps into the role of Susanna Clark in the newly released trailer for Without Getting Killed or Caught, a documentary centering on the life and music of singer-songwriter Guy Clark. The film is set to premiere next week during SXSW.

Produced and directed by Tamara Saviano (who also wrote Clark’s biography) and Paul Whitfield, Without Getting Killed or Caught was based on Saviano’s reporting in from the book as well as Susanna Clark’s store of personal diaries and recordings. In the trailer, Spacek narrates the story from the perspective of Susanna as she and Guy struggle to find their footing, eventually becoming the center of a revered creative community alongside their roommate and friend Townes Van Zandt.

“Guy didn’t care about pleasing the record label,” says Spacek in the trailer. “He was passionate about the songs and he was hell bent on doing things his way. It bombed.”

Other artists featured in the film include Guy Clark acolytes Rodney Crowell, Verlon Thompson, Steve Earle, Terry Allen, and Vince Gill. The film also includes vintage video footage, archival photographs, and radio talk shows on which Guy appeared.

Without Getting Killed or Caught premieres during the SXSW Film Festival March 13th at the Zach Theater in Austin, Texas, with additional screenings taking place March 14th and March 19th.

HUEY LEWIS HOOKS ONE ~ The New Yorker

Fly-fishing in Great Kills Harbor, the Reagan-era hit machine talks about his childhood with the Beats in the Bay Area, and the challenge of making music while losing his hearing.

 

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Huey LewisIllustration by João Fazenda

 

Midtown Manhattan, 5:30 a.m., Huey Lewis riding shotgun. Lewis may be many things—eighties hit machine, MTV eyeworm, entertainer for hire—but he’s nothing if not a fisherman. So when he passed through town in October, ahead of the release of a new album (his first in ten years, and likely his last, because, since recording it, with his band, the News, he has basically, as a result of a rare disease, lost his hearing, and therefore his ability to sing in key), he wanted to try to slay some stripers. He’d never fished New York City. So he signed on with Captain Frank Crescitelli, of Fin Chaser Charters. Meetup was a Staten Island marina, at first light.

Lewis had some urban angling experience. “When I was a kid, I had a little El Toro,” he said. “Like, an eight-foot sailboat. I lived in Strawberry Point, in Marin County. And I would sail around San Francisco Bay and take my spin rod along with a couple of Rapala lures and come back with three huge striped bass, no sweat.”

The ear affliction, called Ménière’s, comes and goes. Some weeks he’s O.K., some days he can hardly hear the phone ring. This was, so far, at least before sunup, a good day. “But I can’t book a show when I don’t know if I’ll be deaf.”

Now sixty-nine, Lewis lives on a ranch in Montana, with several trout streams nearby. You wouldn’t guess that he was born in New York City and spent his first years in Ohio. But he’s mostly a Bay Area kid. His father, a radiologist, and his mother, an artist who escaped Poland in 1939, divorced soon after they got to California, in 1955. His mother’s parents, who also fled Poland, had died by suicide together, in Lawrence, Massachusetts. “It was a ‘House of Sand and Fog’ thing,” Lewis said. “And so my mother became a hippie, basically. She started hanging out at the No Name Bar in Sausalito, which was affiliated with Ferlinghetti, Lenny Bruce, and the City Lights crowd. She took up with a Beat poet named Lew Welch. That was my living room when I was a teen-ager. Gregory Corso and Gary Snyder and Allen Ginsberg sitting around drinking wine and smoking dope and reading poems.” To get him clear of all this, Lewis’s father sent him to boarding school in New Jersey. “I hated it,” Lewis said. He bummed around Europe for a year, with a harmonica, then bailed on college, returned to the Bay, and, a dozen years and a bunch of bands later, emerged as a Reagan-era rock star. “It’s hip to be square,” he sang. And maybe it was.

In Great Kills Harbor, Captain Frank, a solidly built Staten Island lifer with a handlebar mustache and a lit cigar, was waiting aboard a spiffy outboard loaded with electronics. “What’s the difference between a fishing guide and a large pizza?” he said. “The pizza can feed a family of four.” The boat had a clear tank teeming with bunker—live bait—but Lewis is a fly fisherman, and before long he was standing in the bow, casting a shrimplike pattern on a sinking line to some weakfish that Crescitelli had espied on his fish-finder. “I’ve never fished for fish on a screen before,” Lewis said. He looked trim in fishing pants, a blue pullover, and black Allbirds. He kept his balance in the chop.

“There are more weakfishing world records within two miles of here than anywhere in the world,” Crescitelli said.

“So let me get this straight—we got a chance at a world record?” Lewis said.

Not today. The weakfishing was weak, and Crescitelli gunned it out into the bay. Sun rising, Verrazzano towers gleaming. Crescitelli pulled up in a roiling stretch of water, which, he explained, was the outflow from a sewage-treatment plant a mile away. “Smell that sweet smell?” he said. “This is where the bait’s at. Thing is, they changed the formula. It’s not fishing as good as it used to.”

“Fishing is never as good as it’s going to be or as it was,” Lewis said.

“There,” Crescitelli said, pointing at his screen. “That’s a shit ton of fish right there.” Lewis cast and stripped, cast and stripped: nothing. Crescitelli steered north to Hoffmann Island, where sick immigrants were quarantined a century ago. “A guy made three porno movies here in the seventies. Used to be buildings there.”

“Huh,” Lewis said, pitching his line toward some old pilings: no dice.

“That’s good casting, Huey. Don’t be so hard on yourself.”

To the south was another island, with a smokestack and some ruins. “This was the crematorium,” Crescitelli said. He drifted the boat as close as he could, and Lewis worked the eddy line off the jetty. “Huey, you’re right in the spot. C’mon, just one striper!”

Bang. Lewis’s rod tip bent. A striper? No. A flounder. A flounder! On a fly?

“Never seen that, I gotta say,” Crescitelli said.

“It’s better than not fishing,” Lewis said.

He held up the flounder, grinning, secure in the knowledge that a photo of him with such a meagre specimen would not in any way diminish his standing in the world. ♦

A Shot Before Last Call ~ NYT

 

 

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NEW ORLEANS — Victor Dawkins’s routine has varied little in 40-plus years of owning The Other Place, a brick two-story that is one of the last black-owned bars on St. Bernard Avenue.

But outside, much has changed. Four of the six nearby bars — all of which were once owned and operated by black people and served black customers — now have white owners and cater to a primarily white crowd.

Close to the French Quarter, this stretch of the avenue has long been a hub for residents of the Seventh Ward and the Treme, two historically black neighborhoods.

 

I was born and raised in New Orleans. In 2005, after Hurricane Katrina, I began documenting what remained after the floods.

Two years ago, I turned my camera to the disappearing black bars and lounges on St. Bernard Avenue, as their ownership began to change. The trend is not limited to this avenue, though. Central City, a neighborhood in Uptown New Orleans that was once a bevy of black spaces, is experiencing a similar shift.

Tradition is paramount — and I fear what will become of my city if these traditions are lost.

Throughout Africa and the African diaspora, black bars tend to serve as more than hangouts, be they the shebeens of South Africa or the juke joints of the Mississippi Delta. They can be safe spaces, cultural institutions, even cultural catalysts.

 

Second-lines can last for four hours. Every social aid and pleasure club has a route in their neighborhood that includes stops for food, drinks and rest for their feet.

Some black-owned New Orleans bars are live music venues. Others serve as the official or unofficial headquarters for social aid and pleasure clubs —  black organizations whose members have for generations banded together to cover members’ burial costs, support charities and put on the city’s famous second-line parades.

Some Mardi Gras Indians — black Carnival groups famous for their intricate suits of feathers and beadwork — use black-owned bars for practice sessions in the months before Carnival. For other tribes, black-owned bars may be the place on Mardi Gras morning to put their suits together before going out into the streets, or a stop during the day or on St. Joseph’s Night for respite from their processions around their neighborhoods.

The walls of many black-owned bars are filled with photos of patrons through the years — bold and intimate statements that simply declare, “I was here.”

~~~  CONTINUE  ~~~

“The Day Democracy Died” ~ pretty cool video sung to “The Day the Music Died”, by songwriter Don McLean

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~~~  WATCH  ~~~

Some of the Founders and Framers of the Constitution did more than turn over in their graves… they actually resurfaced to sing “The Day Democracy Died.” That, plus they “dig those rhythm and blues!

Bill Graham Took Care of Reality

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Many concert promoters keep a low profile. Theirs is mostly a backstage job, dealing with the mundane: contracts and equipment, schedules and security, advertising and accounting. Yet those tasks are essential to building any live music scene.

Bill Graham — the promoter who got started in hippie-era San Francisco, opened the Fillmore East in New York City in 1968 and went on to present concerts worldwide — was by no means self-effacing. He made himself America’s best-known rock promoter from the 1960s to the 1990s.

In the late 1980s, when Graham presented annual New Year’s Eve arena concerts by the Grateful Dead, he would take to center stage at midnight in costume. As a young man he had wanted to be an actor; he got bit parts in “Apocalypse Now” and “Bugsy,” typecast as an agent and a gangster. Graham carved himself such an outsize public role that after his death, in a helicopter accident after a concert in 1991, San Francisco renamed its Civic Auditorium arena after him.

His career provides ample material for “Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution,” a fond multimedia exhibition — photos, videos, concert posters, instruments, costumes, even a light show — that opens on Feb. 14 at the New-York Historical Society.

A proximity-sensing audio guide orchestrates the show with vintage rock and soundtracks to the videos, including live performances from Graham’s “Day on the Green” concerts in Oakland and an excerpt from “The Last Waltz,” the 1976 farewell concert by the Band. The exhibition has plenty of artifacts to trigger boomer nostalgia, as well as reminders that the 1960s ended long ago.

Credit…John Olson; George Etheredge for The New York Times
Credit…Baron Wolman/Iconic Images

Graham was a brash, scrappy entrepreneur who made himself indispensable to spreading San Francisco’s emerging hippie culture. The actor Peter Coyote famously described Graham as “a cross between Mother Teresa and Al Capone,” though the exhibition shows little of the Al Capone side. There is a Fillmore West staff basketball team jersey with a feisty logo: a raised middle finger with “BG” on the knuckle. But there are no contracts or other glimpses of how he built Bill Graham Productions.

Yet in a San Francisco underground that was inventing itself out of whimsical Beat philosophies, psychedelic revelations, idealism and hedonism, Graham made it his business to transform all-night ballroom jams into sensible financial propositions and create stable outlets for music that was anything but. Working in the trippiest days of the 1960s, Graham recalls in one of the exhibition’s audio snippets: “I always felt that someone had to relate to reality. That was me.”

 

~~~  CONTINUE  ~~~

Gil Scott-Heron’s Legacy Is a Work in Progress ~ NYT … “If you never knew his music, you should” … rŌbert … “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”

 

A reimagining of his final album by the drummer and producer Makaya McCraven is another step toward a contemporary reckoning with his powerful oeuvre.

Credit…Echoes/Redferns

 

When the drummer and producer Makaya McCraven got a call inviting him to rework Gil Scott-Heron’s final record, he recognized the magnitude of the task. He knew a lot about the poet, novelist, musician and Black Arts Movement hero often called the “godfather of rap.”

But he had heard much less about the album, “I’m New Here,” which came out in 2010, a year before Scott-Heron’s death at 62.

When Mr. McCraven dug into the album, he was struck by a quandary. “This sounds like it’s already been remixed,” he said he remembered thinking, listening to the spare, heavily electronic LP.

“Just his voice is so powerful,” Mr. McCraven added, referring to the way Scott-Heron’s baritone can seem to quietly beckon, even when he’s delivering messages of political outrage or narrating struggles with addiction.

The string of brilliant recordings that Gil Scott-Heron made from the 1970s to the early ’80s represent one of the most important runs of resistance music created by any artist in modern history — the call-to-consciousness proto-rap anthem “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”; the allegorical ballad “Winter in America.”Perhaps only Bob Marley rivals him, and Marley’s music was resistance of a different sort: less politically literate, dreamier.

“I’m New Here” was recorded in the late-aughts, in a series of trans-Atlantic sessions between Scott-Heron and Richard Russell, an executive at the record label XL, who is based in Britain. It was Scott-Heron’s first album in 40 years not to feature a full band; instead it centered on the spare, gunmetal beats that Mr. Russell draped around Scott-Heron’s voice, fostering a sense of both claustrophobia and remove.

Mr. McCraven let those electronic tracks go. “I wanted to support his voice, and then try to do something of my own along with it,” he said. So he went straight for Scott-Heron’s vocal stems, then brought in other young jazz musicians to record some live tracks with him. Using his trademark production approach, Mr. McCraven spliced up the music they’d laid down — mixing in some old recordings by his father, the drummer Stephen McCraven, and ending up with a bristling crosstown junction of hip-hop, Afrobeat, European folk music and jazz.

The resulting album, “We’re New Again,” which XL will release on Friday, doesn’t recreate the loose Caribbean funk sound of Scott-Heron’s classic bands. Mr. McCraven’s instrumentals are a cosmopolitan tangle — founded in samples and syncretism — that belongs firmly to the fast-advancing 21st century.

Credit…Whitten Sabbatini for The New York Times

 

But Mr. McCraven has done some restoration work. On the original “I’m New Here,” the flickering gloom of Mr. Russell’s production often made Scott-Heron sound cloistered and defeated, even as his poetry pulsed with its typical humor, self-effacement and vision. On “We’re New Again,” Mr. McCraven’s arrangements exhume a feeling of potential, a promise of communion — the things that were always at Scott-Heron’s creative core.

Scott-Heron is heard on both albums reading his poem “On Coming From a Broken Home,” which celebrates the women who raised him: “I came from what they called ‘a broken home,’ but if they’d ever really called at our house, they would have known how wrong they were.” On “We’re New Again,” Mr. McCraven has combined an old recording of his mother, Ágnes Zsigmondi, playing the flute while his father plays the kalimba with new tracks, including the young harpist Brandee Younger. As Scott-Heron speaks of communion with his own ancestry, the instrumentals bubble together and generations interlace.

When “I’m New Here” came out in 2010, Scott-Heron had not released a studio album in more than 15 years, and he was in the throes of a drug addiction that he would never fully outrun. In an interview with The New Yorker shortly after its release, Scott-Heron called the album “Richard’s CD,” saying that Mr. Russell’s enthusiasm had led to the collaboration: “All the dreams you show up in are not your own.”

Speaking from London this week, Mr. Russell said that Scott-Heron had first insisted that both of them should claim authorship of the album, but Mr. Russell had dismissed that idea.

So maybe it makes sense to think about “I’m New Here” and the smattering of follow-up materials that have trickled out over the past decade (mixtapes, outtakes collections, short documentaries) as Scott-Heron himself seems to have understood the album: not as his own last solo statement, but as a collaboration, initiated and largely carried through by Russell.

As the 10th anniversary of Scott-Heron’s death approaches, he deserves to be remembered for the impact he made upon his own time, and its resonance across eras. Everything he put out between 1974 and 1982 is effectively out of print, and unavailable on streaming services. His children, from different romantic relationships, have been at loggerheads since his death, creating a legal knot.

Still, his work is out there on YouTube, in used-record stores, and on the lips of everyone who uses the phrases he coined, whether they know it or not: “the revolution will not be televised,” “home is where the hatred is.”

As well as rap’s godfather, it would be wise to recall that Scott-Heron — whose work was anchored in Southern blues and the black literary canon — was the bard of the Black Power Movement. And as that movement’s push for equal access to political power remains unfinished, the insights of his poetry still bear heavily on today.

“The work is there,” said the scholar and critic Greg Tate, who had known Scott-Heron. “Anybody whose work has that depth — in terms of a contemporary reckoning, it’s just a matter of time. It’s inevitable.”

 

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A song for all those CDOT plow drivers

~~~  LISTEN ~~~

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‘Plow guy for the county’: Bozeman man’s snow plow song parody gains popularity

Justin Horak Plow Driver

Justin Horak, a plow driver for Gallatin County, sits in his plow at the end of a day of work Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020 in Four Corners.

 

When Justin Horak’s daughter, Kira, 6, saw the video of him singing about being a snow plow driver, she knew it would be a hit.

“She said, ‘You should post that to YouTube,’” Horak said.

Horak made a video of himself singing about his job with Gallatin County to the tune of Glen Campbell’s “Wichita Lineman” with original lyrics to share with his brother — who is also a plow driver — as a joke. He shared it with a few coworkers and posted it on Facebook, not thinking much of it.

Since it was posted last week, a number of radio stations around Montana have picked it up. Gallatin County also shared it on Facebook, and YouTube views of the song continue to climb.

“I never thought some silly little song would bring all of these people together and they would enjoy it,” Horak said.

 

The lyrics may be silly, but Horak’s voice is not. He said he grew up loving music and remembers singing with his dad on backpacking trips in the Bob Marshall wilderness. He studied music at both Montana State University and the University of Montana.

Horak now performs with the Bozeman Symphonic Choir and has had parts in a number of opera productions with Intermountain Opera Bozeman. He’s been rehearsing lately to audition for Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro.”

Horak’s professional training is obvious in his song about plowing.

The lyrics are not only a fun play on Campbell’s song, but offer some advice to drivers who encounter plows on the road. He sings about seeing people texting while driving, gesturing to him rudely and passing him on the wrong side of the road.

“Oh, I know you’re in a hurry. I’ve been late once or twice,” Horak sings. “So if you see me out plowing, please allow for more time.”

Horak started working for the county last spring and said some of his co-workers have been plowing Bozeman’s roads for years. He said those guys are the “real heroes.”

Even though Horak is shy about the popularity of the song and wishes he spent more time on the production of the video, he’s happy with the result.

“I’m glad I did it. It’s a fun way to do a public service announcement,” Horak said.

The Restorative Pause of Silent Record Week ~ The New Yorker

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In 1959, a group of undergraduates at the University of Detroit sneaked two records into a jukebox in the snack bar at the Student Activities Building: one was silent, and the other played a short beep every fifteen seconds. A pretty solid gag—until people started purposefully cueing up the records. They were played so often, in fact, that their surfaces wore down from overuse, and they had to be replaced by fresh pressings. A Billboard reporter attributed the unexpected success of the silent records to “an especially determined group of somber radicals,” but it mostly just seemed as if people were increasingly eager to secure a moment of peace. The students started their own label, the Hush Record Label Company, to meet the demand. “Other customers are willing to pay for sound, but here was a group willing to put nickels in the chute in return for nothing at all,” Billboard marvelled.

The following year, the same students declared the first week of January to be Silent Record Week and hosted a revue to celebrate. Performances included a theatre critic presenting “Famous Pauses from Great Drama,” a d.j. playing “Great Things Left Unsaid by Philosophers,” and a group of sixty-five vocalists “non-singing” a piece called “The Anvil Chorus,” accompanied by twenty anvils being gently tapped by rubber mallets. The timing felt deliberate: there is perhaps no other week on the calendar in which Americans are more desperate for a flash of quietude, a pause in which to take stock and collectively reconsider our life styles. January is the month most intimately linked with abstention: no more overindulging. We reorient our lives around a list of optimistic resolutions—self-betterment via denial.

Silence itself is often linked with piousness and a kind of dignified reserve. The monastic vow of silence is solemn and unforgiving; we linger in a moment of silence to commemorate grim events; we punish each other for transgressions by responding to earnest entreaties with stone-faced silence. But silence is also a balm; even the briefest retreat from the gnawing din of humanity can be spiritually and physiologically curative. Researchers have referred to pervasive sound pollution as a “modern plague.” A study from 2006 in the medical journal Heart found that silence was more effective at lowering heart rate and blood pressure than playing relaxing music. (The scientists discovered that people actually chilled out more during the inadvertent break between songs.) A study from 2013 in Brain Structure and Function discovered that two hours of silence each day led to the development of new cells in the hippocampus of mice, the region of the brain most firmly associated with memory, learning, and emotion.

Though it has been more than sixty years since the students in Detroit took over that jukebox, the idea of paying for a moment of silence still feels relevant. (Right now, within a few blocks of my Brooklyn apartment, there are opportunities to shell out a hundred and nine dollars to float in a sensory-deprivation tank for an hour or nine hundred and sixty dollars for a series of transcendental-meditation courses.) Much of modern wellness is concerned with escaping one’s self, but, at the same time, the self—as brand, as business—has become increasingly monetized. Every day, we are told to both cultivate and erase ourselves.

My own relationship to silence is complicated. Since the nineteen-eighties, when portable audio became readily available, it has been possible for anyone with a little disposable income to spend an entire day immersed in a bespoke audiosphere of one’s own design: to willfully curate exactly what you hear and exactly what you don’t. That this has become not just socially acceptable but perhaps even socially preferable is astounding—where I live, at least, it’s unusual to see people out for a run, or sitting on the subway, or standing in line at Duane Reade without headphones tucked into their ears. (I wrote about the ubiquity of headphone use back in 2016.) I’ve had to learn how to mediate the impulse in myself. Going for a walk while listening to music is fun for a lot of reasons, but, in part, because it casts the listener as the precise center of the universe, and everyone else as a bit player in that melodrama—your problems and your pleasures suddenly become beautiful and important, because they’re all that you can access. My resolution for 2020 was to resist perpetual sound: to nurture silence when I can, and when I can’t, to be more mindful of the natural sound of the world around me.

Perhaps the most famous instance of institutionalized “silence” is John Cage’s “4’ 33”,” a conceptual piece that he began working on in the late nineteen-forties. “4’ 33” ” is not silent, exactly, but is instead the sound of musicians in a room not playing their instruments—and the sound of a fidgeting audience, unsure of how to metabolize the musicians’ inaction. Since it was first performed, near Woodstock, New York, in 1952, “4’33” ” has confounded and occasionally titillated listeners, inspiring many (very good) volumes of scholarly analysis and meditations on the definition of music. No performance of the work is ever the same. Cage was frustrated by the mixed response that the piece received, which included heckles from the crowd. “There’s no such thing as silence,” Cage said, following the première. “What they thought was silence, because they didn’t know how to listen, was full of accidental sounds. You could hear the wind stirring outside during the first movement. During the second, raindrops began pattering the roof, and during the third the people themselves made all kinds of interesting sounds as they talked or walked out.”

Ultimately, there’s a difference between accidental silence and the deliberate playing of a silent record or a piece like “4’33”.” These projects do the simple yet profound work of formally containing a few minutes—of demarcating time and calling attention to it. I like their certainty, and the way they offer a kind of sanctioned time-out, a small but serious protest against abundance. Suddenly, all sound is music, and all life is art—a corny idea, maybe, but also a powerful way of humanizing the world.

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