Several months ago my son, Mike, told me about a video I needed to watch of a young Taiwanese ukelele player named Feng E. I found it on YouTube and was blown away. Later he told me to check out Feng E playing a duet with Tommy Emmanual, the great Australian guitarist. Then yesterday he said I had to watch a jam between Feng E and Queen guitarist Brian May.
Keb’ Mo is one of the most talented, loving, and caring performers on today’s blues scene. Yesterday he performed an hour-long free concert from his home just to give us a break from all this virus stuff.
Jessye Norman was a force in the world of opera. My knowledge of her is limited and came from watching a PBS special about the history of the song, Amazing Grace. She helped tell the story of John Newton, an English slave trader who sought redemption by, in part, authoring what may be Christianity’s most popular and well-known hymn. During the program, Norman and others performed various renditions of the song.
I later watched a PBS recital of operatic music performed by Norman and was enthralled.
Jessye Mae Norman died in September of 2019 at the age of 74.
I was an early convert to folk music back in the 1950s and one of the first songs I learned to play on my cheap Harmony guitar was Freight Train. Like so many folk songs I just assumed the author was long gone and long forgotten.
It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I discovered Elizabeth Cotton, the very old and very talented lady who on her cheap Sears & Roebuck guitar, wrote the folk classic, Freight Train.
My son introduced me to a very young Taiwanese ukelele player named Feng E. It was a video of him sitting in the back of his mom’s car doing unworldly things with a uke.
The next day I did a search on YouTube and came across this kid playing a 6-string guitar and performing a very complicated number he’d written. I remarked to my son that the boy’s style reminded me of Tommy Emmanuel and my son told me that this kid has appeared on stage with Emmanuel doing the old Mason Williams number, Classical Gas.
Back in 2005, I decided I’d like to judge a BBQ contest so I did a little research and discovered I’d have to take a class through either the Kansas City BBQ Society or the Memphis BBQ Network. I decided on Memphis because it was closer and I’d heard more about the Memphis in May events which included a huge BBQ festival and competition.
So, off to Memphis went I and after the training session, I decided to meander through the Delta for several days. I’d been there before but always with family and always on a schedule. I was retired now and my time was my own.
There was a time in the American South when juke joints were to be found at every dirt road crossing. Sometimes they were ramshackle houses or abandoned commercial buildings but often, they were small buildings assembled from whatever could be found. Rough cut boards, disassembled shipping crates, and rusting metal roofing were common.
Inside these places could be found fried catfish, smoked pork, cold beer, corn liquor and a couple of guys with cheap instruments pounding out the rhythms that we know today as the blues. If there wasn’t live music there’d be a jukebox playing records and thus the name, juke joints.
Most music lovers have probably never heard of Sam Hopkins. But call him Lightnin Hopkins and maybe the light bulb switches on. Hopkins was from Texas and before his death in 1982 he became one of the best known of all the early blues pioneers. He was also one of the most prolific and frequently recorded.
People always reference Robert Johnson’s style of guitar playing as being the best but best is something hard to define. I personally don’t know any blues picker better than Hopkins.
There seems to be a movement afoot throughout America. A manic movement to decorate old brick walls with colorful, artistic, and/or historical murals. Possibly the earliest I noticed were huge murals along Cincinnati’s Central Ave. More recently we have visited the historical flood wall artworks of Portsmouth which have become a major visitor draw. The most common visit I’m aware of is to tour the flood walls and then have supper at the Scioto Ribber.
Wilmington has a growing crop of excellent murals in its business district and several years ago Greenfield’s Community Market adorned its east wall with a trio of mostly historical murals. Not sure it’s a mural but I like what the Zint’s do with the Corner Pharmacy wall. The first murals I recall in Greenfield were those painted by Eddie Tipton back in the 1970s. I remember those being more folk art like and I believe most of have faded into the pages of time.
Here’s the latest international music project from Playing for Chance. Help support world peace through the unity of music, become a member.
I’ve written about Sister Rosetta Tharpe at least one other time. She is arguably one of the most important persons in the history and development of Rock and Roll music. All one has to do is listen to here guitar rifts and you’ll hear what the Chuck Berry’s of rock built their sound on. Tharpe showed them the path.
Anyway, I came across an article about the Sister that I wanted to share with you rock historians. It was written by James Jordan for The Writing Cooperative and contains a couple of examples of her music. Click the photo below to read James Jordan’s article. Enjoy.
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I don’t speak Italian and have no formal education regarding opera. I just enjoy hearing the wonderful voices of people like Pavoratti. I came across this video of him singing in a quartet of great voices. Now I have to deal with a personal question. Did I enjoy this clip because of the music or the abundance of full-frontal cleavage? Kind of like why you enjoyed Playboy. The truth was you enjoyed the nudity and the monthly centerfold. Some tried to claim, however, that they bought it just for the articles.
For several years I’ve been fooling around with cigar box guitars and other primitive instruments. I’ve been to several cigar box guitar festivals and concerts and witnessed some pretty incredible performances. None have come close to this guy, however. Possibly the amplifier and loop box are the only things not homemade. I may be wrong about even those. Get your foot tapping and enjoy.
Most of you know I’m a great supporter of Playing for Change. Beginning in January the announced they planned to release a new project each month of this year. In February the feature was based on Buddy Guy’s Skin Deep. This month is the lively Gospel number, Everlasting Arms with NOLA’s Dr. John and a cast of many. Enjoy and consider giving your financial support to PforC.