Thursday, April 30, 2009

My New Favorite Band

That's right folks, I have a NEW favorite band, or at least a new favorite solo artist.

Jersey Polka Richie:

I can't seem to find where his upcoming performances are, so if anybody knows, help me out. Western PA, where this recorded, isn't so far from Elkins, so I'm thinking if I keep my eyes open I may get the chance.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

the Quebe Sisters

Our pal Nora Jane sent us this video, prompting Emily to wonder "why haven't I ever heard of these kids?"
Couldn't have said it better myself.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Dim Lights, Thick Smoke

Speaking of weird double neck guitars, here's Joe Maphis and Rose Lee, with Gordon Terry (who looks just like Eric Merrill) on the fiddle. I love the way the guitar and drums groove during the guitar solo. The only way this could be made better would be to add Curly Seckler's weird flat7 harmony part.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Two Man Gentleman Band

If you haven't ever seen the Two Man Gentleman Band perform, you should make it a priority to do so. In the meantime, go read their blog, which is nearly as entertaining as the live experience.

Wilma Lee Cooper

Wilma Lee Cooper was from Valley Head, WV, about 20 miles south of my hometown, and her husband Stoney (with the fiddle) was from Harman, 20 miles to the east. Their daughter Carol Lee leads the backup singers on the Grand Ole Opry now. They had another song called "the West Virginia Polka" which is high on my list of things to learn.

In this video they employ the popular technique of cutting to the electric guitar when the banjo player takes a solo.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Today I planted corn and beans
Turned the ground and scattered seeds
Sprinkled dirt on top again
Licked my chops and watched for rain.

I haven't figured out how they grow sausage yet.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Junior Brown

I managed to stumble upon the genius of Junior Brown recently. The man is a MONSTER guitar player, but with a twist. He builds his own instruments, which is a one-bodied hybrid of a telecaster on top, and then a lap steel on the bottom! The lap steel is angled ever-so-slightly upward so he can play both and not hurt himself. The whole thing rests on a stand and he has his feet controlling his volume for all the lovely swells on the lap. After discovering this madman, I was pleased to be informed by Emmy that we'll BOTH be playing at the Roots on the River Festival! Yikes! Plus, i've reportedly heard that between sets, him and his wife (who plays acoustic in the band) have been known to go out on the street and preach the word of the lord. Hallelujah.

I want to suggest this song to add to the Sweetback repetoire, however i don't know who would sing it. Stefan? You're voice can do that, right?

1:19 is particularly note-worthy.

-Little Rolling Thunder

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Swing it!

Swing fiddle legend Buddy Spicher is playing at the 5-spot in Nashville tonight. Yes, that's same dive bar where I saw Wanda Jackson play a few months ago. What is it with all these famous people playing at tiny, smokey bars in this town? Maybe they want to relive the happy days of their youths when they played for tips and drunk guys requested the Orange Blossom special every half hour.

For those of you who don't live in middle Tennessee, here's a snippet of ol' Buddy for you:


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Saturday afternoon developments

Several positive things happened today. First, Jesse planted zucchini and brussel sprouts in the garden. Second, I ate extraordinarily delicious ribs. Third, Charlie Louvin told me that I have a commanding pair of eyes. That's right folks, today I met one of my first and biggest musical influences, the great Charlie Louvin.

Jesse and I went down to the annual Record Store Day festivities at Grimey's here in Nashville. Charlie Louvin and Del McCoury both played fabulous sets. Charlie's voice has certainly suffered from his years of smoking and the tenor singer he's using is no Ira Louvin. Even so, he still has killer phrasing and puts on a great show. I went up to him after his set and had him sign a CD. I told him that one of the first songs I learned to sing was "When I Stop Dreaming." He looked up at me then said, "You have a commanding pair of eyes." That was it. I thanked him and went back to my spot in front of the stage. When I told Jesse, he said proudly, "Awww! Charlie Louvin's hitting on my girlfriend."

Del's set was also a treat. He can still sing as well as ever. Plus, he has really beautiful teeth. So straight. So white.

I love Nashville!


Charlie Louvin now...

...and then

Del and the boys:

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Great Duets

The Johnson Mountain Boys:
Eddie Stubbs, the fiddler, is currently the announcer on WSM here in Nashville. Tom Adams is one of my favorite banjo players. But the real show here is Dudley Connell and David McLaughlin's perfect phrasing.

Don Rich and some dude:
The guy standing to Don Rich's left is called Buck Owens. Apparently he's famous. Telecaster heaven.

Cousin Jake & Uncle Josh:
Flatt and Scruggs had so much talent in their band that these guys acted as a band within a band. Great singing, bad joke at the end.

I have to admit, I love Jake's delivery though.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Three Flavors of Country Music



Sublimely Ridiculous:

Now that's Dancing!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Mama Tried

The Everly Brothers did NOT turn 21 in prison.

Merle Haggard DID, compare and contrast.

Extra Credit:
Does Merle Haggard still seem tough when he's singing on a pastel colored carousel? In a green suit?


The Possum

This song is just like George Jones himself. There's nothing so wrong with it that it can't be redeemed by all the things that are right about it.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Dismemberment Insurance

I got a letter from the bank.
It said that I had them to thank
For buying an insurance plan,
In case I cut off both my hands.

One Thousand dollars was the sum,
A paltry honorarium.
A pittance, hardly worth the time,
To find a stamp, and lick, and sign.

And so I stuck it to the wall
Beside my Powermatic saw.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Do the Baggy-Waggy

The Stanley Brothers with Chick Stripling:

Sunday, April 5, 2009

John Cephas R.I.P.

John Cephas, one of my musical heroes, passed away last month. John and his musical partner Phil Wiggins always came to Augusta In Elkins, WV where I grew up. Seeing them perform inspired me to pick up the guitar when I was 11. Later on I went to classes that John taught.

Cephas and Wiggins performed together for over 30 years, so I can only imagine that it's very hard on Phil to lose him. I see that Phil is going to play their last remaining date at the Randolph County Art center on May 16. If you're near there don't even think twice, just go.

Here are some videos of my favorite Cephas and Wiggins tunes. They say more than I ever could with the written word.

Ode to a Lunch

The Shish-kabob is made of meat.
It's taste is salty. Juicy. Sweet.
Reclining on a bed of rice,
with lemon wedges. Hit me twice.


Friday, April 3, 2009

My New Favorite Band

These guys:

They're called "Los Invensibles De La Sierra"

I demand that the xylofolks find this drummer and hire him.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

How I miss the road…

APRIL FOOLS! No, but really working hard trying to plan The Sweetback Sisters mini tours we have set for June and July. Let me tell you booking is exhausting work! While I wait for the hordes of responses screaming cyberly "yes Yes YES! Of course we'll book you! feed you! house you!" I'm lightening the load with frequent youtube breaks. Here's a few snippets from my youtube road songs medley. Sing 'em if you know 'em!


And a travelin' song performed by our own Jesse Milnes: