Arvo Pärt : Kanon Pokajanen – Tõnu Kaljuste, Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir

Kanon Pokajanen is a work of starkly radiant beauty, a deeply felt plea for forgiveness so resonant it seems to bear its own expiatory power.   Over two years of intense quality time with the work, Part produced an 80-minute choral setting of the entire canon that mines each word of the original Church Slavonic for … Continue reading Arvo Pärt : Kanon Pokajanen – Tõnu Kaljuste, Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir

Mark Fosson : “best demo tape I’ve heard since Kottke” ~ John Fahey

Mark Fosson is an American singer-songwriter and American Primitive guitarist who grew up in Kentucky, where he began writing songs while he was still in his early teens. In the late 1970s he sent a demo tape to John Fahey's West Coast-based Takoma Records. Fahey, impressed with what he heard, offered Fosson a recording deal. … Continue reading Mark Fosson : “best demo tape I’ve heard since Kottke” ~ John Fahey

Two Portraits of Bob Dylan

For most, if not all, Bob Dylan fans his tenth studio album, Self Portrait, released on June 8, 1970, was infuriating and a disappointment.  Over the years the response has softened somewhat, but the recording stubbornly remains one of his least popular. "What is this shit?" – kicked off Griel Marcus' infamous review of Self Portrait in Rolling … Continue reading Two Portraits of Bob Dylan

Scott Joplin : King of Ragtime

Scott Joplin, the "King of Ragtime" music, was born near Linden, Texas on November 24, 1868. He moved with his family to Texarkana at the age of about seven. Even at this early age, Joplin demonstrated his extraordinary talent for music. Encouraged by his parents, he was already proficient on the banjo, and was beginning … Continue reading Scott Joplin : King of Ragtime

Bascom Lamar Lunsford : Minstrel of the Appalachians

Bascom Lamar Lunsford, born in 1882 in Madison County, was a fruit tree salesman, teacher, and lawyer, who is celebrated for his lifelong devotion to Appalachian music and dance.  Lunsford learned to play the banjo and fiddle, and collected songs and tunes.  He began his repertoire during the folk revival of the 1920s. One voice … Continue reading Bascom Lamar Lunsford : Minstrel of the Appalachians

Erynn Marshall : Love, intention, generosity, humor and soul

“You can hear love, intention, generosity, humor and soul in the music of Erynn Marshall and Carl Jones. They welcome us in and awaken a deep sense and feeling for traditional music that is carved right into our bones.” – Dirk Powell (2015) Erynn Marshall is an old-time fiddler who resides in Galax, Virginia. She … Continue reading Erynn Marshall : Love, intention, generosity, humor and soul

William Henry “Papa Charlie” Jackson

No wonder they all fall for him! He's just a red hot papa in a class by himself and it takes a cop or two to hold the mamas back when he struts down the avenue. Papa Charlie sure knows how to sing this kind of Blues. Papa Charlie Jackson (November 10, 1887 – May … Continue reading William Henry “Papa Charlie” Jackson

Hazel Dickens : It’s Hard to Tell the Singer from the Song

Hazel Jane Dickens (June 1, 1925 – April 22, 2011) was an American bluegrass singer, songwriter, double bassist and guitarist. Her music was characterized not only by her high, lonesome singing style, but also by her provocative pro-union, feminist songs. In the early 1950s she moved to Baltimore. She met Mike Seeger, younger half-brother of Pete Seeger and founding member of the New Lost … Continue reading Hazel Dickens : It’s Hard to Tell the Singer from the Song

Frank Proffitt : Will the real Tom Dooley stand up?

Frank Noah Proffitt (June 1, 1913 – November 24, 1965) was an Appalachian old time banjoist who helped popularize the song "Tom Dooley" and was a key figure in inspiring musicians of the 1960s and 1970s to play the banjo. He was born in Laurel Bloomery, Tennessee and was raised in the Reese area of Watauga County, North Carolina where he worked in a variety … Continue reading Frank Proffitt : Will the real Tom Dooley stand up?

The high lonesome sound of Roscoe Holcomb

Roscoe Holcomb, was an American singer, banjo player, and guitarist from Daisy, Kentucky. A prominent figure in Appalachian folk music, Holcomb was the inspiration for the term "high, lonesome sound," coined by folklorist and friend John Cohen. The "high lonesome sound" term is now used to describe bluegrass singing, although Holcomb was not, strictly speaking, a bluegrass performer. Bob Dylan once commented that Holcomb "... has … Continue reading The high lonesome sound of Roscoe Holcomb