Category Archives: acoustic

Do NOT Miss Leftover Cuties

Joel  with Leftover Cuties' Shirli McAllenBest Beloved took me to see Leftover Cuties Wednesday night at the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis. Actually, we saw the cutest cutie three times, not just once.

Stopped at the light at 10th and Nicollet, I watched Shirli cross the street, a pair of high (really high) heels in one hand.

As she stepped to the curb on the northwest side of the intersection I thought, Shirli . . . Shirli. Wait. I just watched Shirli McAllen cross the street.

I felt like I should run after her an apologize for not saying hello. (She later told me “You should have!”) As we were seated at our table near the stage, there she was again, scooting between the tables toward the backstage rooms. I started to stand and apologize for my earlier rudeness, but she was just too quick.

Leftover Cuties are the kind of band which feels like you really ought to run after them and say hello.

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Makes No Difference from Evin Wolverton’s Woodland Sessions

Some years ago I almost met Evin Wolverton. We both participated in FAWM more than once, and when I heard he’d moved to the San Francisco area, I invited him to perform at the Northern California Artistic Achievement Awards (The Grassies.) Evin was too sick to make it, and we asked Philip Flathead to fill in, which worked out. Except I didn’t get to meet Evin and tell him in person what his music has done for me.

When I found out Evin had a Kickstarter project for his new album, I chipped in. I had exactly a dollar to my name, and I put it in. Didn’t get me anything; anything less than a ten-spot doesn’t even get a copy of the album when it’s finished. That’s okay; Evin’s art is worth supporting and it’s about time I started giving back to the artists that fill my life.

Except, I did get something. Pretty much won the lottery. (continued)

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Badlands = Good Listen

Finding new music that hits me viscerally is sublime. Recently, No Depression introduced me to Eric Tingstad and his take on Americana instrumentals.

Eric Tingstad, BadlandsWhen my copy of Badlands arrived, it stayed in the CD player in the car for over two weeks, playing over and over again. Nearly every track is on my all-night music list (I never sleep without music playing. I’ve heard some people do. Seems odd to me.)

Instrumentals are hard to write. (continued)

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The Birdman, the Warden, and John Giles

Franc Cinelli: AlcatrazCurrently wearing out Franc Cinelli‘s short (under 20 minutes total) CD Alcatraz. Americana inspired by one of the world’s most famous prisons and some of the minds it tried to contain.

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The Politest Pirate

This week I’m trying to write three new songs. This idea came to me a few weeks ago, and when the ending landed in my brain the day before yesterday it wrote itself.

Recorded in the basement using my iPhone and mandolin. (continued)

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How Many Kids Love Their Hometown?

If you ever want to get depressed just come to this town

Hard to top that as an opening line. Nice internal rhyme with the next line (continued)

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Doughnut Holes and Roger Miller

Jazz musicians occasionally highlight a melody by playing all the notes around it, leaving a hole where it should be. If you’re paying attention, you’ll “hear” it.

Some smart doughnut shop decided to stop rolling all the doughnut holes back together to make more doughnuts, and just started frying up doughnut holes to sell. (continued)

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USSS: Ross Durand

takes a lot of songwriting confidence to take on the challenge of writing an entire song for each line in Bob Dylan’s Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall. Takes a lotta songwriting chops to pull it off.

This year it looks like Ross Durand is going to finish this seriously ambitious and musically satisfying project. (continued)

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USSS: Phil Norman

Newgrass: it’s what’s for dinner. Okay, maybe that’s not how it goes, but I’ll have Phil Norman‘s take on American bluegrass and folk any day. (continued)

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USSS: Phil Henry

Simply the finest story-telling songwriter I know, Phil Henry will make you cry, guaranteed. (continued)

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USSS: Old Lost John

Out of the dark woods of far northern Scandinavia comes one of the most authentic American folk songwriters I’ve heard. I’ll let Old Lost John tell you where his music comes from: (continued)

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USSS: oddbod

Why isn’t oddbod famous? Proof positive that talent and fame are not connected. Tim “oddbod” Conway is one of the finest songwriters and performers I’ve ever heard. His new songs at FAWM turn into a mad rush to comment. A week in, his first song Instamatic has nearly a hundred comments from other songwriters who are supposed to be scrambling to write 14 songs of their own. (continued)

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