Archive for July, 2009

Life Is Still `A Party’ For Rockabilly Queen

Posted in News on July 31, 2009 by takecountryback

It took Wanda Jackson a long time to get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but now that she’s there, the 71-year-old Queen of Rockabilly and her uninhibited voice are busier than ever.
“My name is bigger than it’s ever been before,” she said in her Oklahoma City home during a recent break from touring. “My crowds are bigger. I’m just floored by all this.”

Selling records and filling venues haven’t been a problem for the chameleonic musician with the trademark growl. Her career began 50 years ago with country, then moved to rock ‘n’ roll, to gospel and back. But she says her April 4 induction into the hall as given her some newfound popularity. Since then her engagements have included a two-week stint in Europe and a fundraiser for the Woody Guthrie folk festival.

Terry Stewart, the CEO of the Rock Hall, said Jackson, who was inducted in the early influence category, was unique in music.

“There are a number of others of more obscure fame who sang in that vein,” including Janis Martin, who died earlier this year, Stewart said by telephone from Ohio. “There were girl singers in the area of rhythm and blues that have been inducted, like Ruth Brown and LaVern Baker.

“Wanda was certainly a stand alone in what she did.”

What she did was help spawn rockabilly, a combination of the terms rock n’ roll and hillbilly. Musically, it’s an uptempo blend of blues, country and western swing that emerged during the 1950s when rock and roll was in its infancy.

She was 14 when she won a chance to perform on an Oklahoma radio station in 1952. Country singer Hank Thompson tuned in and was so impressed, he invited her to sing with him and his band and helped her get her first music contract with Decca Records when she was in high school.

Later, when she switched to Capitol Records, she was booked with an up-and-coming singer named Elvis Presley.

“Oklahoma City wasn’t playing his records yet. My cousins down in Texas, I corresponded with them and told them I was working with this guy I’d never heard of, Elvis Presley,” Jackson said. “They said he’s the best singer in the world, sexiest, best-looking guy. Just wait. After I met him I knew what they were talking about.”

Presley encouraged her to try rock ‘n’ roll and the pair worked together from 1955 to 1957.

“He gave me his ring that I wore around my neck, we became boyfriend and girlfriend for a little while there,” Jackson said.

Jackson’s career and persona transformed from a country darling in long-sleeved shirts, a hat and cowboy boots to rock ‘n’ roll singer decked out in formfitting, fringed dresses and skirts her mother made for her.

Her “Let’s Have a Party” peaked at No. 37 in 1960. Jackson’s “Fujiyama Mama,” about a woman who compares herself to a volcano and “Rock Your Baby” proliferated the new sound, but it didn’t translate into big record sales.

“I got to where I’d put a rock song on one side and a country on the other side of my releases to keep my country audiences with the country song but try to gain a foothold in rock and roll,” she said.

Country music won out. Jackson had 30 hits over 20 years and received two Grammy Award nominations for Best Country Vocal Performance by a Female.


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Play Guitar? In Texas Aug 23? Luckenbach is the place to be…

Posted in News on July 31, 2009 by takecountryback

We need 2,000 Guitar Players/Pickers to join together August 23rd in Luckenbach, Texas to break the Guinness Book of World Records for the LARGEST GUITAR ENSEMBLE! The current record is held by the country of Germany with 1,802 guitarists…..COME ON OUT TO LUCKENBACH TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT AND GIVE TEXAS THE TITLE!!!

Hosted By:
Voices of a Grateful Nation

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Luckenbach, Texas

“Pickin’ For The Record” Register NOW at: This is a great event and a unique opportunity for guitarists from all walks of life…..from experts/legends to students/beginners….from tall to short….from young to old. If you can play the guitar…..DO COME TO LUCKENBACH ON 8/23/09 AND COME TO PLAY. Two songs have been chosen for the event: “Back to the Basics of Love (Let’s go to Luckenbach Texas)”, originally record by the late, great Waylon Jennings and “This Land is Your Land”, a classic American song, written by the folk legend, Woody Guthrie. We want anyone and EVERYONE to join us in Luckenbach to attempt to break the WORLD RECORD!! Sign up early at the Voices of a Grateful Nation website (see above). The registration fee of $10.00 will go into an endowment fund to provide assistance and therapy to our returning military suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). A GREAT EVENT AND FOR A GREAT CAUSE!

Pete Seeger Birthday Concert to Air

Posted in News, Television appearances on July 31, 2009 by takecountryback

Begining Thursday July 29, PBS will begin to air the Pete Seeger 90th Birthday Concert which took place earlier this year at Madison Square Garden as part of the Great Performances series. The broadcast will feature many unique and amazing collaborations amongst the artists who came together to celebrate the life and music of Pete Seeger…including Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, Kris Kristofferson, Richie Havens, Roger McGuinn, Ani DiFranco, Taj Mahal, Ben Harper, Dave Matthews, and many others who performed songs inspired by Seeger’s music and activism. The broadcast will feature Patterson Hood and Michael Franti’s performance of “Dear Mr President” as well as many other unique and amazing collaborations. Be sure to tune in. Check your local PBS listing for air times, and look out for the DVD release coming soon.

Tommy Castro: Free Download

Posted in Blues, mp3, Upcoming Release on July 31, 2009 by takecountryback

tommycastro_hardbeliever_400 Download “Monkey’s Paradise” from Tommy’s forthcoming Alligator release “HARD BELIEVER”

PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY OF THE NEW Tommy Castro Band CD, “HARD BELIEVER”! All pre-order CDs will be signed and shipped on the CD release date, August 11.

MySpace Folk Playlist for July/August 2009

Posted in TCB MySpace Playlists on July 31, 2009 by takecountryback


My Side by Molly Thomas
Good Time Gone by Shawn Byrne
I Cannot Settle Down by Peter Bradley Adams
I Walk by Blue Eyed Grass
Ghostdance by Bill Miller
Butterfly by Cary Hudson
Wreck by The Bittersweets
Hope Rains by Brian Ritchey
Forever Just Walked Out The Door by Rose And Ben
Strong by John Henry Trinko
Highway Killer by Devil Dust
Give It On Back by Angie Stevens & The Beautiful Wreck
In Your Faith by Mike Blackwell
The Other Side by Salter Cane
Pollyanna by Laurie McClain

Malcolm Holcombe “For the Mission Baby” coming Sep 29 2009

Posted in Upcoming Release on July 30, 2009 by takecountryback

“Not quite country, somewhere beyond folk, Holcombe’s music is a kind of blues in motion, mapping backwoods corners of the heart.”
David Fricke Rolling Stone Magazine

Born and raised in the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina, Malcolm Holcombe is being recognized by the contemporary U.S and European folk/americana community as a performer of national stature, and an uncommonly unique guitarist/vocalist about whom Rolling Stone magazine says: “Haunted country, acoustic blues and rugged folk all meet [here]…”

A new Malcolm Holcombe CD, For the Mission Baby, is slated for release September 29, 2009. Recorded May 2009 in Nashville at Room and Board studios, this CD heralds a return to Malcolm’s folk and country-blues roots. Along with Malcolm’s distinctive vocal and guitar performance, Tim O’Brien (mandolin, mandola, fiddle, bouzouki), Jared Tyler(dobro), David Roe (bass), and Lynn Williams(drums, percussion) round out the ensemble, with Grammy award winner Ray Kennedy(Delbert McClinton, Steve Earle) producing and engineering. For the Mission Baby is comprised of 12 new and previously unrecorded songs, and proudly takes its rightful place in the growing legacy of Malcolm’s estimable musical catalog.

“Whether fingerpicking a delicate filigree around the gospel truth…or slapping out angry chords with percussive force…Holcombe supplies all the accompaniment his true-to life snapshots need. Like a neighbor confiding at a late night kitchen table, or Job lamenting his trials, these songs feel honest and timeless.”
Paul Kingsbury- American Songwriter

“Malcolm Holcombe sings in a gruff and dusty voice harsh with experience. But there’s a wisdom to his delivery, and a brittle beauty to his rootsy tunes, that make his music a pleasure to listen to.”
Jim Farber- New York Daily News

“From the first note I was drawn in. Malcolm Holcombe is an old soul and a modern day blues poet.”
Lucinda Williams

Kieran Kane’s new album Somewhere Beyond the Roses, in-stores in the US now

Posted in Upcoming Release on July 30, 2009 by takecountryback

scaled_e1247524893 Kieran Kane, one of the godfathers of Americana music and founding member of the critically acclaimed Dead Reckoning record label, cracks a wide-toothed smile when talking about his new solo album, Somewhere Beyond the Roses. “We got together in a little room, basically sitting on top of each other, and had a musical conversation for two days. I’ve made somewhere between 12-15 albums and this is the album I’ve always wanted to make – I love this record.”

The “we” Kane is referring to is Deanna Varagona (Lambchop) on baritone sax, Richard Bennett (Neil Diamond, Mark Knopfler) on electric guitar, and Lucas Kane (Kane’s son and member of Kane, Welch, Kaplin) on drums. David Olney provides backing vocals on “Don’t Try To Fight It” and long-time collaborator and multi-instrumentalist Fats Kaplin sits in on steel guitar on “Unfaithful Heart”. “I heard Deanna playing at The Family Wash in east Nashvile”, says Kane, “She was accompanying a folk singer and playing the most delicate voice-like backing lines – it was absolutely beautiful. I approached Deanna a few months later about doing the album, she said yes, and off we went. When I told my friends I was making an album centered around the banjo and the baritone sax, they thought I was crazy…til they heard it. It works, doesn’t it?”

Using an unorthodox banjo tuning (Kane’s Kay banjo is always tuned to GCGCC), nine of Somewhere Beyond the Roses’ eleven tracks are written in the key of C, and include very few, (sometimes no) chord changes. “The genius of the players of the 1950’s: Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, Little Walter – I was obsessed with them and how they did so much with so little. The 1950’s-era two-chord concept has always been a big influence on my music, particularly so while I was writing the songs for this album.”

Kane’s vocals are stripped down, telling raw, intimate, and honest stories lived or once witnessed. “Why Can’t You” holds man in the grips of an unforgiving lover; “Unfaithful Heart” is a knife in the gut song about loving with restraint and trepidation; “Marriage of Convenience” may hit too close to home for some listeners with its unabashed candidness, and “More To It Than This” speaks to the road weary troubadour. “Back in the late 90’s, Jamie (of The O’Kanes) and I were on tour with Merle Haggard. We walk into the lobby of a hotel after a gig and there he sits, smoking a Camel, and he looks up at us and says “Boys, there’s gotta be more to it than this.” I’ve had that line in my head for 20 years, and it took David Francey to give it a musical life.”

Many of the songs written for Somewhere Beyond the Roses were done so at Kane’s lakeside cabin refuge in the Adirondack Mountains. “The song “Anybody’s Game” was written at the cabin after spending several days listening to African music. The straightforwardness of it completely speaks to me – and my banjo playing is inspired more by African banjo than American.”

Lyrics laden with spiritual and biblical imagery might be a result of the twelve years Kane spent as a Catholic school boy in New York state. “Catholic school is something only someone who’s lived through it can understand”, laughs Kane. And if the starter track, “Way Down Below” (which really lets Varagona’s horn groove, rip and shine) is an ashes to ashes approach to life on Earth, the hymn-like “Somewhere Beyond the Roses” is its antithesis, with promises of gates of “pearly gold” and a place to “rest our weary souls”. Kane adds the caveat, “it’s not necessarily heaven. It’s the other side of whatever you’re going through – heartbreak, addiction, loss.”

Kane’s creative abilities don’t end with songwriting. He’s also an accomplished and sought after visual artist – an original Kane painting has graced all three covers of Kane Welch Kaplin’s Compass Records recordings. However, Kane turned over the art design of this release to his daughter, Lucy Kane, making Somewhere Beyond the Roses a family affair. “I completely trust my kids in their abilities and I just let Lucy go on this one. It happened to work out perfectly that she picked a plane motif – it really speaks to the “other side” and search for freedom that is an underlying theme for many of the tracks on Somewhere Beyond the Roses.

Kieran Kane started his musical career in Nashville as a songwriter for Tree Publishing and in 1982 signed a deal with Elektra releasing a self-titled album which produced two Top Ten country hits: “You’re the Best” and “It’s Who You Love”. In 1986 Kane formed a duo with fellow songwriter Jamie O’Hara, called The O’Kanes. Between 1986 and 1990 The O’Kanes charted six singles on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart, including the Number One single “Can’t Stop My Heart From Loving You”. Kane also wrote “I’ll Go On Lovin’ You” during this time, which went on to be recorded and made famous by Alan Jackson. In 1990 The O’Kanes disbanded, and in 1993 Kane was signed by Atlantic and released his next solo album, Find My Way Home, which was produced by Harry Stinson. After being dropped by Atlantic, Kane, along with Stinson, Kevin Welch, Mike Henderson, and Tammy Rogers founded independent and groundbreaking record label Dead Reckoning in 1993, with whom Kane released four solo albums. In 2004 Kane Welch Kaplin (Kieran Kane, Kevin Welch, and Fats Kaplin – joined by Lucas Kane in 2007) signed with Compass Records and have since released three albums: You Can’t Save Everybody (2004), Lost John Dean (2006), Kane Welch Kaplin (2007). His first solo album on Compass Records, Somewhere Beyond the Roses is available in US stores now.