I was digging around the Internet and came across an article from Rolling Stone Magazine about some of the various collaborations Chuck Berry performed with other personalities. I found them historically interesting and thought some of you might also enjoy them. Click on the button to be linked to the RS story and videos.
Justin Johnson has been in Nashville for several months working at Cash Cabin on a new double album, Drivin’ it Down. This one is different in that he’s using a whole band along with vocalists. Among the songs recorded was Chuck Berry’s Johnny B. Goode but they had no plans to video and release it until Chuck Berry suddenly passed away.
Drivin’ it Down will be released on April 1, 2017 and may be ordered from Justin’s website.
Album credits include:
•Filmed and Recorded at Cash Cabin Studio, Nashville TN
•3x GRAMMY Award Winning Artist Bill Miller on Vocals
•Justin Johnson on Lead Guitar
•Executive Producer of “Drivin’ It Down,” Ian McDonald, on Rhythm Guitar
I don’t know when I first heard Bolero but my best guess would be in the late 1960s while in college. I just remember being smitten by it, totally consumed. In the late 70s I bought a high-end stereo system and a new vinyl of Bolero. I was between marriages and building a new house. Living alone I would put Bolero on the turntable, turn on the repeat button, and listen to this magnificent crescendo while working on the home. I remember stopping occasionally and pretending like I was conducting the LA Philharmonic using my hammer as a baton.
The only other musical piece that had such an effect on me was the musical score from Les Miserable. I’m soon to be seventy-five years old and my hearing is shot to hell. Some great degree of the loss is probably a result of traveling with Bolero and Les Mis’ blasting from my car’s stereo system. At least I can say I lost my ear hairs to a class act!
Many of you know I’m a huge fan of Playing for Change. The effort to bring the world’s people together through the universal language of music. I cut my liberal teeth on the protest music of the 1950s and 60s and PforP just today released a new video containing a y. If ever the need for continued protest was appropriate, this is it.
Enjoy, pat your feet, clap your hands, and then somehow join the resistance movement. We have a long way to go!
We have a very accomplished niece, Erin Michael, who is a silversmith and gemologists in Huntsville, AL. One of her creations was recently featured in the TV series, Vampire Warrior. The item was a set of earrings called Warrior Flames and worn by the character Caroline.
Erin Michael – Historic Lowe Mill, 2211 Seminole Drive, #128, Huntsville, AL 35805
Many of you are familiar with the music and talent of Micah Kesselring, the young Bloomingville, Ohio blues musician who has twice appeared at Greenfield events.
Micah has several CD collections on the market and has started an Indiegogo project to help fund another one. Indiegogo is a major crowd sourcing company and is often used by musicians to make themselves known and help fund their creations. I’ve participated in several and always gotten a sense of satisfaction, along with a copy of the CD, for my contribution. I’ll never be a Renaissance Medici type patron of the arts but for a couple of bucks I can feel a little warm and fuzzy.
To make a contribution to Micah’s project you can give as little as a buck and get back a thank you. For a little more you can get a thank you and the right to download his new CD when available. For a lot of money he’ll come to your home, prepare you a great vegetarian meal, and sing you a few ballads. Want to help out a starving artist? Click on the Indiegogo logo or the album cover below.
There’s nothing new about crowdsourcing. People in the arts have relied on patrons to support their creativity since the first caveman drew a deer outline on a rock wall with a piece of soapstone.
In the world of the Internet being a patron has taken a leap forward and on several occasions I’ve found myself pledging a small amount to help out a project in which I’m interested. I’m contributed to DVD video projects, several new CD projects by independent musicians I like, a visual art project, and a couple of music education projects. It’s all been legit, only cost what I could afford, and doing so has made me feel good.
My son, Mike Chapman, has literally been an artist since he was physically able to hold a crayon. When he was about three a family friend gave him a box of scrap computer paper and over the course of a few months it disappeared. Mike drew on it or with masking tape turned it into three-dimensional creations. A crayon, a pair of scissors, a roll of tape, and a stack of green computer was all it took to keep the kid happy.
(Note: After reading this Mike told me he drew his first multi-page comic book when he was three years old. He thinks in hiding somewhere in our house.)
Just like going to the mailbox used to have certain elements of surprise, mystery, and excitement I get the same each morning when I log into Facebook. I never know what’s waiting for me and this morning it was, to my great pleasure, a new song from my favorite French sleazy bluesman, Delbarjo. He’s playing one of the coolest looking and sounding three string box guitar on the planet. Merci mon ami.
Playing for Change just never disappoints. Recently I MC’d a music event and I spoke briefly about the ability of musicians to communicate. It’s oft said that music is the international language and to me P for C is the proof positive that such is true. Just consider all the people in the following video and where they are located in the world and the various languages and cultures they represent. Yet, here they are coming together to offer something we can all relate and react to. Bless you P for C for helping to unite we the people.
Speaking of guitar slingers the all pretty much stand on the shoulders of Les Paul, the man credited with inventing the solid body electric guitar and multi-track recording. Take either away and rock ‘n roll as we know it disappears.
Les Paul was born on June 9, 1915 and this June marks the one-hundredth year of his birth. Across the nation a year-long celebration is taking shape and it began in New York City with a concert featuring many of today’s best guitarists.
Tommy Emmanuel is an Australian guitar slinger who’s almost unequaled in his versatility with the instrument. I came across this video of him playing a “twelve bar blues tune in the key of E.” To my ear it’s more of a boogie than a traditional twelve bar blues tune but it makes no difference, the man’s fingers are smokin’!
It happened once again. Sitting in my recliner looking out the window at a winter that just keeps on keeping on. I click on my Gmail icon and there it is, Playing for Change Project 112, Pata Pata. It opens up with Grandpa Elliot leading me into an up tempo rhythm straight from the tropical warmth of Africa. My foot gets to patting and my spirit begins to breathe fresh air. Just as I think it can’t get better guitarist Vasti Jackson bridges into oh so familiar musical comfort food, Wimba Way, and a huge smile comes to my face.
Just yesterday I was told by a middle age woman that kids today don’t like music. While I’m not going to argue with her obvious lack ignorance of young people I’ll simply say that I’m one ageing old man who still finds joy, comfort, and warmth in music. P for P is a gift that keeps coming down my Internet chimney. Thank you so much.
It’s March 5, 2015 and I’m looking out my window at a fresh five-inch coat of snow. This winter has turned into one of the coldest and snowiest in several years. Like a gift from on the wings of a snow-white dove, however, came a link to a Playing for Change video that brought sunshine and warmth into our living room. Sit back and enjoy a collage of P for C’s musicians, all located in warm places, playing Cottonfields.
I’ve been learning the ins and outs of building cigar box guitars and other roots instruments for a couple of years now. Some of the earlier ones made better wall decorations than they did music. But as time has passed I’ve gotten better and before Christmas I created a nice 3-string, fretless, instrument made from a common cigar box and three 1/2″ dowels as the neck. Judy Beatty saw pictures of it on Facebook and purchased it as a gift for her son Lynn.
Lynn took a little time getting the hang of it and today sent me a video of him playing the Hank Williams classic, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Die” on my creation. I’m not much of a player and it is just overwhelming to see and hear something you created in the hands of a talented artist. Thanks so much Lynn!
On Tuesday, February 17 Spark is sponsoring a 2-hour parent-child event in which a playable, take home, 1-string roots instrument will constructed. I’ll be leading the workshop and will guide attendees through the process of building a traditional roots diddley bow instrument. The cost is $30 for parent-child team and will include all necessary materials and use of basic hand tools. If the parent would like to build a second instrument the added cost will be $20.
Registration and payment is by major credit card at Eventbrite. Click the payment icon below to enroll.