Saturday, September 16, 2017

Angie Haze Project. Catching Bees with Honey.

Angie Haze Project.  Catching Bees with Honey.
Self-produced, 2017.  Angie Haze: http://www.theangiehazeproject.com/

Angie Haze has been doing a lot of things lately, and gaining acclaim for the effort. A finalist in last year’s International Songwriting Competition for “Wave Goodbye,” which appeared on the 2014 Addiction EP, the song has remastered and put on this release. The shortest song on the album, to me it is the most powerful, displaying the singer’s voice at its rawest, but also most delicate. With only Haze and guitarist Spencer Martin, it should sound sparse, but overdubbing with multiple instruments and voices makes it a rich experience. I especially like the piano break.

Three other songs populate the EP. “Blood on the Mountain” is the result of the documentary of the same name, for which producer Mari-Lynn Evans invited Haze to perform on the screening tour of the film, including the premier at the Akron Civic Theatre in May. Powerful and heartfelt, it relates the story of a coal miner in West Virginia. Simpler in instrumentation with vocals, banjo, and percussion, it gives us another glimpse into Haze’s musical vision. “All that Breathes” begins as an a capella song, but moves into a more complex arrangement, with background vocals and a variety of instrumentation, including bagpipes. Uplifting in spirit, it shows Haze at her most optimistic. Finally, “Bad Habits” is a Jonah Koslen song, which she first performed at Koslen’s Stage Pass Now show. The theme is drug addiction, but Haze manages to put a hopeful spin in her voice and make it her own. By the way, Koslen liked it a lot.

Four songs, four different impressions of Angie Haze, all of which are fascinating and beautiful. Haze’s voice captivates, and takes the listener wherever she is going. My only complaints about the EP are that there are only four songs instead of a dozen, and that it is only available (currently) as a download. I’m old-fashioned, and still like CDs. Nevertheless, highly worth your time.

Personnel:  Angie Haze (lead and background vocals, guitar, mandolin, banjo, piano, bass synth, drum, percussion; whistle, chains, mining sounds); Ruth Chapman (bagpipes on “All that Breathes”); Chris Dudley (background vocals on “All that Breathes”); Spencer Martin (bass guitar, electric guitar, vocals, on “Wave Goodbye”);

Tracks:  All that Breathes; Bad Habits; Blood on the Mountain; Wave Goodbye (from The Addiction EP, 2014).

Jeff Wanser



Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A Midnight Syndicate Review (or Revue)

Midnight Syndicate. Monsters of Legend ; and Axe Giant: The Legend of Paul Bunyan.
Linfaldia Records, 2013.
Midnight Syndicate: www.midnightsyndicate.com  


The life of a ghoul is gloomy. You slink about performing your master's bidding, usually in the chasm of night, shambling forth to complete your labors with the closest thing to an undead smile upon your face. Tonight again I must complete by means of stealth and cunning more tasks to acquire the necessary materials for my wicked master's collection.


Such a sordid pleasure that a relative did send in parcel to me a gift of music complete with the portable means through which I could listen to it in full. In my unforgivingly drab existence I was morosely grateful with the pleasures of Midnight Syndicate's Monsters of Legend and its seduction of my long-shattered senses. When song can snatch even the ear of the rotting damned then something particularly mordant is at work, a thing possible from those wielding the might of the muse.

I rise.

Snatched from slumber in the root cellar beneath the ruined dormitory shed I step into the night air, driven by an urgency threatening consequences lest i fail in my deeds. Had my olfaction not expired long ago I might almost savor a sweetness in the zephyrs, wafting appetizers to proceed the inevitable pitfalls ahead.


In the muck I trek through the filth upon the 700 roadway, an eerie clock tower in the distance tolling mournfully as the eleventh hour passes. The genesis track in my ears is diminutive and purposed, high piano keys like a finger run along the spine with low strings plucking away, the chill of a stalker concealed in a cornfield, perfidious promise of what is to follow. My return to work and "Return to Arcacia" serve well together, the melodic choir kicking in to secure the otherworldly milieu, the sheer dread of human voice at its paradoxically reverent, sacrilegious duty.


Now then do drums beat and the spirit of adventure rise "Into the Valley of Shadows," the tempo increasing for a thrill one appreciates when moving uphill, texture in the work that nicely contrasts the gloomy feeling of what else often transpires in the flow of album. Fait accompli though it might be to keep up with the passing traffic in their horseless carriages I dart forward, carried by the music and its rousing percussion, tickled perhaps even by the daunting measure of its pace. Woe that I promptly then am struck by an actual horse-driven buggy piloted by a bearded man with family in tow. They briefly stop before uttering some words in archaic German, only speaking in the local tongue to mumble something at me about  "the infernal English" before driving off.  Undead and undaunted I can only sigh, victim of yet another collision in these wilds.


The evening continues and "A Watchful Gathering" awaits me as I approach the intersection for roadways 700 and 46, the denizens of Troy even at this late hour milling about in overalls and beehive hairdos conversing about the merits of their town and its dirty supply of grubs, weevils, and rhubarb. I feel as though I would be at home among them, but the clanging foley effects on this brief tune bring to mind the fate that will await me lest I dawdle too much in the company of these persons.  


Harpsichord and organ merge for supper at an abandoned curio shop known to those in the know as the "Inn of Weeping Sparrows," again joined by choral incantations, pocked notes of violins adding a pelt of elegance to what is a place I might have once stayed at when among the living. After not long I spy in the corner a fattened opossum carcass, appearing to be recently dead after some gorging on a foodstuff bearing the label "Sodexho."  Were I to go by the countenance on its deceased face it may well have tasted horror itself before it perished, as though the creature realized it had been consuming something composed of the same pulpy mass as itself.


There on the horizon the moon sat in the sky, indifferent yet majestic when "Unwanted Visitor" begins, a somewhat perplexing bit of music due to its cloying lines of dialogue that, while not entirely unmerited, seem a bit intrusive to instrumentals that might have very well served on their own. Lounging at the counter I plot my next route and dive through the picture window of the establishment to set forth on the road again in search of the remaining items. The edifice collapses behind me as I pass a lonely fuel kiosk, stall within collecting dust and only the "Closed" sign appearing to be new.


My slog down the stretch of road resumes, now the music beginning to bear something of a rather jello-like semblance to itself from one piece to the next. The individual works are not, in a word, undesirable, yet their similarities are gelled together so much that it almost feels as though one long piece of music itself is playing. Such befits the decisions of those not desiring otherwise but the continuity wears heavy after some time, with a reliable pattern of violin, solemn choir volleys, organ, and background percussion repeating themselves. Had I encountered mere monotony?


Frustrated with my pace and the ho-hum music I defy protocol and approach a parked vessel in-between the roadways, occupant within sitting at the wheel eating something, its greasy face illuminated by faint light. The individual startles when I knock at the glass, spilling its meal upon its lap and bellowing in agony. It is obvious I have disrupted its favorite activity. The thing exits the vehicle, decries me as a "hippy" perhaps due to my appearance, trips over itself, and binds me with metal wrist stocks before shoving me into the back of its vehicle. At least now I have a means of transportation, I reflect, though I am carried in the wrong direction that I desired to travel.


Fortune smiles upon even the worthless in times of despair, it seemed, as two fantastic songs ensued that assisted my droll ride back the point from whence I had started. "How to Build a Monster" and "A Terror Unleashed" break rank with the rest of the songs on the album, each powerful blends that satisfyingly, dramatically and very successfully summon a smooth blend of percussion and strings, nothing instrumentally unique but done with a gusto and tact that commands your attention. Your memory seeks the songs out over and over again even after their performances have ceased playing.   


The thing in front piloting the vehicle continues wordlessly, snorting and dining upon well-stuffed coffers of food, merely eying me at random times. Among the junk in the back where I sit is made up mostly of boxes labeled "VHS," one of which is marked "Dash Cam Derrieres," along with a book titled "How to Catch A Witchcrafter," and other such rubbish. I sit neither in despair nor hope, merely wondering if the end times will soon be upon us.


Sinister providence prevailed when the thing, attempting to further engorge itself by using both hands to shovel two slices of pastry into its mouth lost control of the vehicle and collided with a stone statue near a small chapel. Launched through a window from the impact I am catapulted into the body of the statue, stone arms holding me like an undead baby. Now realizing the loss of time and folly of my quest I implore whatever dark forces will listen to vault me from this wretched place and send me to my next desired end.


"With my arms of Greek and Latin so it is done."


The statue spoketh! Wondrous! And there then I was flung by the animated statue, launched into the air as a blast rang out and struck the statue's head from its body, an emaciated woman back on the ground staring at my skyward departure, croaking "Good golly, I guess we'll just blame this on the students. Not like it's the real Garfield the Cat, anyway!" Whatever that meant, I was gone.  


With nary but the final ingredient left I soar through the air for quite some time and land in a dumpster brimming with decaying dairy, a mass of fungus growing upon the grease-caked waste unit's inner walls. Brushing away rats and vermin I gather armfuls of the viscous material and stow it into my sack, now bulging and tellingly heavier. With exertion I shift the weight to my mortified back and prepare to depart on my return to the lair from whence I came. But then did sounds queer and ominous drift through the chill night air and into my rotting ear canals, tickling my curiosity in a way not felt for eons. I determined to scale the building and inspect the siren song closer, alighting upon the square chamber's roof.


Now the racket's volume increased and with every step I could feel beneath me booming vibrations, hums of something prickling the soles of my feet and pulsing the gravel below. Captivated I paced forward a tad more and proceeded to unwittingly trip upon the latch of a trap door, crashing to the ground and through a service panel whereupon I plummeted into the building's interior and smashed through a table, brights lights and sound at once rushing upon me.


With hazed vision and rotted brain my surroundings further befuddle me: clothed animals with instruments upon a stage dancing and singing, all manner of open-face cheese pies strewn about carelessly, and smiling faces full of joy and surprise gazing upon me as though I were, accurately and unerringly, undead.


They are stunned. Yet it was I that had plunged into madness.


"This is the best Chuck-E-Cheese ever!" a woman blared, marveling at my "fantastic costume." She helps me up and piles several slices of the bizarre food into my hands. It appears that I have been mistaken for some sort of performer, nonetheless welcomed into their ranks and given a seat amongst the other humans in attendance, their eyes all fixed upon a projection illuminated against a wall. It is some type of moving picture entertainment, proceeded by the words “Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan.” The show commences and for some time I am subjected to a story no doubt intended for lunatics that ends as satisfyingly as it began. Upon completing this feature the clothed animals upon the stage then commenced playing tunes and works of song quite like that heard in the moving pictures feature, the creatures neither harming nor helping the artistic merits of the music.


I flounce for the exit at the conclusion of this flimshaw escapade. Never more have I wanted egress. For it all I can judge not more than that I was glad to be rid of it, and the seduction that bade me to seek it out in the first place must have been in origins the spawn of something sordid from my mortal life.


Perchance that I might find a ride with strangers I threw myself at the feet of two men, both dressed in similar formal attire and with goblets in hand. "Eric, fetch the car," the one that must have been the alpha of the two said, "this fellow clearly desires a learning moment about the glories of our institution." "Of course, Tom, at once!" replied the other, moving only a few paces away to bring the vessel to our side. Once seated within our horseless carriage I am subjected to an hour's worth of lecture about an educational institution they desire me to enroll in, and when within walking distance of my destination I throw myself from the vehicle and roll into a ditch. "We'll send a fundraising newsletter to your address!" one of the men calls from a window, the soundtrack of Axe Giant fading into the distance with the travelers.


I stumble through thickets and darkness, groping about and finding the concealed entrance beneath a shrine on Pioneer Trail, site of past perversions and forgotten ills. Navigating the tunnel beneath I find my way to the main chamber, emerging to find the Master sitting upon his throne unattended, a mirror in his right hand.


I approach him with modest satisfaction, his commandments for this night's questing fulfilled. He eyes me with disdain, another mere subject encroaching upon his time, merely suffered to be in his presence. I bow, empty my satchel, and utter my words meekly. "Dear Master, I have fulfilled my chores for this evening. Grant me even the simplest praise and I shall consider my rancid life yet full of one fleeting pleasure: thine approval." Such groveling should suffice. The Master pauses while examining me carefully, as though I were a large insect saturated in liquified offal. What were once my lungs contract with timid apprehension, for it is not wise to displease the Master.


"You are late.... too late," my Master says." I quiver and bow lower, speed forever my absent attribute. "But I have performed my labors, my Lord...." It is the best defense I am able to muster.


"So you have. So long as my will is done such is acceptable." Such praise! My bed of mold and rat droppings shall be extra luxurious on this eve, with moth-eaten sheets no doubt to feel far more slimy as well. "But  there is far more desirable news to share with you, lowly minion." What's this? Mayhaps greater compensation ensue?


"My Lord, what manner of news could this-"


"Your festering impatience displeases me."


My cursed petulant tendencies only condemn me to worse straits. I grovel and kneel, the favored tactic to again curry my owner's favor. He smiles wanly and resumes.


"On this day I have, by slovenly means of mass reasoning and inaction, been elected President of the United States."


Truly? Could it be? For millennia none among the undead had ever managed to assume the ranks of higher office. The obstacles had been formidable. Money. Sunlight. Values. But no more would they suppress us! "My Master.... this is most joyous news! You deserve it all! Allow me to arrange for the transportation of your royal throne constructed of facsimile gold. An age of true darkness is now sure to follow." There then did follow a pause so marked, so sublime that I did chance to think I spied a raven in the sky, high above crossing the moon. I did begin to feel as though something wicked were about to descend upon me.


"Actually," the Master said, raising a plastic goblet filled with some type of pink beverage that he sipped generously. I craned my neck to the side and raised a crusty eyebrow, the stench of treachery beginning to mix with my own musk and the master's as well.


"Y-yes, my Lord?" I stammer.


Throwing his potable over the balcony behind him the Master directed a finger towards the largest pit of flames blazing in his Great Hall. His words echo as he delivers his verdict.


"You're fired."


Such was his decree. Eternal death in sight, at least I had suitable music in mind to play during my demise. The contents of the review upon this scroll of parchment shall direct your attention accordingly. Farewell!


Rotting Robert (Gojo)


Monsters of Legend:
Personnel: Edward Douglas (Composer, Instrumentals), Gavin Goszka (Instrumentals)
Tracks: Return to Arcacia, Into the Valley of Shadows, A Watchful Gathering, Inn of the Weeping Sparrow, Unwanted Visitor, Requiem, Witching Hour, Unexpected Cargo, Black Woods, Twilight, Carriage Ride, Stone Guardians, Ancient Portal, Dark Tower, Building the Monster, Lord of the Realm, Forgotten Alcoves, A Terror Unleashed, Cloistered Cemetery, It Lives!, Beyond the Veil of Time.
Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan:
Personnel:  Gavin Goszka (Instrumentals), Edward Douglas (Composer, Instrumentals)
Tracks: Axe Giant Main Title, Minnesota 1984, Babe's Grave, S.T.U.M.P. Medley, Bunyan at Babe's Grave, S.T.U.M.P.S Meets Bunyan, No Escape, The Legend of Paul Bunyan, Zach's Last Stand, Bunyan's Cave, Bunyan on the Move, Final Showdown, Legend's End, The Ballad of Paul Bunyan (Written and performed by Hickry Hawkins)

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Housecleaning, Reinvention, and Oh, Hell.

You may have noticed, or not, that there has been a scarcity of reviews coming through this blog for the past six months or so. It’s the result of a combination of factors, most my own fault. Overextension, classes, writer’s block, lack of writers recruited, procrastination, theft (yes, theft of CDs slated for review by certain unnamed individuals), illness, and bad luck have all contributed to the sluggishness of the blog. I am in the process of recruiting trustworthy writers, finding new music to review, and seeing what else I can do to make this site better. It deserves better.

To that end, I have cleaned out the list of CDs for possible review,
and removed everything from before 2016. After all, what’s the point? Unfortunately, that adds up to more than two thirds of the list. Nearly all of those CDs will end up in the collection of the Hiram College Library, so no need to worry about their future.

In the meantime, should you feel moved to write up a review or an article for Buzzard Tracks, please contact me and we can chat about what it is you’d like to write about. I’m open to all sorts of topics in any genre of Northeast Ohio music: reviews of online-only music, concerts, interviews with musicians, essays on a particular artist or genre, mad ravings over the state of music in the region. You don’t have to be a member of the Hiram College community to write for the blog, just sufficiently interested. There is no payment, only glory, and if you’re a student it’s a chance to pad your resume. wanserjc@hiram.edu gets you there.

Jeff Wanser

All CDs pictured here are now retired, as they came out in 2015 or before.



Saturday, December 24, 2016

Roger Hoover. Pastures

Roger Hoover. Pastures.
Last Chance Records, 2016.  Roger Hoover: https://www.rogerhoover.com/


I’ve always associated Roger Hoover with the Whiskeyhounds, which tells you that I’m seriously out of date with his music and living in the past. He’s been with other bands and also on his own for years. I also think of him more as a rocker than the folk/blues/Americana singer-songwriter he really is (although he doesn’t want to be restricted to such labels), influenced by people such as Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen. I’ll try to catch up.


This new album has him singing a set of original songs, recorded in isolated places on Lake Erie and in Northwestern Pennsylvania. He’s out front and center on every song, although he has a fine group of musicians behind him, who seem to change duties from song to song, depending on whether their rockers, ballads, or something in between. In any case, Hoover describes the set as a song cycle, concerning the vicissitudes of life in the Midwest, with a touch of hope for the future. Subjects range from romance to work to more abstract questions about the meaning of existence and why we’re here. You can dissect the lyrics on the website, or you can just sit back and enjoy the music. Either way, the album is a success on every level.


The album itself had me bouncing back and forth: musically, I like the rockers and more raucous tunes, but lyrically, I prefer the ballads. “Dust” and “Life We Create” fall into the first category, the first being the only true rocker, the second more of a bluesy honky tonk, with some heavy piano work. But I can’t lay off the ballads, because the lyrics are touching and cutting, plaintive and hopeful. “Give What You Get Back” and “Cool Blue Starter” are among my favorites here. The one that combines everything perfectly is the title track, a loping, echoey, haunting song that speaks to desires for life and the future. In all cases, Hoover sings with an expressive, slightly gravelly tenor that simultaneously soars above the music and soaks into it. Hard to beat.


Roger Hoover will be appearing at the GAR Hall in Peninsula on December 30th, and at the Beachland Tavern in late February. I’m looking forward to seeing the show in person.


Personnel:  Roger Hoover (vocals, guitars, bass, percussion), Ray Flanagan (electric guitar, acoustic guitar, background vocals), Kevin Martinez (upright bass, background vocals), Russell Flanagan (piano, Hammond B3), Ryan Foltz (drums, percussion, trumpet, background vocals), Ysabel Hoover (background vocals), Danny Jenkins (drums), Doug McKean (electric bass).
Tracks:  Give What You Get Back, Oh How Times Have Changed, Dust, Just a Little, Always on My Mind, There’s Something in My Heart, St. John, Devil in the End, Cool Blue Starter, Pastures, Life We Create.

Jeff Wanser

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Rock Salt and Nails. Trouble in Mind.

Rock Salt and Nails & Friends. Trouble in Mind.
Self-produced, 2016.  Rock Salt and Nails: http://www.rsn-band.com/

We seem to have followed the career of this band from Alliance for several years, and reviewed both of their previous albums, Pickin’ Up the Pieces (2013), and Run to the River (2014). With their third album, they continue down the trail of traditional music and Americana, a core trio this time,  enhanced by three additional musicians with special skills. The group includes more material from other songwriters this time around as well, including Bill Morrissey, Randy Newman, Steve Earle, Tom Waits, and John Hiatt, but with plenty of originals (7 of 14). Each member of the trio is represented in songwriting, although Priscilla Roggenkamp has the lioness’s share of the credits. One of the marks of good songwriting is when you have to check the liner notes to figure out which songs are by big names and which are originals.

This is certainly an enjoyable and mostly upbeat album. The variety of songs, the change in lead vocals from song to song, and the excellent musicianship make for a satisfying listening experience. The CD begins with an unexpected tune, “Big Legged Ida,” played with a jazzy feel (helped by Jim Perrone’s clarinet) and the sense that the group was about to start laughing any second. “Put Me on the Top of Your List” is Roggenkamp’s first song on the album, and continues the friendly and open atmosphere of a bunch of folks getting together for a good time. Each of the new songs sounds like old friends. I especially like “Blue Ridge,”, a lovely waltz, and the loping “You Know More than You Know.” “One Lie at a Time,” by Roggenkamp, is prescient  in light of current politics. “Satchel’s Reel,” by Keith McMahon ends the album as an instrumental showcase.

The title track is a traditional blues, and like other songs they’ve done has somewhat downcast lyrics but is presented in an upbeat fashion. Harmonica by Mark Huddleson provides fine punctuation to the vocals. Of course, the songs by the big names are delightfully done. I particularly enjoyed Hiatt’s “The River Knows Your Name,” and Earle’s “Goodbye,” both somewhat mellow in tone, and gorgeously sung and played.

In all a highly worthy effort from a group folk music fans should get to know. The band isn’t scheduled for a concert until late January, in Alliance. Catch their show if you can.

Personnel:  Jim Dutter (guitar, mandolin); Keith McMahon (guitar, mandolin); Priscilla Roggenkamp (bass); vocals by all. With Mark Heddleson (harmonica); Jim Perrone (clarinet); Jon Scott (banjo).
Tracks:  Big Legged Ida, Put Me on the Top of Your List, Feels Like Home, Morning Bird, Blue Ridge, Greenville Trestle High, If It Hadn’t Been for Love, One Lie at a Time, Goodbye, The River Knows Your Name, Promise, I Hope that I Don’t Fall in Love with You, The Wind Calls You on, Trouble in Mind, Snowblind, You Know More than You Know, Satchel’s Reel.

Jeff Wanser

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Blue Lunch. Above the Fold

Blue Lunch. Above the Fold.
Rip Cat Records, 2014.  Blue Lunch:  http://www.bluelunch.com/

Blue Lunch is a Cleveland based octet of skilled musicians well into their third decade as a band. If the reader has not heard of them, the most likely reason is a result of being pigeonholed in the quagmire known as “genre”. In the case of Blue Lunch, you’ll find them listed under “Blues”. Ignore them at your own risk. Blue Lunch expertly delivers the blues. However, Above the Fold takes the listener on a serpentine ride across borders that often surprise and mostly succeed. Though Blue Lunch may be classified as a "blues band", they are equally adept at jazz, funk, gospel, and swing. And they may jump from one category to the next and the back on the same track.

Bob Frank is credited as the composer on seven of the 15 songs on this CD. He is one of those guitarists blessed with the ability to front the band when called upon, and the generosity to step back and support the ensemble. His playing versatility is likely his strongest suit. As an example, on his composition The Long Game, an up-tempo blues serves as bookends for a shift mid song into funk and back again. If Mr. Frank has one weakness it is his erratic vocals. On “Woman I Bleed,” and the others written by Frank, there are hints Frank has the ability to vocalize. However, he tends to vacillate between spoken word and singing. It starts to leave one wondering if that is the band’s greatest limitation. However, that suspicion is dispelled the final track, “Good News.” This traditional gospel piece is sung acapella by a quartet of the band’s members and proves back-up vocalists are there for the taking.

“One Fine Day” is a very fine instrumental composed and arranged by saxophonist Chris Burge. Add Mike Rubin on trumpet and Bob Michael on trombone and this brass section will take you back to the days of Blood, Sweat, and Tears and Chicago Transit Authority. They are just that good. Throw in some well-played harp fills by Peter London and Blue Lunch owns this piece.
The band is grounded by its rhythm section of Scott Flowers on drums and Ray Deforest on upright and electric bass. Some slight adjustments on the EQ helps bring their talents as well as keyboard man Mike Sands. Tweak that EQ a tad more and guest Sammy DeLeone’s congas pop into the mix.

There is such a thing as a small-big band. Above the Fold provides ample opportunity for every member to solo. It is the entirety of Blue Lunch’s repertoire that should push Northeastern Ohioans to seek them out.

Performers: Bob Frank (guitar, vocals), Peter London (vocals, harmonica),Chris Burge  (saxophones, harmony vocals), Mike Rubin (trumpet), Bob Michael (trombone, harmony vocals), Mike Sands (piano), Ray DeForest (bass violin, bass guitar, bass vocals), Scott Flowers (drums). Guests: Evelyn Wright (vocals on Track 8), Tim Longfellow (Hammond organ on Tracks 5 & 8), Sammy DeLeone (congas on Tracks 2 & 8).
Tracks: Ain’t Trying to Kill Nobody, One Fine Day, The Long Game, Everybody’s On the Phone, Woman I Bleed, No Time Like the Present, Seven Times, Where Do You Think It’s Going, Lake Erie Highball, Venita, Love No More, All I Needed, Tossin’ and Turnin’ and Burnin’ All Up Inside, Katt’n Around with Moe, Good News.

Eric Ess

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Hingetown Hoedown Festival

SECOND ANNUAL HINGETOWN HOEDOWN FESTIVAL
BRINGS BLUEGRASS AND FOLK MUSIC FROM THE
MOUNTAINS TO OHIO CITY SEPTEMBER 10
Website:  http://www.hingetownhoedown.com/  

CLEVELAND, August 23, 2016 -- Grab your boots, friends and family and get ready to stomp at the second annual Hingetown Hoedown -- Cleveland’s first and only free folk and bluegrass music festival to be held
September 10 in Ohio City’s Hingetown neighborhood at the intersection of West 29th Street and Detroit Ave.
The Hingetown Hoedown fills a void in Cleveland’s music scene by hosting a dozen bands with distinct bluegrass, folk, Americana, roots and string band sounds. The first Hingetown Hoedown last October was called a roaring success with more than 1,200 attendees braving the pouring rain to enjoy the show. This year’s event will be held from 1-10 .p.m., and will again be complemented by food trucks, vendors, craft beer from Great Lakes Brewery, and family-friendly activities. Admission is free and open to the public with street parking available nearby.
“Cleveland’s bluegrass scene continues to grow and Hingetown is the perfect city neighborhood for us to gather the community and introduce new listeners to the music of the mountains,” said Adam Reifsnyder who helps organize the event and is in the band Honeybucket who plays the Main Stage at 8 p.m. “We’ve seen Honeybucket’s music grow in local popularity thanks to CIFF and other Cleveland-area shows, so it only makes sense to play here with other great Ohio string bands -- it’s going to be a banjo-pickin’, boot-stompin’ good time!”
Hingetown’s main stage will feature a slew of Ohio’s finest musicians. Among the many scheduled to perform are:
● Hailing from Southeast, Ohio, The Wayfarers are sure to play a high-energy set of traditional American roots music.
● Known for their rock n’ roll inspired live performances, The Hocking River String Band will bring their powerful lyrics and bluegrass sounds up from Hocking County, Ohio.
To kick off the day, Vision Yoga & Wellness will lead a free, 60-minute, all levels Vinyasa yoga class onsite beginning at 1:00 pm. Once again the Hoedown is a family friendly event and welcomes all ages. There will be children’s activities including sidewalk chalk, Hoedown-themed photo ops, and jumbo games. The Music
Settlement’s Bob Stop is generously providing a “Musical Petting Zoo”, showcasing instruments for children to try out, hoping to spark an interest in music and the community!
For more information please visit hingetownhoedown.com, Facebook, and Twitter.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Ernie Krivda. Requiem for a Jazz Lady

Ernie Krivda. Requiem for a Jazz Lady.
Capri Records, 2015.  Ernie Krivda: http://www.erniekrivda.com/


Whether with his quartet or with the Fat Tuesday Big Band, Ernie Krivda is ubiquitous. He plays all around the region, from festivals to clubs to summer bandstand concerts, with an event in the area just about every week. He’s also prolific, having put out a new recording pretty much every year since the early 1990s. Try to keep up. This time out, the saxophonist works with a group of Detroit musicians with whom he’s had a long-term relationship.


The backstory of this album is fascinating. In the early 1960s, Krivda worked the jazz clubs of the region, one of a number of white musicians who played with black artists in a landscape that was racially complex. During that time, a young woman from his town of Garfield Heights was murdered, and he was recently contacted for information about her. This brought back a flood of memories for him and set him on the direction of this album, one that he calls “reflective.” I’d call the music noir, as it reminds me (as does the murder) of films from the postwar era in that black-and-white genre, but he might disagree. In any case, the style of music fits nicely in the bop milieu of the early 1960s, with elements of swing and R&B as well, forming what Krivda calls a “gumbo” that reflects all the various influences of music in the Rustbelt cities of the time.


Ernie in the 60s
He describes in the booklet both his life at the time and the songs he’s written or chosen for this album. Each has its own tempo, mood, and presence, but they all fit nicely together as a portrait of time and place. From the exuberance of “Questions” with its funky beat to the insistent push and strong melody of “The Remarkable Mr. Black” (dedicated to a Detroit pianist, with excellent solo by Lafayette Carthon), to the haunting ballad of the title track, it may be a gumbo but it’s all of a single tapestry. And a beautiful tapestry it is. The level of musicianship is consistently remarkable, and Krivda’s thick sax sound drapes over the whole affair like syrup. I love the sound, and have played this album numerous times at this point. It doesn’t fade in subsequent turns. I highly recommend this one for its evocation of the Cleveland jazz scene of earlier times, and for its all-around excellent playing.


Personnel: Ernie Krivda (tenor saxophone), Lafayette Carthon (piano), Marion Hayden (bass), Renell Gonsalves (drums).
Tracks: The Remarkable Mr. Black, I’ll Close My Eyes, Questions, Emerald, Great Lakes Gumbo, Little Face, Requiem for a Jazz Lady.

Jeff Wanser