Archive for July, 2009

Eyewitness Report From The Harry Smith Frolic

July 24, 2009

A thousand thanks to Bill Dillof, who sends this missive direct from the recently concluded Harry Smith Frolic. Bill writes:

What you missed this year was some amazing food (beef & pork tenderloins, venison, elk) and the first re-enactment of Volume 3. Also, a five piece string band playing in a tree (replete with bass). On account of the rain, Saturday’s festivities were moved to the pavilion, with benches circled around a simulated bonfire. With some amazing performances, we managed to complete all 26 sides. We are considering holding the event in the pavilion in the future because of the obviously improved comfort and acoustics. A symbolic bonfire will remind us of the smoke and mosquito years.

Thanks, Bill – I’m sorry I missed it, although my missing the smoke and mosquito years may have been OK.

Bill, by the way, is a member, with Paula Bradley and Jim Burns, of the old time music band Run Mountain. You’ll find the band’s website, including some great music, right here, and even more music (along with a bunch of videos and a list of upcoming shows) at Run Mountain’s myspace page.

Your next chance to see Run Mountain live and in person is at 51 Main (not surprisingly, it’s at 51 Main Street) in Middlebury, Vermont. The show starts at 9 PM. They’ll also be at the Champlain Valley Folk Festival on August 1 and 2. Check them out.

Your next chance to see a Run Mountain video is as close as it can possibly be: here’s Paula Bradley clogging to Tennessee Breakdown, accompanied by bandmates Dillof on fiddle and Burns on banjo. Please enjoy!


Folk In Lowell And Geremia In Cambridge

July 18, 2009

Summer has finally arrived here in New England, and the unaccustomed tropical conditions are slowing me down a bit. So all you get today are a couple of plugs for upcoming musical events.

Paul Geremia is performing at Club Passim in Cambridge tomorrow night (July 19) at 7:30. If you’ve seen Paul before, you can now skip ahead to the part where you buy tickets for the show. If you haven’t, there’s a video down at the bottom of this post, and with it my solemn assurance that Paul is the best bluesman ever to come out of the Providence River delta. Lloyd Thayer is billed as Paul’s “special guest” for the gig, and if you love the sound of the dobro, you’ll love Lloyd Thayer. Tell ’em Harry’s Music sent you.

July 24-26 is the 23rd edition of the Lowell Folk Festival. The music’s all free, and if it’s folk, you’ll find it there. Tuvan throat singing? Look no further. Brazilian capoeira dance? Your search has ended. Bluegrass? Zydeco? Klezmer? All of the above and many more. Show up hungry – there’ll be plenty of ethnic food vendors, and when you’re done eating and dancing you can check out the crafts displays from everywhere in the world.

Note that I’m also adding a link to the Oxford American website, which I wrote up a few weeks ago. They’ve got some new mp3s posted, so even if you’ve been there, go back.

Here’s the Paul Geremia video, from a performance at one of the world’s most revered blues venues, the Center for Arts in Natick, Massachusetts. Please enjoy.

Did Any Of You Go To The Harry Smith Frolic?

July 13, 2009

My recent post on the Harry Smith Frolic got a lot of attention – I hope some who found out about this great event by way of this blog found their way there this past weekend.

If any of you did, can you do me a big favor? Please either leave a comment below or send me an e-mail:

I was visiting family and unable to attend, so I’m hoping to get as much information on the proceedings as I can.

Thanks! And in partial payment for your trouble, I’m posting my favorite clip of the man himself, Harry Smith. In 1991 only a few months before his death in November of that year, Harry received a special Grammy award. Here’s the presentation. Please enjoy!

Bela Fleck Banjo Movie News Bulletin

July 10, 2009

I’ve mentioned Throw Down Your Heart on this blog before – it’s a documentary of banjoist Bela Fleck’s trip to Africa in search of the Banjo’s roots.

It’s having some local Boston-area showings this week, starting today and running at least through July 16 at the Coolidge Corner Theater in Brookline, and tonight only at 7 and 9:30 (with Bela Fleck in attendance for both showings!) at the Duxbury Performing Arts Center.

Here’s the official trailer – go see it if you can, and for screenings in your area, check out the film’s official website. Please enjoy!

Music From The Oxford American

July 3, 2009

The Oxford American bills itself as “The Southern Magazine of Good Writing,” but for a long time it’s also been the Southern magazine of good music as well. Their annual Southern Music issues quickly turn into collector’s items, including as they¬† do a CD with at least a few cuts you’ve never heard and can’t find anywhere else. From Sun Ra and R.E.M. to Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell (a duet!), and almost every stop between, they’ve all turned up in Oxford’s music issues.

Now they’ve got a website, and they’ve brought the music along. Every month there’ll be an “Editor’s Choice” set of mp3s available for your listening pleasure, and the first month’s selections are going to be hard to top going forward. A couple of the artists you’ve read about right here at Harry’s Music: there’s a cut from Carlene Carter’s almost-new CD, Stronger, and a sample of Bela Fleck’s African collaborations. Add a Chris Isaak duet with Trisha Yearwood, the unjustly ignored Rodriguez (you MUST listen to this one) and a rock band from the deserts of Mali (don’t ask!) and you’re still only half done.

Hurry over there now – these mp3s come down on July 8 to be replaced by another set. And while you’re there enjoy some of the good writing, too. It’s a great magazine and they’d love to add you as a reader.

Here’s a clip of Tinariwen (that’s the band from Mali) doing Chet Boghassa. I don’t know what the words mean, but the music hits me in all the right places. Please enjoy!