Field Reportings from Issue #32
UNCLE TUPELO IS STILL DEAD: Son Volt leader JAY FARRAR spent much of 2000 on a planned hiatus from the band. The beginning of 2001 found him playing a handful of club dates around the country, accompanied by guitarist Mark Spencer (Blood Oranges, Freedy Johnston, Lisa Loeb). At these concerts, Farrar played material from a recent recording tentatively titled Sebastapol, some of which he debuted at U.K. dates last summer. Though copies of the recording have started to surface in the bootleg underground, at press time Warner Bros. (which issued Son Volt’s three albums) did not have plans for a Son Volt release. Exactly where the record might surface is unclear, though employees from Artemis Records reportedly attended Farrar’s recent New York City show….
DOC HAS DOLLY: North Carolina’s annual MERLEFEST will get a jolt of star power on April 28 when DOLLY PARTON makes her first appearance at the bluegrass and roots festival held on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro. MerleFest originated 14 years ago to honor the memory of Merle Watson, the son of flatpicking guitar legend DOC WATSON. The festival will be held April 26-29 and will feature performances by Watson, Earl Scruggs, Del McCoury, David Grisman, Bela Fleck, Sam Bush, Ricky Skaggs, Vassar Clements, Peter Rowan, Jerry Douglas, Herb Pedersen, Chris Hillman, Rhonda Vincent, Tim O’Brien, and Dan Tyminski, among others….
PUT ME IN THE MOVIES: Parton is currently doing pre-production work on two made-for-TV movies in which she will star, The Mae West Story for CBS and a remake of the 1956 comedy The Solid Gold Cadillac for TNT….
It’s easy to spot the cameos by bluegrass acts the WHITES and the COX FAMILY in the new Coen brothers film O Brother, Where Art Thou?, but only sharp-eyed viewers (and those who read the credits) will notice GILLIAN WELCH as a customer who asks for the record by the Soggy Bottom Boys. When star George Clooney “sings” in the film, viewers are actually hearing the voice of DAN TYMINSKI, best-known for his work as a member of Alison Krauss’ band, Union Station….
JOHN HIATT has recorded six songs for the soundtrack to the upcoming Disney film Country Bear Jamboree, tentatively scheduled for release in late 2001 or 2002. Hiatt will also provide the voice for one of the animatronic bear heads in the live-action movie, which chronicles the career of a country music bear band….
STUDIO TIME: After being dropped last year by Arista, BR5-49 has signed with Lucky Dog, a Sony imprint. The quintet has been in the studio with hotshot producer Paul Worley (Dixie Chicks, Martina McBride) and aims to release a new disc this summer….
BELA FLECK is working on a solo album of classical music pieces performed on the banjo….
Mandolinist DAVID GRISMAN has recorded an album with Italian artists Beppe Gambetta and Carlo Aonzo that is scheduled for a late spring release on the Acoustic Disc label. Grisman is also recording a duet project with pianist Denny Zeitlin….
In late January, NEKO CASE was in the studio collaborating with CALEXICO….
HAYSEED is currently working on a new album, tentatively titled In Other Words, to be released this summer on Catamount….
ON THE DOTTED LINE: Sugar Hill has signed former V-Roys frontman A. SCOTT MILLER to a solo deal….
Lonesome River Band fiddle player RICKIE SIMPKINS has signed a deal with bluegrass label Doobie Shea….
MCA has inked DEAN MILLER, who put out his debut on Capitol in 1997. He’s the son of country legend Roger Miller…
The first release by new label Music City Records is When In Texas by rockabilly guitarist Sonny Burgess….
REISSUE ROUNDUP: The latest installment of Sony Legacy’s “AMERICAN MILESTONES” series, released February 6, features four classic country titles: Joe Maphis’ Fire On The Strings (1957), Kris Kristofferson’s Kristofferson (1970), Charlie Rich’s Behind Closed Doors (1973), and Rodney Crowell’s Diamonds & Dirt (1988)….
Jason Ringenberg has purchased the rights to a 1985 live recording of his band JASON & THE SCORCHERS. Called Rock On Germany, the tape has circulated among fans and collectors for years. Ringenberg plans to reissue the live set on his own Courageous Chicken label….
On March 13, Rounder releases four compilations of Irish traditional music in America. All the volumes consist of field recordings from the 1970s. There are individual volumes devoted to East Coast musicians; Chicago artists; legendary composer Ed Reavy; and wind instrumentals….
On March 20, Rounder releases another installment of the ALAN LOMAX COLLECTION series. Deep River Of Song: Georgia Peaches contains field recordings made from 1933 to 1946, including works by Blind Willie McTell and Buster Brown….
HERE AND THERE: On April 10, Vanguard will release the live compilation Concerts For A Landmine Free World. Included on the disc are Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Mary Chapin Carpenter, John Prine, Nanci Griffith, Guy Clark, Gillian Welch & David Rawlings, Kris Kristofferson, and Bruce Cockburn. Proceeds from the album will benefit the Campaign For A Landmine Free World, an organization devoted to public education about landmines, physical rehabilitation for victims, and lobbying for nations to halt the production of landmines….
Legendary folk singer-songwriter JOHN STEWART was honored at the World Folk Music Federation’s annual benefit weekend at the Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia, Jan. 12-13 with a tribute concert featuring performances by Nanci Griffith, Rosanne Cash, Odetta, Noel Paul Stookey, Peter Tork and others. Stewart’s most recent album, Wires From The Bunker, was released in October by Appleseed Recordings….
FREDDY FENDER has been diagnosed with Hepatitis C. Physicians at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio notified the Tex-Mex music legend that his body would not accept the immunal suppressants needed for a kidney or liver transplant. Dialysis treatments have been beneficial for Fender, who has returned to the stage and plans to continue performing as his recovery progresses….
ADIOS: After five years in operation, alt-country/roots label TAR HUT RECORDS has closed its doors. The label released albums by the Ex-Husbands, the Lonesome Brothers, Martin’s Folly, and Angry Johnny & the Killbillies, among others.