the alphabet project returns…where the ‘ell did i put the H?
Going through the library and sharing things I like, and things you might. If you missed the earlier posts, find them on my page by clicking on my name or avatar, and then find my featured blogs. (To answer the questions as to why I’m not providing links, clips, videos or pictures…it takes too long and I figure if you want to know more, you’ll find it.)
Headwater is a Vancouver based band that’s been recording and touring for almost ten years now. They have a couple of records out on CD Baby from what I can tell. I’ve got the latest from 2008 called Lay You Down. It’s a little folk, little country and maybe a little bluegrass but don’t let that chase you away ’cause it’s all good. I’m a sucker for anything steel be it pedal or dobro, and this fellow Tim Tweedale makes some nice sounds. He’s actually in Europe as I write this touring with Sarah MacDougall. These guys are road warriors throughout Western Canada, and it looks like they all get to go to Europe together in September.
I think I could listen to Heather Masse all day long and never get tired of her voice. A member of the Wailin’ Jennys, her Bird Song album is a great showcase for her vocal range and talent. Although trained in jazz she doesn’t seem beholden to one genre or another as she effortlessly slides from folk, pop, jazz and bluegrass. Comparisons with Norah Jones seem obvious but Heather’s work with both the Jenny’s and the Wayfaring Strangers would put her more in this little alt-community of ours.
Hem is a band that I never read about in No Depression which is sort of surprising to me in a way. This New York city based band is (or was…not much activity lately that I can find) another genre bending band with five albums out with four different record labels. If the Cowboy Junkies made happier sounding music, it might sound like this. Funnel Cloud, No Word From Tom and Rabbit Songs are always in heavy rotation on my iPod and good ones to check out.. The 2009 release they last put out was for a production of Twelfth Night and was up for some sort of an award this weekend. Hope they won and will have some new stuff for us soon.
Over the years I have tried so hard to listen to and like jazz but always fail. When I was younger I had access to a vast amount of record albums from labels like Impulse, CTI, Fantasy, Milestone, Prestige and Blue Note and whenever I moved to they’d get crated up and come along with me for the ride. Every so often I’d pull some out and play them but I just couldn’t make myself like it. I would say to myself that maybe I should hang on to them until I grew older and my ears matured, but I got tired of that day to come so finally I sold them all. So last year I found this CD on my shelf from Henry “Red” Allen and his New York Orchestra and threw it in the “get rid of it” pile but at the last minute decided to take a listen. Now this is the kind of jazz I love. It sounds like the stuff Woody Allen (no relation) uses in many of his films with a ragtime and New Orleans feel to it. Henry played with Fats Waller, Billy Holiday, Lucky Millinder, Victoria Spivey and Louis Armstrong before fronting his own orchestra, and he died in 1967. If you want to step back into time, this be the man to take you there.
I couldn’t wait to share about the Hangdogs until I checked the No Depression archives and saw a bunch of stuff written over the years about this now split up Brooklyn-based band. Instead of me hacking about them, check the archives here and if you like, the band still maintains their website and sells music there.
I don’t think they’d mine me saying this, but the 10th anniversary sampler download from Portland’s HUSH Records is still available on their website for free, or a donation if you feel so moved. And it would be hard not to feel appreciative of this two-disc set of beautiful music from such a fresh group of artists including Laura Gibson, Shelley Short, Loch Lomand, Super XX Man, Novi Split, Norfolk & Western and so many others. And as much as the I enjoy the music, I think I like the spirit of this label even more…or at least how it comes off on their website. Here’s just a little bit of their history:
It started without a business plan and maybe fifty bucks. It started with time and potential and the kind of spirit of endeavor that soaks into your bones, leaving you forever changed. Looking back, maybe that’s why HUSH is alive and kicking and essential as ever. HUSH didn’t bulldoze, it didn’t get permits, it didn’t build to suit. HUSH just spontaneously happened and figured itself out on along the way, in fits and starts, through delusions of grandeur and growing pains alike. Through unrealized hopes and sublime deliverance. Through the sheer force of will and the collective energy of thousands of supporters, HUSH has persisted.
Oh yeah..I like HUSH.
Sounding more than a little like Neil Young at times, The Hiders from Cincinnati was formed by Ass Ponies’ lead guitarist Billy Alletzhauser and it looks like their last release was from back in 2008. But they are alive and well…playing some upcoming dates in Ohio and Kentucky. They’ve got a website and some free music downloads if you’d like to check them out.