Charlie Musselwhite performed at the sixth annual Jammy awards last week, joining in jams with two groups of artists. He performed first with Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Steve Kimock (all with Grateful Dead connections), Mike Gordon (Phish), Angelique Kidjo, Baba Maal, and others on the songs Jingo, Iko Iko, and Voodoo Chile. Musselwhite then sat in with Little Feat and their guests Stephen and Ky-Mani Marley, Bela Fleck, and former Howlin' Wolf sideman Hubert Sumlin on the show-closing set, performing A Political Blues followed by Jammin and One Love. This continues a trend for Charlie who, over the last couple of years, has performed with everyone from Ben Harper to the Blind Boys of Alabama, G. Love to Gov¹t Mule, and many others.
An all-star lineup of area musicians -- including a couple of literal Allstars -- assembled April 10 at Ardent Studios in Midtown to work on the score for Craig Brewer's "Black Snake Moan," the Memphis filmmaker's eagerly awaited followup to "Hustle & Flow," which recently won the Oscar for Best Original Song.
"I have to figure out a way to show how raunchy blues music can be a religious experience," said Brewer, 34, whose new movie is about a nymphomaniacal young woman (Christina Ricci) "whose demons are chased away by the blues," in the form of a grizzled, God-fearing bluesman named Lazarus (Samuel L. Jackson).
For "Hustle," Bomar assembled a lineup of veteran Stax musicians to create music that Brewer said was not just rhythmic but "cinematic." For "Black Snake," the musicians recruited by Bomar include local legend Jim Dickinson on keyboards; Dickinson's sons and North Mississippi Allstars members Luther Dickinson and Cody Dickinson on guitar and drums; Bomar on bass; and blues hero and former Memphian Charlie Musselwhite on harmonica.
Working and improvising from Bomar's score, the musicians played along to scenes from the film that were projected on a large screen in the studio, as engineer John Hampton and music editor Kevin Houston captured the results. Martial drum beats, soulful harmonica notes and tortured guitar riffs accompanied images of an angry Justin Timberlake, a stern Samuel L. Jackson and a chained and semi nude Christina Ricci. In a way, watching the recording process was like watching musicians play along to a screening of a silent movie.
Musselwhite, 62, who lives in Sonoma County, Calif., but is building a home in Clarksdale, Miss., said the sessions were "loose and relaxed and productive." He said he doesn't want his harmonica to overwhelm the images onscreen or the sounds of the other musicians. "Some players, they have all their licks memorized," he said. "They think about what they're going to play, but I try to think about what not to play. Tone and phrasing, that's what's important -- less is more. The feeling, that's the thing."
Apologies for our absence since around 6.30 PM on Thursday evening - our ISP was the victim of a "malicious attack" on the fiber running into their hosting center, and it's taken around 48 hours to get all the wires stitched back together. Hopefully normal service is now resumed.
The Blind Boys of Alabama continue to astound us all with their ongoing succession of awards! They took home the Traditional Gospel Album of the Year honor for their current release, "Atom Bomb," at this year's 37th annual GMA Music Awards (formerly the Dove Awards) held at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tenn. USA.
The Blind Boys of Alabama have teamed up with Dan Zanes on "Catch That Train! - Zane's first family album since the Grammy-nominated 'House Party."
The Blind Boys sing with Dan on a soulful recording of "Welcome Table." The record will be available May 16 at Starbucks locations and traditional retail.
'Ama' - an extraordinary collection of songs and gorgeous soundscapes featuring the pure, crystal voice of 'the Tibetan voice in exile' is released today.
This is her most beautiful and accessible album to date and promises to win her an even wider sphere of fans worldwide.
Charlie Musselwhite will join an impressive list of artists, including Mickey Hart and Billy Kreutzman of the Grateful Dead, Little Feat, BelaFleck and the Flectktones, McCoy Tyner, and others with a special collaborative performance at the sixth annual Jammy Awards on April 20 at Madison Square Garden. The details of Charlies collaboration will remain undercover until the night of the show.
Following the Jammys Charlie will kick off a worldwide tour in support of his new release, Delta Hardware .
March 22 sees the launch of one of the most ambitious pieces of musical theatre ever made. The Lord of the Rings officially opens in Toronto at the Princess of Wales Theatre. Reports from the previews that have been running for several weeks promise an extraordinary adaptation.
'We have not attempted to pull the novel towards the standard conventions of Musical Theatre, but rather to expand those conventions so that they will accommodate Tolkien's material. As a result, we will be presenting a hybrid of Text, Physical Theatre, Music and Spectacle never previously seen on this scale.' says director Matthew Warchus. As quoted in the New York Post 'The centrepiece is a 40-ton triple-interlocking turntable with 17 elevators that allows for multilevel action scenes. The battle of Helms Deep has the menacing Orcs leaping and tumbling through the mist-shrouded scene. The elevators rise into the tower of Mount Doom at the climax where the ring meets its fateful end'.
Music is a vital part of the production and is provided by Finnish folk stars Värttinä in collaboration with India's A R Rahman and musical director Christopher Nightingale.
For those not lucky enough to get to Toronto the production anticpates opening in London and New York.
It's good to see Värttinä's Miero acknowledged by the 'world music' community. The album is currently at number 5 in the European World Music Charts (compiled by radio DJs from all over Europe). This month's BBC Radio 3 World Roots chart (compiled by Fiona Talkington of 'Late Junction') has 'Miero' at number 1.
The undisputed master of sean-nós - the pure form of unaccompanied singing - Iarla O Lionaird rcently made a stunning apperance on television in Ireland. He appeared as part of the series Other Voices presented by John Kelly. The fourth series of RTÉ Two's 'Other Voices' once again brings together musicians from various backgrounds, traditions and disciplines to celebrate different sounds and styles of music and voices. 32 Irish and international acts will descend on this small but world-famous Kerry town to take part in the most celebrated rock music event of the year.
Folk legends, illustrious rockers and young pretenders will gather for the weeklong session, a diversity of musical expressions and energy, barely contained within the walls of a 200-year-old church.
If you missed the program you can watch Iarla's striking and moving appearance online.