Saturday, September 12, 2009
Are you aware that you may be the victim of abuse? Hopefully, you’re sitting down. This is a delicate issue.
Sociologists believe that up to 40% of music fans in NYC have been forced to listen to irritating covers of Hank Williams and Johnny Cash against their will. Unsuspecting targets are frequently lured to dark, sparsely-populated locations, only to find themselves trapped in a nightmare where thrift store urban cowboys force themselves upon them, usually in the key of G. Victims are inevitably ashamed – not only for having paid nearly $6 for a can of PBR – but often for having taken Brooklyn Vegan at its word. What was billed as a “Toe-tappin’, yee-haw, chicken-fried good time” was, in reality, a crime.
DID YOU KNOW?
• You may have been abused by someone you know and/or have been dating?
• Victims may feel they “deserved it” for wearing a western shirt with pearl snaps?
• That Johnny Cash partially plagiarized “Folsom Prison Blues”?
• That subjecting people to sing alongs of “I Saw the Light” is illegal?
Fortunately, there is a songwriter night entitled “No Hank, No Cash, No Merle”, where healing can take place and PBR is a mere $3. This month’s installment features three dedicated pickers with a unique perspective on where country music should be going.
What a difference a banjo makes. Troubadours are so commonly associated with the guitar that the mere sight of a songwriter plucking five strings is enough to raise eyebrows. Rest assured that Hilary Hawke's instrument of choice has nothing to do with novelty. A native of upstate New York, she's equally adept at driving her compositions with rollicking Earl Scruggs picking, tasteful Appalachian frailing, or a Pete Seeger-style strum. Instead of indulging in needlessly flashy displays of virtuosity, Hawke leads with her voice, allowing the high quality of her songwriting to shine through.
None of this is news to anyone who has listened to her latest release, "Goodwill". Lovers of Gillian Welch, The Be Good Tanyas, or Lucinda Williams would do well to give the CD a spin from beginning to end, the way music fans savored albums in the Good Ol' Days before mp3's. Those expecting bluegrass themes will instead find more progressive material infused with lush harmonies, crisp arrangements, and sharp lyrics that invite repeated listens.
For tour dates and info visit: www.sonicbids.com/hilaryhawkeband
"Going By Highways"
In country music, life experience counts for something. Unless your business is churning out sugary pop or puppy love ballads for the Tween Generation, things like wisdom, an original voice, and a knack for seeing the mundane with fresh eyes are talents that pay enormous dividends. Amazingly, NYC's Jeep Rosenberg is blessed with all three.
Staying put is something most songwriters go to great lengths to avoid. As a civilian peacekeeper for United Nations missions in Mozambique, Haiti, and Kosovo -- now retired -- Rosenberg has never allowed himself to get too comfortable with a single perspective or world view. His wanderlust has led him to explore the world beyond his Southern roots, from the folk revival scenes of D.C. and Los Angeles to the armed forces and even academia, where he earned an MFA in poetry.
But let's not allow an unusual biography to obscure the songs themselves. They stand just fine on their own. "Silver Bluff Estates", Rosenberg's latest offering, finds the former peacekeeper exploring the misunderstandings that prevent people from seeing eye to eye.
"Darling, I Miss You When You're with Me"
For tour dates and info visit: Jeep Rosenberg's website
Nicolas Beaudoing (The Doc Marshalls)
The host of "No Hank, No Cash, No Merle" leads NYC's Cajun and honky-tonk outfit, the Doc Marshalls. In addition to embarking on a Southern tour in November, the Doc Marshalls will be showcasing at the Americana Music Conference in Nashville on September 19 (Douglas Corner) and September 20 (The Basement).
"St Dymphna" (from the CD, "Honest for Once")
"Hurricane is Playing" (4-track demo, unreleased)
For tour dates and info: Myspace