NEMS News #230 - July 7, 2007
- New England Music Scrapbook News
Alan Lewis, Editor
Our Corner of the Rock 'n' Roll Life
July 7, 2007
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We've got Thrills, chills, Dirty Water
What more do you need?
When the big beat hits ya
Comin' from your transistor
Like the T at full speed
When the big beat hits ya...
-- "Boston Lullaby," Dudick/Naihersey.
Copyright c. 1980 by Camaraderie Music, BMI.
All rights reserved. Used with permission.
. . . . .
BRATTLEBORO, VT, July 7 - This is the Fourth of July Weekend, for all
practical purposes. Independence Week, as some call it. And it
should come as no surprise to anyone that we have less news than
usual. There is nothing quite like a major holiday falling
dead-center in the middle of a week. This is kind of like our
All-Star Break. But this is also roughly the point in the calendar
when activity levels start picking up. So, enjoy the lull while we've
got it. The season will soon enough heat up.
With any luck, you're getting outdoors. Personally, as a runner, I am
having my best year in somewhere in the range of a dozen to fourteen
years. I feel as though, like Merlin in "Camelot," I'm youthening.
On practically no notice, singer-songwriter SCOTT KING and I set up an
interview. The results get most of the space in the Scott King
feature article which appears below. I actually did not know his name
until his latest album arrived in our mailbox a couple weeks ago. But
because of his power-chording history at Bill's Bar in Boston, with
his old band Xguru, and his current Maine-based singer-songwriter
career, I believe this piece is likely to interest a lot of our
readers: not everyone for the same reason.
There is a distinction to be made between a million-selling record and
a CERTIFIED million seller. Who knows when the first country record
sold a million copies. But the first C&W hit to be industry-certified
as a million seller was a World War II piece with a long-ish title
something like "There Must Be a Star-Spangled Banner Flying
Somewhere." It was written by a Maine man who divided his time
somehow between Swans Island and Aroostook County. I do not
personally have an especially strong connection to Swans Island. But
nonetheless, if you check the Swans Island genealogy website, you will
find me duly recorded therein. My ex-wife Christine, who I have
probably never mentioned in this newsletter, is a Swans Island native
from the tiny community of Atlantic. And I recall once bringing up
"There Must Be a Star-Spangled Banner" to a group of locals on The
Island, as they say, and a number of them knew the songwriter
personally and remembered him well. It seems to me he ran a village
grocery store. I raise this again, here and now, mostly because there
are people who believe that this date
is going to be extremely lucky for certain folks, as that country
record was lucky for its Swans Island writer. And this date just
happens to be Christine's birthday. So to Swans Island native
Christine Lewis, here's hoping you have a great day. And though there
are those who believe, by virtue of your fortunate birthdate, you are
set for tremendous luck today without anyone wishing it for you,
here's wishing you the best of luck anyway.
And to all the rest of you, have a wonderful 7-7-7!
STRATTON MOUNTAIN BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL
A great New Hampshire bluegrass band,
sent us the following information about the
STRATTON MOUNTAIN BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL
which is happening today and tomorrow (Saturday and Sunday).
"Come join us at the 6th annual Summer Bluegrass Festival at the
Stratton Mountain Resort in Stratton, Vermont, on July 7 & 8.
Admission is FREE to enjoy the great line up of music offered. High
Range performs a set on Saturday, July 7th 11:45 am -12:45 on the
village stage. Also performing this weekend are Freewheelin ', New
England Bluegrass Band, The Lonesome Whistle Band, The Bondville Boys,
and Gordon Stone. For all of the information you need to enjoy this
festival go to www.stratton.com or call 1.800.STRATTON
-- High Range, "Stratton Mountain Bluegrass
Festival," July 6, 2007
NEW ENGLAND MUSIC SCRAPBOOK
Since the closing of the Vermont Guardian, I have run Guardian-like
feature articles in this newsletter. In addition to my Vermont summer
season music preview, I have contributed features on
This week's newsletter issue includes an article of good size about
For next week, we have a feature in the works on the Pioneer Valley band,
And I have an agreement in principal to preview an upcoming show by
Boston's re-emerging rock singer-songwriter
If anyone may be interested in posting any one of these on a website,
please contact me by way of the following Web page:
I would gladly ask permission of the people who gave me the needed
interview(s). Though asking such permission is probably not in anyway
required, it is a step I would simply like to take.
I am bringing this up because, as far as I can tell from a Metacrawler
search this (Saturday) morning, no one has posted our Neighborhoods
feature - not even The Neighborhoods, themselves - with or without
permission, though the article is already several weeks old. I am
very interested in getting these pieces as wide circulation as
possible. So if we could make arrangements to get some of these
pieces posted on the Web, with the usual original-publication source
citation, it would please me greatly.
From 90s Power Chords at Bill's Bar in Boston
to a 2007 Solo Acoustic Summer Trip Through Maine
By Alan Lewis
New England Music Scrapbook Newsletter
July 7, 2007
Little is more hope-inspiring in this line than finding a
CD-mailer in our mailbox. As a rule, people send us records they
think are pretty good. So when we get a record by an artist we know
nothing about, such as Scott King, it inspires optimism like the
coming of spring or the approach of a Red Sox season. The artwork of
King's new CD cover gives a sense of post-Suzanne Vega
singer-songwriter fare, and a sticker says the featured song is Dave
Carter's "Frank to Valentino." Carter was a brilliant guy, and it
would be hard to go wrong singing his material.
"Aunt Camilla Brown," the opening cut on Scott King's "In Your
Head," is more early-70s sounding than most surviving early-70s
artists these days could manage. Then a few tracks into the disc, we
come face to face with a thing we know intimately: an Adult
Contemporary-format OBVIOUS SINGLE. Make no mistake about it. If
"Go, Maria" could get the necessary promotion and distribution, it
would be - or at least SHOULD be - all over AC radio and probably
Triple-A radio, too, coast to coast. "Go, Maria" is the work of a
pop-oriented singer-songwriter who is conversant in "Revolver"-era
Beatles. King speaks of idolizing Paul McCartney, but a line in "Go,
Maria" reflects a John Lennon moment.
Most of the discs we receive are hot with main action, to one
degree or another, through the first few tracks; and then they run out
of steam well before closing. But even way off at the end of King's
new CD is to be found one of his best songs, the bluesy/jazzy "You
Stole My Heart." This song - distinct from Kings several musical and
interview references to The Beatles - has a passage which calls to
mind a personal all-time favorite oldie, Sam Cooke's "Bring It on Home
So, Scott King is an easy guy to figure, right?
As it turns out, King's background in music is more than a little
different from what a listener might imagine when hearing his diverse,
catchy new album, "In Your Head," and knowing nothing more. So I
asked him for the story of his days, in the late 1990s, of playing a
noise-rocking Boston venue, Bill's Bar.
"You're absolutely right about the discrepancy between the sound
of the songs on 'In Your Head' and the type of music one would expect
to hear in Bill's Bar, at least back when I was playing there in the
second half of the 90s," allowed King. "Had you been in our practice
room whenever I would bring a new song to the rest of the guys in
Xguru and play it for them live on acoustic guitar or piano, I suspect
that you wouldn't have noticed an enormous difference,
musically-speaking, between what I was presenting to them and what you
can hear on 'In Your Head' or 'Portrait' (2005). In fact, 'Something
New' would have been a good song for Xguru, but it would have been
recorded differently. The acoustic would have been buried in the mix
and the electric brought way up and about six more heavy electric
guitar tracks added.
"The songs I was writing then are not as strong lyrically as
what's on the new record or the previous one for that matter, but I
think I was nearly as strong a crafter of the musical side of songs.
What happened was that the band would immediately reject anything with
Folk, Blues, Jazz, or even Classic Rock influence. If it didn't seem
to be a cousin of Live, Lit, Eve 6, Stabbing Westward, or at least U2
('Achtung Baby' forward), The Samples, Toad The Wet Sprocket, etc., it
got the big boot (with the exception of 'Mystery' which the executive
producer strong-armed the rest of the band into including on the
record). It was about having 'a sound' - one sound - and it was big
power chords with little to no tolerance for conventional solos, and
that's what was mostly happening in Modern Rock at that time.
"Tim O'Heir was a big part of the evolution of my songs on record
and on stage. He already had a big resume for that (Juliana Hatfield,
Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh, Folk Implosion, etc.) and great confidence and
a clear vision for what he was going to do with our material. He just
took over at Fort Apache and had us layer a gazillion distorted
guitars over everything."
"My acoustic would sometimes start a song," he continued, "but it
would quickly become a minor player, part of the underlying texture as
opposed to the featured instrument that it was when I would bring the
raw song to the group. It was cool though. A great experience. Tim
helped us define a sound that put us squarely in the Modern Rock
format, and it was satisfying at the time.
"I'll never forget the sold-out CD release at Bill's, or the many
gigs upstairs and downstairs at The Middle East, etc. At the same
time, [since then] it has been very gratifying to have a hand in the
production of my songs and to hear them on record closer to how they
are in my mind. I've sort of become what I would have been had Xguru
been the Scott King Band instead.
"I don't naturally rock out all that hard I guess, and I have
many influences and like a variety of styles. So now I've kind of
come into my own. I've figured out who I am and I'm getting to be
that artist I always wanted to be: a musician who just writes in
whatever style he feels like and puts it all together without someone
saying, 'Hey man, you can't do that; you have to have a sound.' I'm
probably less marketable because of it, I guess, but I don't know why,
because I think it's a strength to have more than one dimension
musically, and lyrically, too, for that matter. The music of The
Beatles certainly confirms that, don't you think? They were
stylistically all over the board, and I think that shows their
versatility and contributes to why those records are so fun to listen
to. You don't get bored."
That, interestingly enough, is most (but not quite all) of one
answer to a single question. Clearly Scott King has given a good deal
of thought to his music and career, and he has a solid sense about how
he wants to put those ideas into words. Notice his comment about
getting to be "a musician who just writes in whatever style he feels
like." Here and there, in interviews with musicians, I paraphrase a
thought from singer-songwriter Amy Fairchild along very similar lines.
And it has been my experience that being able to draw from
widely-varied directions is really important to a whole lot of
artists, though many find themselves in situations that hardly could
be said to encourage diversity and versatility.
"I never played as part of the [WBCN Rock 'n' Roll] Rumble," said
King, "but Xguru did do a few things with WBCN. I remember one gig
that Juanita the Scene Queen attended. I recall some problem with my
gear and hating my guitar sound that night and thinking we sucked.
Next thing I know my manager is telling us that Juanita has invited us
to do a little tour of venues in the city, riding in the 'BCN van with
the station's Hummer cruising alongside, and we're hitting all these
different spots for Cinco de Mayo and playing a bunch of gigs for our
favorite Boston station. We also teamed up with the 'BCN for some
college gigs. ... [W]e hit MIT and Northeastern and a few others for a
series of outdoor shows."
For all his songwriting, past and present, the featured song on
"In Your Head," Scott King's latest album, was written by Dave Carter.
"At some point while listening to 'Frank to Valentino,' I just
started hearing it with a full band, and the version you hear on 'In
Your Head' is exactly as I heard it in my head. It's pretty much that
simple. Dave made it easy for me by recording the song with just his
voice and guitar. I had somewhere to go with it."
Speaking of Carter, in reference to the "whole canon of great
American poets," King said, "[W]hat if Robert Frost had also played a
mean guitar and written beautiful melodies for those words and had a
King actually seldom interprets the work of other writers. "I
have performed one other cover, Larry Norman's 'The Outlaw,' and it's
on 'Wrecking Ball' (2007)...."
If there could be a perfect double bill including Scott King,
what would the other act be? King puzzled a bit, from different
points of view, over what would make a perfect double bill; and he
recalled some split shows involving his 90s band, Xguru. He wound up
answering, "From my perspective as a musician ... the perfect double
bill would be with my idol, Paul McCartney, but I'm not sure his fans
would be happy about that!?"
Reponding to a standard question about surprising happenings in a
career, King said, "I just think generally about the mystery of
songwriting, which continues to surprise me." He next explained, "I
tend to be bone dry and then one day I pick up my guitar and the songs
start coming on like gangbusters; but regardless of the chosen method,
there's a mystery to it. Where do melodies come from? In Paul
McCartney's case, for example, he woke up and there was 'Yesterday,' a
melody so beautiful it'll make you cry. And Dave Carter dreamed
Taking it, for a moment, in a different direction, King said,
"The un-mysterious part is that in this process I may have to work a
while to get the right progression of chords for that bridge I know
the song needs, or I might grab a rhyming dictionary or research
something online to finish the lyrics, but the song is there; it was
waiting for me. That's the mystery in all its spiritual beauty, and
it surprises and delights and unsettles me every time."
Asked about a "free, breezy feel" to much of his latest music,
King said he thinks it is "an apt description of this collection of
songs and how they've been recorded. One reviewer from Northeast in
Tune Magazine published a similar observation about my last record.
She wrote that 'Every song feels comfortable, as if King breathes air
in and music out.' I think that observation applies to 'In Your Head'
as well. [With the album, 'In Your Head,' in mind, I had said, in an
interview question, that it sounded to me as though King was 'singing
in a style that seems to come quite naturally - a good fit.']
"As for whether or not this represents a stylistic departure, I'd
say that immediately post-Xguru it would have, but not now. This is
kind of the trajectory that I've been on through the last two records,
but I expect to be redefining myself somewhat on the next one. I've
got some exciting ideas percolating."
One thing that was percolating on the new disc, "In Your Head,"
is the drumming of Ginger Cote. Many of our readers know her from her
times with a great Maine band, The Coming Grass. On "In Your Head,"
she contributes slight degrees of roughness and eccentricity in ways
that add positively to the character of the recording. Call it nuance
or texture if you prefer. Character seems right to me. Among the
records I have heard, her latest studio efforts, including "In Your
Head," have been her best.
"I'm solo on almost every leg of this summer tour," said King.
"I'll be playing a lot of the songs off 'In Your Head,' because that's
the disc that just came out and that I'm on the road to promote and
hopefully sell, but I have also been writing a lot lately, and
whenever I have new songs, I'm chomping at the bit to play them in
concert. I find this to be at once a necessary and deeply enjoyable
process of working the kinks out, seeing how the audience responds,
and determining which songs are the most vibrant and deserving to be
on the next record."
Scott King's July and August concert schedule is heavy on Maine
bookings, but the run of shows noted below includes an appearance at
the Common Ground Coffeehouse in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. He also
already has a gig set for way off in early 2008 at Lowell, Mass.
For a personal view of the road from Bill's Bar to Old Orchard
Beach, a Scott King show is the place to be.
Who: Scott King
Where Lakeshore Cafe, Livermore, ME, July 12
and Hooligans, Old Orchard Beach, ME, July 13
When: Common Ground Coffeehouse, Fitchburg, MA,
For more information: http://www.olsenrecords.com/scottking/
= = = = =
BRIEF ITEMS :
New Review in
"From the very gospel-influenced strains of the title track ('We're
All Going There'), Noam Weinstein has created something utterly
unique. Brainy like Joe Jackson and soulful like Joe Cocker, there's
still an element we can't quite put our finger on. Maybe it's his
skillful guitar work, especially on the driving 'Marching in Place' or
the country-flavored 'Other People's Hearts.' Highlights from the
record include the poetic 'Green to Yellow' and the pounding blues
rock of 'Gonna Have to Charge You.' In an indie-music world that's
sometimes drowning in introspection and poor musicianship, Weinstein
descends like the answer to a prayer. Wherever he's going, we'll follow."
-- Performing Songwriter
Noam Weinstein Addendum:
"(Should the author be praying for something of greater urgency? Not
if her basic needs are being met and no one in her family is ill.)"
-- Noam Weinstein, "New Reviews and Show Monday,"
July 6, 2007
ANSWER TO A PRAYER OR NOT, Weinstein's latest two albums have been
fantastically produced, and he is a gifted songwriter. To my mind,
this Performing Songwriter notice is right on the mark.
Track on "Feels Like Home" Compilation
"FEELS LIKE HOME: - 'Here and Now,' the lead-off track on 'Hope and
Other Casualties,' will appear on an upcoming CD, 'Feels Like Home,' a
compilation to raise awareness about homelessness. A cooperative
effort between socially-conscious Appleseed Recordings and the Give US
Your Poor initiative, the CD will feature new music from Bruce
Springsteen & Pete Seeger, Natalie Merchant, Jon Bon Jovi, Jewel,
Madeleine Peyroux, Michelle Shocked, and many others. I'm honored to
be in such vaunted company and for such a great cause. Look for the
CD in stores September 25th."
-- "Mark Erelli July 2007 Newsletter," July 4,
We have received a reader question about what bands played Boston's
Nickerson Field in September 1982. Do any of you recall?
A quick search of the Beta version of the forthcoming Boston Globe
search produced no results. (The New York Times has just traded way,
way, WAY DOWN in its provision for historic archive searches. They
have made matters so much worse it is practically beyond belief. Let's
hope The Boston Globe does not follow the same path.)
If you recall what bands played Nickerson Field in '82, or you think
you may, and you would be willing to share your information, please
e-mail us by way of the following Web page:
The Faith Hill and Tim McGraw review, which we are linking to here,
includes a very short notice of the opening set by Massachusetts
Hill and McGraw cover highs and lows
By Joan Anderman, Globe Staff | July 6, 2007
end BRIEF ITEMS
= = = = =
In Southern New Hampshire
WHEN THE BOSTON VOCAL GROUP,
signed with Universal (which I believe is the world's largest record
label group), it was said the members would be recording, starting
right away. We have heard little if anything about this outfit since.
So it is terrific to have a show to note: kind of a return from the
studio to the stage. (Or maybe just a break - we will know more later.)
Bristol Entertainment Presents...
Universal Motown Recording Artists
JADA LIVE WITH THE PLAIN WHITE TEE'S!
Sunday, July 22nd
At the Pheasant Lane Mall, Nashua, NH
-- Bristol Studios, "Jada Live With the Plain
White Tee's," July 5, 2007
REBECCA HALL AND KEN ANDERSON
Releasing an Album as Members of The Strangelings;
Continuing To Promise a Release of Their Own
"Strange, Stranger, Strangeling, Pt. 2.
"As mentioned in last month's Newsdumpster, we recently became the
third half of the Strangelings, featuring the angelic vocal trio of
Maura Kennedy, Chris Thompson and Rebecca, and instrumental
fortification by all the above plus Pete Kennedy and Ken. With Pete
and Maura at the knobs, we just finished the first Strangelings CD,
'Season of the Witch;' and lookee, it contains three Rebecca tunes,
namely, 'Hard Way to Learn,' 'Man of Poor Fortune,' and 'Sculptor's
Song,' all in glorious Strange-O-Phonic sound. 'Season of the Witch'
will debut at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival later this month, where
we're slated to do a mess o' shows."
. . . . .
"'Hungrytown' is mostly done. A smattering of violin, cello, comb and
tissue paper and a small-mouth bass is about all it needs at this
point. Money would be good, too."
-- Rebecca Hall and Ken Anderson, "July 2007
Newsdumpster," July 2, 2007
The Roundhouse DVD
"the roundhouse DVD is about to go on sale!!!
"a little about it:
"we filmed our entire, love-fest and carny-filled show at the
Roundhouse in London and the DVD includes footage from the entire show
plus clips and interviews from all the other performers and bands who
were part of the madness, including: Margaret Cho, Emilie Bera &
Marie-Herveline Caron, Katie Kay & Erin Maxick, Circus Krin & Jonas,
Baby Dee, Edward Ka-Spel & The Silverman, Marisa Carnesky & Lily
White, Future Cinema, Zen Zen Zo, Raphaelle Boitel, Reggie Watts, The
Pish Dolls, Bang On!, Trash McSweeny of The Red Paintings, Jason
Webley, Lene Lovich, Nicholas Vargelis, Sxip Shirey, and The Dresden
"it was truly a magical night. i was recently talking to some press
folks about it and they asked me what the difference was between this
DVD and theParadiseDVD (our first, shot in Boston a few years ago).
the Paradise DVD really caught us in our element, in our hometown
throwing down with our hardcore local brigade and friends. this show
in london brought together the best of the out-of-town friends we've
made over the years ... there are performers from literally every
corner of the globe and you can just feel the love in the room as
everybody criss-crosses and connects. it's a beautiful reminder of
how far we've come as a band, how far the brigade has come as a
phenomenon, and how much love has been put into the entire community.
it's pretty awesome. i usually cry at the ending."
-- Dresden Dolls, "Roundhouse DVD Release,"
July 6, 2007
She spends all her time on a bus, but her songs are about much more
By Marc Hirsh, Globe Correspondent | July 6, 2007
REST IN PEACE :
Bill Barber, 87, pioneer in melding of tuba, jazz
By Adam Bernstein, Washington Post | July 1, 2007
I AM TOTALLY OUT OF TIME. So here is the direct Web address for the
Boston Globe Obituaries table of contents:
And here are some of the table of contents entries for obituaries that
I think may interest many of our readers:
Johnny Frigo, 90; jazz bassist, violinist helped write standards
(By Adam Bernstein, Washington Post, 7/6/07)
WASHINGTON -- Johnny Frigo, a highly respected jazz violinist and
bassist who helped start the Soft Winds Trio and co-wrote such
standards as "Detour Ahead" and "I Told You I Love You, Now Get Out,"
died Wednesday at Weiss Memorial Hospital in Chicago, after suffering
complications from a fall. He was 90.
Bill Pinkney, 81, original bass in '50s group The Drifters
(Boston Globe, 7/6/07)
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Bill Pinkney, the last survivor of the original
members of the musical group The Drifters, died Wednesday. He was 81.
Regine Crespin; diva noted for magnetism
(By Chris Pasles, Los Angeles Times, 7/6/07)
LOS ANGELES -- French soprano Regine Crespin, who forged an
international reputation largely in German operas, died yesterday at a
Paris hospital, according to her longtime record label, EMI. She was 80.
George Melly, 80, jazz singer, critic
(Boston Globe, 7/6/07)
LONDON -- George Melly, a flamboyant, gravel-voiced jazz singer,
critic, and raconteur, died yesterday at home, his wife, Diana, said.
He was 80.
Boots Randolph; saxophonist was top sessions player; at 80
(By Joe Edwards, Associated Press, 7/4/07)
Boots Randolph, whose spirited saxophone playing on "Yakety Sax" was
resurrected years later on Benny Hill's TV show, died yesterday. He
Hy Zaret, 99; wrote words to 'Unchained Melody'
(Boston Globe, 7/4/07)
Lyricist Hy Zaret, who wrote the haunting words to "Unchained Melody,"
one of the most frequently recorded songs of the 20th century, died
Monday. He was 99.
Beverly Sills, people's diva, dies
(By Mark Feeney, Globe Staff, 7/3/07)
Beverly Sills, whose radiant soprano and vibrant personality made her
"America's Queen of Opera," as Time magazine called her in 1971, died
last night. She was 78.
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As a rule, we do not post SHOW LISTINGS. The reason is quite
simple. Our readers are spread out all over the map. Though our name
is the NEW ENGLAND Music Scrapbook, we have readers all across the
southern tier of states - with large numbers in Florida generally, the
Atlanta area, and Greater Los Angeles. Even within the Northeast, we
have readers in each of the six New England states and many in New
York and New Jersey. The great majority of show listings would be of
no interest at all to most of our readers.
We make exceptions when show listings are part of an item of more
general interest. CD-release events are great examples. For us, the
main point of an item of this sort is that an act has a new record.
The show being announced is of secondary interest to us - if that - as
far as the contents of our newsletter goes.
We also make a few exceptions for shows in the immediate Boston
area. Our single biggest concentration of readers, as far as we know,
is in and around Boston. We understand from e-mails we receive that
we are able to help turn out an audience to many entertainments in the
Boston area. But even in the case of Boston shows, we make few
So, the general rule of thumb is that we don't post show
listings. In the very few, truly exceptional instances where we do...
... Shows can be canceled, sold out, or even moved to another
date or location. We recommend checking the Web, calling ahead or
otherwise confirming details.
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