The show I’m doing on Jan 17 is just solo Me in a quiet room with no distractions for 1 1/2 hours. I’m looking forward to doing the many thoughtful tunes I never get to play because they’re not right for happy-go-lucky drinkers.
There’s a Corey Harris gig in NYC on January 14 that I’d go to if I were still back east, which relates to an incredible video I posted a while back: Sittin´ On Top Of The World – Otha Turner & Corey Harris
Those guys both excel at the African roots of American music, which were buried as far as possible because of european looniness WRT Africa, like Heart of Darkness. Otha’s thing is pretty much straight quills AFAICT. Harris’ playing is creative and beautiful in a genre (blues) that is mainly formulaic machismo. Speaking as a musician with a related creative strategy, I have a lot of respect for where he takes it.
More awesomeness in the tradition of americana africana:
(1) Ali Farka Toure and Corey Harris play a Skip James tune. (2) From way back in 1961: Sid Hemphill & Lucious Smith – Old Devil’s Dream. (3) A short documentary on Otha Turner at FolkStreams.
Credit to my college friend Anne Wallace Allen, who posted this to Facebook, saying:
Bottled in Idaho, I guess. Eric keeps finding whiskey bottles in an 1890 house he’s renovating.
Mandolinist, resonator guitarist, and singer Lucas Gonze plays the roots of roots music – vintage Americana from the civil war to the early recording era. It’s homestyle music, great for a barbecue, with flavors of bluegrass, early blues, and New Orleans jazz. It’s like a soundtrack to Deadwood, including the blood, mud and archaic dialect.
Part of his reason to play antique style is to contribute to the public domain. Gonze puts his recordings into the public domain (or Creative Commons), and limits his sources to old works which are out of copyright.
Gonze is no luddite. He documents his music (and other quirky americana) on a blog at soupgreens.com. His version of Doc Watson’s “Deep River Blues” has 35,000 plays on YouTube (http://bit.ly/WZGu3U). His “Ghost Solos” MP3 EP was covered on BoingBoing and has 28,000 plays on Free Music Archive. A popular source of soundtrack music for videos, his recordings have been used by the video blogger Ze Frank (100,000 plays to date) and many others. He is on YouTube at youtube.com/lcsgze, on SoundCloud at soundcloud.com/lucas_gonze, and on Freesound at freesound.org/people/lucasgonze.
Comments on his music from around the web:
“Cracking player.. Lovely singing…”
“A forthright quality to that performance. It has the courage of it’s own convictions …loved it.”
“Fascinating hybrid picking technique”
“Wonderful, fancy picking on a greatsounding guitar!”
“if yhu goin dance like thiss then yhu mightee as well ge freaky then….. yhu kno wat i meann!!!”
“Lucas Gonze was incredible. He figuratively knocked everybody’s socks off.”
“Love your work, bringing these amazing old pieces of American music to life, and giving us some great historical contexts about the composers. “
“This is awesome =^.^=”
“The songs are jigsawed together perfectly, and I don’t consider them especially gloomy. I would use the word “atmospheric”. Lovely.”
Amy Waltz Nov 12 2012 (mp3). (00:49)
There are these three little waltzes that I’m in love with. They’re sort of classical music but simpler and more earthy, like stiff formal diction in a cowboy movie. I have recorded all three, and as time went by one of the recordings really bugged me. My idea back then, in the 2007 version, was to subvert and take it in an modernist direction. Over time this sounded like overacting, like a guy mugging for the camera instead of being honestly in the moment. So I have done a new version.
The name of the composition is “3 Waltzes.” It is by D. E. Jannon, who has no other works in the Library of Congress web site, where I found it, and left no other traces that I can find. It was published in New York in 1854.
If you play them by using the Yahoo Web Player in my blog entry on Soupgreens, you’ll hear all three together, as a set. They don’t blend well yet; I need to do a remastered version with the three of them in one MP3, with normalized volume, EQ and compression.
Do whatever you want with this recording. It’s hereby in the public domain. You have permission to use my sounds for any purpose, anywhere, any time, and feel free to deep link to my web server. If you want to give back credit me by name and URL – “Lucas Gonze (soupgreens.com)” – and send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to tell me about what you made.
For remixers, podcasters, and people needing soundtrack music I posted a slew of WAV files in longer and shorter cuts on Freesound: Parlor Guitar Matched Set. My idea was to provide a set of related sounds to tie a whole show together. Like a blog theme or an icon pack, this isn’t about any one recording. There’s a stinger, a long thing for a voicever, a high quality thing for a fadeout, etc etc.
Some keywords to describe the music for people using search engines: folk, woody, jittery, light, innocent, fast, parlor-guitar, sweet, happy, classical-guitar, americana.
To the extent possible under law,
has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to
Amy Waltz (Nov 12 2012).
This work is published from:
The first reuse of this recording that I know of is SMNG-A Architects Holiday Video 2012.
The Colored Aristocracy of St Louis is a small book with a long impact. It was
somewhat malicious in a sharply observed way:
In 1858, Cyprian Clamorgan wrote a brief but immensely readable book entitled The Colored Aristocracy of St. Louis.The grandson of a white voyageur and a mulatto woman, he was himself a member of the “colored aristocracy.” In a setting where the vast majority of African Americans were slaves, and where those who were free generally lived in abject poverty, Clamorgan’s “aristocrats” were exceptional people. Wealthy, educated, and articulate, these men and women occupied a “middle ground.” Their material advantages removed them from the mass of African Americans, but their race barred them from membership in white society.
The Colored Aristocracy of St. Louis is both a serious analysis of the social and legal disabilities under which African Americans of all classes labored and a settling of old scores. Somewhat malicious, Clamorgan enjoyed pointing out the foibles of his friends and enemies, but his book had a serious message as well. “He endeavored to convince white Americans that race was not an absolute, that the black community was not a monolith, that class, education, and especially wealth, should count for something.” Despite its fascinating insights into antebellum St. Louis, Clamorgan’s book has been virtually ignored since its initial publication.
I love that this gives tiny details of ordinary lives that have long been forgotten.
50 years later or so that became the title of a cakewalk:
And then the cakewalk was stripped down to its core and became a standard of the old time fiddle and banjo repertoire.
The melody of the Elvis Presley song “Love Me Tender” comes from a 19th century pop tune called “Aura Lee.”
It’s hard to make this song work for our contemporary ears. It’s so over the top sentimental, and the harmonies are unbearably sweet. So I was happy to find a version I liked: the 1938 cover by The Shelton Brothers.