The Runaways’ Cherie Currie and Fanny’s Brie Darling Rock Chicago

2019 Beth Hart wide

Cherie Currie and Brie Darling played a raucous rock and roll show at the City Winery in Chicago with the help of a four-man backup band. Currie, the one-time lead singer of the seminal female band the Runaways, and Darling the on-again, off-again drummer for the pioneering women group Fanny, sang most of the songs from their recent excellent collaboration album, The Motivator, including two of the three originals from that release.

The two traded vocals for most of the night. Although Currie joked at one point that she was having a senior moment because she forgot the opening lines to one of the new songs, it is hard to believe that Currie will be turning 60 in a few days while Darling is already 70. Both musicians were in fine voice, had lots of energy, and clearly were having fun playing many of the cover songs from The Motivator.

In addition, Darling sang two songs, and played drums on one of these songs, from last year’s Fanny reunion album,  Fanny Walked the Earth. The set opened with a cover of the Runaways’ song “American Nights” and closed with the Runaways’ classic “Cherry Bomb,” which had the crowd on their feet singing along. Opening Act White Mystery played a short, loud, and enthusiastic set.

Guitar Tricks Review

Guitar Tricks Review

Where do I start with this review?
Guitar Tricks is the oldest video guitar lessons website on the net, online since 1998, when it took over an hour to download anything of size. Long-time guitarist Jon Broderick started the site struggling to find accurate tabs and good information about playing guitar.

Today Guitar Tricks is the mecca of guitar lesson sites with over 3,000 video lessons for $10.95 a month. The lessons are taught by absolute experts, professionals who put food on the table by playing guitar. I find the techniques and tricks they teach to be unique and rare.

You don’t find the same old, “This is how to play the Am Pentatonic Scale, this is how to play the C chord…” at Guitar Tricks. You find this with the absolute beginner material, but what impresses me with the site is that it’s so diverse in skill level (beginner to expert), and you can browse lessons based on both genre (so diverse there’s even Surf) and influences such as Eddie Van Halen for instance.

I have a drawer full of DVDs by all of the top pros like Frank Gambale, John Petrucci, and Michael Angelo Batio. All of which cost me roughly $500. Jon Broderick’s site has videos that show you how to play the same sort of techniques I paid out the rear for. Valuable doesn’t quite describe the site, more like invaluable.

I learn more in one day with the website than I used to in a month. The navigation is very fluent. The lessons are dense with great material.

But there are some downsides. While Guitar Tricks may be literally 10 times cheaper than even taking private lessons and great for progressing quickly, some of the older videos have bad lighting and not the greatest sound quality. For instance, there’s a killer 8 to 10 video tapping lesson I’d like to tackle, but it must have been uploaded on the site carelessly near the beginning of the site. That said, there are tabs along with the videos that aren’t booming with visual quality, so it’s not too big of an issue.

Another downside we have is that there’s not a private teacher correcting your technique every step of the way. Sites like JamPlay have less valuable content in my opinion, but may be better for the beginner because there’s literally a staff of guitar teachers who can work with you one-on-one online. For the better guitarists, intermediates and advanced, there’s no topping Guitar Tricks.

What makes Guitar Tricks so special for the advanced player, I think, is that they’re are lessons that will take you to expert levels unlike any other site I’ve used. You can learn exact techniques that are used by heroes like Paul Gilbert, Joe Satriani, and Jimi Hendrix. That was all I needed to know before I became part of the site.

In comparison to YouTube videos, you can take all day filtering out the crummy videos taught by average guitarists in their bedrooms or you can use GT. For those of us who don’t have but an hour a day to practice anymore, you surf one great lesson after another. It’s remarkable what you learn in just one day.

That was my inside scoop and review of the site. Even with the couple negatives, I give it two thumbs up no doubt.

Mr. Handy’s Blues – The Director’s Cut

2020 TBBF 728×90

W.C. Handy has long been known as the “Father of the Blues.” Did he create the genre? No. Was he first to play them? No. Did he disseminate the blues to the masses? Undoubtedly.

The never before told story of his life, his music, and his legacy, told in his own voice, has now been released in the documentary film, Mr. Handy’s Blues.

The film is the brainchild of Emmy Award-winning producer/director Joanne Fish. Like many documentarians before her, Fish uses interview clips with artists who have been influenced by her subject, in this case, Mr. Handy himself. Taj Mahal, Bobby Rush, Adam Gussow, Mick Kolassa, and several others add their personal feelings. But that’s just the beginning.

Mr. Handy’s Blues also contains footage of Louis Armstrong and George Gershwin paying homage. Bessie Smith, recorded on film singing “St. Louis Blues,” is surely a highlight. However, what struck me most was hearing Handy’s voice telling his own story. From archival recordings by Alan Lomax, to more modern day conversations, Handy tells tales from his childhood through his career. It’s a brilliant concept and comes across more powerfully than anyone else’s stories possibly could.

The film was originally released in 2016 but now we can enjoy the Director’s Cut of the film on DVD. The good, the bad, and the sometimes brutal stories that make up the life of the man heralded as, well, the herald of the blues. As his grandson, Dr. Carlos Handy so eloquently states, “He took the music of his people and put it on a silver platter.” Audiences both black and white ate it up – and they begged for more.

With the holidays fast approaching, do yourself a favor and purchase a couple of these. You’ll want one for yourself, and any music lover among your friends and family would consider it the greatest gift they’ve received this year.

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Purchase Mr. Handy’s Blues

Guitar Mania: Playing it Left Handed

Guitar Mania: Playing it Left Handed

Consider that almost ninety percent of the world’s population is born right handed.
Meaning, they use their right hands more often than the left one. Their right hand is responsible for important everyday activities like writing. And where does this leave the lefties? Basically, vice versa.

In the music industry, a small minority of musicians are left-handed. Though some notable and famous performers are born lefties. Personalities like Jimi Hendrix and Dan Seals played left-handed. Is this much of a surprise? Other artists who are left-handed switch the guitar’s string for their own benefit.

How do lefties go about playing a guitar custom made for the right handed?

If you have overcame the idea of quitting, and you are among the left-handed who try so hard learning to play it your way, might as well read attentively. This can help you figure out what to do. You can actually do two things: first, you can switch the strings or you can choose to play the guitar upside down. Sounds funny? It’s a fact and pretty much effective.

Some write-ups stated it is way difficult and outrageous to create notes with a guitar positioned upside down. While others believe nothing is impossible if you try really hard and put your heart into it. The idea of rotating the guitar and operating it backwards can be accepted and used.

Using the basic chords, a left-handed player can place his fingers on the same set of strings only that it has to be put the other way around but with the same basic strings. Regardless of how accustomed people are when it comes to playing a guitar right handed, some left handed guitarists have introduced newer methods.

To start with, you should equip yourself with a guitar guide or manual. Playing with an upside down guitar doesn’t necessarily mean changing the mode of how fingering should be. The placement of your fingers would still be the same although the only difference would rely on the finger you use on the fret of the guitar. Normally, if you would play a right handed guitar right handed, the C would represent that your fourth finger must be positioned at the third fret dipping on the fifth string. Then your third finger must lie on the second fret pressing on the fourth string. Last, your index finger must be on the first fret down on the second string.

With an inverted guitar for lefties, it should be done in an inverted way too. Noting that your last string would be on top and the fret would remain the same. Things are difficult if you have no guitar to practice with. Make it a point that you follow what the diagram shows and not making the mistake of strumming the forbidden strings in each chord.

This type of technique is difficult, indeed. So start with those chords that only require three or three fingers at the moment. Basic chords like CAGED or some minor details. When you get the hang on it, try working on the harder ones. Do not saturate yourself with learning the hard ones first. That would be enough reason for you to give up. Frustrated.

But if you find it really hard to cope with this kind of style, settle with the conventional way of playing. That is, playing a right handed guitar right handed even though you’re left handed.

The 10 Best Rap Albums Of 2019

At the end of 2019, rap is the most popular form of music in America, and maybe in the entire world. We know this. The data bears it out. But one thing that the data doesn’t quite show is us that rap, like every other genre of music in our atomized age, is not a monolith. Instead, it’s a loosely connected network of interconnected scenes and audiences, many of which probably disagree about what rap music even is. It’s ancient Greece: A vast and chaotic clutter of city-states, many of which are often at war with one another.

There is a center to rap — a mainstream, an Athens. At this point, that center is occupied by towering polymath vibe-absorbers like Drake and Travis Scott, both of whom excel at ingesting energy from the rest of the rap landscape and then channeling it back through their own largesse. But neither Drake nor Travis Scott was in album mode in 2019. Both of them made hits, but both were in down-cycles.

Indeed, most of the big current rap names, your Kendrick Lamars and Cardi Bs, didn’t release albums in 2019. (Some of the big names who did, like Chance The Rapper, managed to fall on their faces.) Because the centrist figures weren’t taking up too much of the airspace, artists and sounds from the periphery had a chance to storm through and claim their spots. DaBaby and Megan Thee Stallion and “Old Town Road” took their moments to come out of nowhere and dominate.

Still, rap has never seemed as sprawled-out or disconnected as it does right now. Someone like the depressive Chicago pill-gobbler Lucki or the jagged and spluttering noisemaker JPEGMAFIA can be transcendent stars in some corners of the rap internet and total unknowns in others. That’s healthy, but it’s also maddening, since you can rest assured that there’s some amazing scene erupting somewhere that you won’t even hear about until it’s mostly done with.

Rap remains a youth-driven music, but we’ve also seen the emergence of a prestige-y middle class — rappers who get booked at rock festivals and play to their own audiences without bothering to engage with rap’s center or its constantly shifting edges. Some of those artists are on this list. Others, like Danny Brown or Denzel Curry, made very good albums that just didn’t excite me as much as some of the more chaotic stuff out there.

All year-end lists are entirely subjective, and this one in particular is dominated by my own personal preferences. It doesn’t line up with Stereogum’s overall year-end list, and it won’t line up with your list, either, if you have a list. It’s one perspective on another wild and impossible-to-pin-down year in rap history.


10  Sauce Walka – New Sauce City (The Sauce Familia)

Longtime Houston underground fixture Sauce Walka has a great wildman bark, a larger-than-life and impossible-to-contain boom of a voice. For years, he’s been ripping Southern mixtape tracks to pieces, talking unreformed knucklehead shit and making powerful enemies. New Sauce City is a kind of thought experiment: How would that voice sound over classic New York-style beats? As it turns out, that voice would sound great. Ghostly jazz loops and boom-bap drums have always been friendly to supercharged characters, and Sauce Walka is nothing if not that.
HEAR IT: Spotify | Apple Music


Maxo Kream – Brandon Banks (RCA)

Brandon Banks opens with an open letter to a friend in prison. It ends with Maxo Kream reassuring his audience that he’s still selling drugs even after signing a seven-figure label deal. In between, things don’t get much lighter or less complicated. Maxo, the longtime Houston underground fixture, named his major-label debut album after the crime-life street name that his Nigerian-immigrant father adapted. It’s full of breathless story telling and dark, heavy-hearted reflection about living an entire life of stress and criminality. The rapping itself is masterful — hard and breathless and specific. Even when Maxo cuts loose, he sounds constricted. There’s always something at stake.
HEAR IT: Spotify | Apple Music

Megan Thee Stallion - Fever

Megan Thee Stallion – Fever (1501 Certified Ent.)

The Megan Thee Stallion persona is pure persona — a cold-blooded predator who will drain your pockets through the sheer force of her sex appeal. By just about every account, the actual human being Megan Pete is a tough and businesslike go-getter, a college student whose late mother helped hone her rap skills to absolute precision. But on Fever, Megan sells the hell out of the character that she’s invented. She delivers her provocations and put-downs with a colossal sneer, like she’s disgusted with you for the crime of not being more like her. Fever, assembled with the help of Three 6 Mafia legend Juicy J, is a collection of fundamentalist Southern rap bangers. It’s all there to present Megan as one of rap’s most exciting new stars. And since that’s exactly what she is, it’s light work for her.
HEAR IT: Spotify | Apple Music


Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Bandana (Keep Cool/RCA)

Five years after they first teamed up, Freddie Gibbs and Madlib share the same unlikely chemistry. Gibbs is an earthy technical rapper with a limited, street-level focus, and Madlib is a maker of diffuse, vaporous, sample-dazed beats. They work so well together because they balance each other out. The constant twists and ruptures of Madlib’s tracks force Gibbs to keep shifting into different gears, while Gibbs’ drug-dealing tales give Madlib’s tracks a weight and immediacy that they often lack. This time around, the warmth and worn-in interplay of their combined sound is inviting enough to draw fellow vets like Pusha T and Yasiin Bey to the party, where they fight perfectly.
HEAR IT: Spotify | Apple Music | Bandcamp


Young Thug – So Much Fun (300 Entertainment/Atlantic)

A few years ago, Young Thug was a lightly deranged cult-favorite outsider, a squeaky expressionist who seemed to delight in the ways his voice could twist trap music up into new forms. In 2019, those new forms are dominant. Thug’s oblique melodic sensibility and endless-scroll prolificacy are the coin of the realm. So Much Fun is his pop-star victory lap, a collection of hypnotically warped gibber-fests that already feel like standards. Thug has figured out how to be both strange and catchy on the largest possible stages. He has bent the world to his will. It’s a hell of a thing to see.
HEAR IT: Spotify | Apple Music

Sada Baby - Bartier Bounty

Sada Baby – Bartier Bounty (Asylum)

When it comes to the unhinged Detroit rap monster Sada Baby, the entire idea of the album is almost irrelevant. Sada Baby is best experienced via the YouTube video. He cranks out songs at an absurd pace, one or two per week, sometimes not even releasing them properly. Instead, he just pops up in your feed in low-budget clips that allow you to marvel at his voluminous beard and his absurdist dance moves. But when heard at album-length, as on Bartier Bounty, his gruff shit-talk and left-field punchlines become undeniable. Bartier Bounty isn’t a cohesive artistic statement, but it doesn’t need to be. Instead, it’s an hour of dizzy bangers from one of the best people doing it.
HEAR IT: Spotify | Apple Music


DaBaby – Baby On Baby (South Coast Music Group/Interscope)

DaBaby became a star in 2019 even though he goes against practically every prevailing trend in rap. He’s wacky and glib rather than numbly emotional, choppy rather than melodic, technically virtuosic rather than mushmouthed. It didn’t matter. DaBaby’s larger-than-life personality, his revved-motor energy, and his gifts for cranked-up hooks and viral silliness overwhelmed every obstacle, making for one of the feel-good rap stories of 2019. Baby On Baby, DaBaby’s major-label debut, is almost Ramones-like in its single-minded efficiency — cramming 13 dizzily catchy tracks into half an hour, with no time for subtlety or introspection, and smashing through your skepticism like a runaway rhino.
HEAR IT: Spotify | Apple Music


Rico Nasty & Kenny Beats – Anger Management (Sugar Trap)

Rico Nasty contains multitudes; she can do candy-colored pop-trap and emotive rap balladry just fine. But on Anger Management, her collaboration with the great thud-blat producer Kenny Beats, we get the best version of Rico Nasty. Anger Management is adrenaline-charged mosh music that never lets up except to knowingly hijack an iconic Jay-Z hit. Rico brings the righteous chaos, barking and gnashing and devouring the rickety splatter-beats that Kenny feeds her. Along with that skittering, bloodthirsty energy, we also get some top-shelf shit-talk: “I got bitches on my dick, and I ain’t even got a dick.” 19 minutes of this is all you get, but 19 minutes is enough to scramble your brain.
HEAR IT: Spotify | Apple Music


billy woods & Kenny Segal – Hiding Places (Backwoodz Studioz)

Pablo Picasso’s 1937 painting Guernica is a vast, abstract hell — a dense and emapthic depiction of violence and pain. It’s an image of a place where reason no longer has any place, where suffering is the only reality. Hiding Places, then, is a rap Guernica, a jagged and breathtaking image of life during wartime. This time, it’s our own ongoing civil war: Capitalism against poor America, racism against black America. There’s no bombing, but billy woods splutters precisely and elegantly about drained bank accounts and insurers refusing to cover treatments, while Kenny Segal’s beats map out those anxieties with ambient foghorns and off-kilter drum eruptions. Crush, kill, destroy, stress.
HEAR IT: Spotify | Apple Music | Bandcamp


Polo G – Die A Legend (Columbia)

It’s beautiful. That’s the thing you need to understand. Twenty-year-old Chicago native Polo G is working in forms you’ll recognize: drill, Atlanta trap, blurry singsong ooze. But his take on these sounds resonates because of how finely crafted it is. The melodies float and drift with a hypnotic sort of grace. The lyrics economically sketch out the traumatic effects of seeing your friends die young and of knowing that it could easily happen to you, too. The beats build on sad, glinting sounds — pianos, acoustic guitars, stomach-rumble 808 thuds. It all amounts to mesmeric, soul-crushed circa-now blues music, the sound of a young man contemplating ugly and bleak realities without letting those realities drown him. Plenty of 2019 rap albums were more writerly, more aesthetically adventurous, or more fundamentally sound than Die A Legend. But none moved me more.

HEAR IT: Spotify | Apple Music

Listen to a playlist of key tracks from each album on Spotify.

14 Inductees Announced for 2020 Blues Hall of Fame

The 14 honorees of The Blues Foundation’s Blues Hall of Fame’s 41st class encompass nearly a century of music, spanning from 1920s stars Victoria Spivey and Bertha “Chippie” Hill to contemporary luminaries Bettye LaVette, Syl Johnson, and Billy Branch.This year’s inductees in the Blues Hall of Fame’s five categories — Performers, Non-Performing Individuals, Classics of Blues Literature, Classics of Blues Recording (Song), and Classics of Blues Recording (Album) — also vividly demonstrate how the blues intersects with a broad variety of American music styles: soul, funk, country, R&B, and rock ’n’ roll. 

The new Blues Hall of Fame performers aren’t just exceptional musicians, but they also are educators, innovators, entrepreneurs, and activists determined to leave their mark on the world.

Piano-man Eddie Boyd scored several hits in the early ’50s (most notably “Five Long Years”) for Chess Records, but the outspoken Mississippi-born Chicago bluesman, dismayed over racial injustice and record business chicanery, left America in the mid-’60s for Europe, where his career prospered for several decades. Harmonica ace Billy Branch, part of the “New Generation of Chicago Blues,” is a multiple Blues Music Award winner who also has taught hundreds of blues classes around the globe and is a two-time recipient of the Keeping the Blues Alive Award in Education. Powerhouse singer Bettye LaVette finally achieved her much-deserved acclaim in the new millennium after several decades of struggles within the industry, garnering many honors — including several Blues Music Awards — and performing at President Obama’s 2009 inauguration celebration. 

Victoria Spivey may be best known to general music fans for including a young Bob Dylan on a 1962 recording session; however, her unparalleled 50-year career began with her breakout tune, “Black Snake Blues,” and included her roles as songwriter, manager, bandleader and label owner. Guitarist Syl Johnson (brother of Blues Hall of Famer Jimmy Johnson) starred in Chicago’s soul scene during the ’60s and ’70s. His funky, often politically charged blues-fueled tunes (like “Different Strokes” and “Is It Because I’m Black”) have made him a favorite for sampling among hip-hop artists. The enigmatic George “Harmonica” Smith, who played with legends like Muddy Waters, Big Mama Thornton and Big Joe Turner, has been widely hailed by blues aficionados and musicians as one of the premier blues harmonicists, and influenced a generation of west coast harp players. 

The revolutionary producer Ralph Peer, 2020’s honoree in the Individual (Business, Media & Academic) category, is most associated for his formative recordings in the country music field, but he first did pioneering work in the blues world (including co-producing the Mamie Smith historic 1920 “Crazy Blues” session). Entering the Blues Hall of Fame as a Classic of Blues Literature is Earl Hooker, Blues Master, the insightful biography of the blues guitar giant (and 2013 Hall of Fame inductee) written by French writer/producer/translator, and American roots music authority, Sebastian Danchin.

Howlin’ Wolf: The Chess Box is 2020’s Classic of Blues Recording: Album, the latest BHOF honor for the seminal bluesman. There are five Classic of Blues Recording: Singles receiving Hall of Fame induction: Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup’s original recording of “That’s All Right (Mama),” later made famous by Elvis Presley; Bertha “Chippie” Hill’s 1926 hit version of the oft-recorded “Trouble in Mind”; “Future Blues,”an exemplary example of Pattonesque blues by early-Delta bluesman Willie Brown, and two tunes from the early ’50s — “3 O’Clock Blues,” B.B. King’s first breakout song and No. 1 R&B hit in 1952, and Ruth Brown’s remarkable rendition of “Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean,” 1953’s best-selling R&B record. 

The Blues Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, held in conjunction with Blues Music Awards Week, will occur on Wednesday, May 6, 2020 at the Halloran Centre at the Orpheum (225 S. Main St., Memphis). A cocktail reception honoring the BHOF inductees and Blue Music Awards nominees will begin at 5:30 p.m., with the formal inductions commencing at 6:30 p.m. in the Halloran Theater. Tickets, which include the ceremony and reception admission, are $75 each and will be available starting on Tuesday, January 7, as will Blues Music Awards tickets.

Coinciding with the Induction Ceremony, the Blues Hall of Fame Museum will showcase a number of special items representing each of the Hall’s new inductees. These artifacts will be on display for public viewing beginning the week of the BHOF inductions and will remain enshrined in the museum throughout the next 12 months. The Blues Hall of Fame Museum, built through the ardent support and generosity of blues fans, embodies all four elements of the Blues Foundation’s mission: preserving blues heritage, celebrating blues recording and performance, expanding awareness of the blues genre, and ensuring the future of the music. 

Museum visitors are able to explore permanent and traveling exhibits as well as individualized galleries that showcase an unmatched selection of album covers, photographs, historic awards, unique art, musical instruments, costumes, and other one-of-a-kind memorabilia. Interactive displays allow guests to hear the music, watch videos, and read the stories about each of the Blues Hall of Fame’s over 400 inductees.

The museum (421 S. Main St.) is open 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and 1–5 p.m. on Sundays. Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for students with ID; free for children 12 and younger and for Blues Foundation members. Membership is available for as a little as $25 per person; to join visit

ABOUT THE INDUCTEES (read full bios here:

Tanya Tucker Plots CMT’s Next Women of Country Tour

Tanya Tucker has spent much of the last half of 2019 populating year-end best-of lists with her While I’m Livin’ album, and next year she’s set to take the LP on the road as the headlining artist for the CMT Next Women of Country: Bring My Flowers Now Tour. Just announced dates will run from February through June.

Hitting Boston, New York, Dallas, Houston, San Francisco, and more than 30 additional cities, the four-time 2020 Grammy nominee will be joined on the upcoming trek by an array of female acts that have previously been included as CMT’s Next Women of Country designees: Brandy Clark (2013), Aubrie Sellers (2017), Erin Enderlin (2017) and 2020 artists Hailey Whitters, Madison Kozak, and Walker County.

Also along on various stops will be Shooter Jennings, who, with Brandi Carlile, co-produced Tucker’s current album, the most-nominated country project at the upcoming Grammy Awards. Additional tour dates and opening acts are expected to be revealed in the coming weeks.

Tickets for most of the dates go on sale Friday, December 13th, via and, beginning at 10:00 a.m. local time.

CMT Next Women of Country: Bring My Flowers Now Tour dates:
February 5 – Vienna, VA @ The Barns at Wolf Trap
February 6 – Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe Live
February 7 – New York, NY @ Town Hall
February 20 – Memphis, TN @ Graceland Soundstage at Elvis Presley’s Memphis
February 21 – Springfield, MO @ Gillioz Theatre
February 22 – Wichita, KS @ TempleLive
February 24 – Columbia, MO @ The Blue Note
February 25 – Lincoln, NE @ Bourbon Theatre
February 27 – Sioux Falls, SD @ The District
February 28 – Fargo, ND @ Fargo Theatre
February 29 – Hinckley, MN @ Grand Casino Hinckley Event Center
March 3 – Guelph, Ont. @ River Run Centre
March 5 – Catharines, Ont. @ FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre
March 6 – Woodstock, NY @ Levon Helm Studios
March 7 – Morgantown, WV @ Metropolitan Theatre
March 26 – Dallas, TX @ The Kessler Theater
March 29 – Houston, TX  @ The Heights Theater
April 22 – San Luis Obispo, CA @ The Fremont Theater
April 29 – Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater
May 9 – Cherokee, NC @ Harrah’s Cherokee Event Center
May 13 – Roanoke, VA @ Jefferson Center
May 15 – Royal Oak, MI @ Royal Oak Music Theatre
May 16 – Pittsburgh, PA @Roxian Theatre
May 17 –Boston, MA @ The Wilbur Theatre
May 20 – Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues
May 21 – Toronto, ON @ Danforth Music Hall
May 22 – Albany, NY @ The Egg, Center for the Performing Arts
May 30 – Beaver Dam, KY @ Beaver Dam Amphitheater
June 4 – San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore
June 5 – Sacramento, CA @ Crest Theatre
June 6 – Minden, NV @ Carson Valley Inn Casino TJ’s Corral Outdoor Amphitheater
June 8 – Red Bluff, CA @ State Theatre for The Arts
June 10 – Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom
June 12 – Vancouver, BC @ Vogue Theatre
June 13 – Spokane, WA @ The Bing Crosby Theater
June 14 – Seattle, WA @ The Showbox

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Holy Moly! It’s Ruth Patterson’s Solo Debut!

2019 WC Handy 728×90

Debut singles don’t get any better than “I’d Give It All (Redux).” It only takes a few seconds to recognize a star in the making with a voice reminiscent of the great 20th century American chanteuses.  

Released independently by Blank Studios, the word redux at the end of the song title indicates this is a revival of a ballad from the UK gypsy-folk and rock band Holy Moly & The Crackers’ best selling Take A Bite album. However, it is much more than that, because “I’d Give It All (Redux)” marks the debut solo single release of Ruth Patterson, the highly acclaimed sextet’s charismatic front woman, lead vocalist and violinist.

Anyone witnessing the band’s raucous live performances will confirm the power and sincerity of Ruth’s solo vocal interlude with piano accompaniment as she bares her soul with amazing courage, conviction, and just a hint of vulnerability. This vibe shines throughout the song which, while only lasting four minutes, encapsulates emotions so deep they become embedded in the listener’s heart. Only Beth Hart comes anywhere near the Newcastle upon Tyne based songstress in terms of lyrical acumen, vocal intensity, and keyboard skills.

In the same way that “Little Girl Blue” launched the career of American legend Nina Simone over 60 years ago, Ruth’s inspirational composition has the power to do the same for her. Other similarities include both women being gifted songwriters, arrangers and instrumentalists who initially aspired to be classical musicians and whose music spans a broad range of styles including folk, jazz, blues and pop. 

This beautifully crafted love song opens with attitude rather than sentimentality, the emphatic piano chords a precursor to what Ruth doesn’t want. Not for her “the dozen red rose roses laid at my front door” or the fine wine and dining which “sticks in my throat.” And when it comes to diamonds, “well it might as well be coal.” The strong poetic lyricism of this song is emphasized in the next observation:  “And though I know it’s all to please me but the perfume stings. My eyes are not adjusting to the bright lights.” 

The jazz-inflected vocals and carefully orchestrated atmospheric background string quartet set the scene perfectly for the killer line, “You’ve missed the point, babe: love is always silent.” It is at this point that the chorus takes the words and meaning into another stratosphere as Patterson knows what she needs and is going to take her time to find it. The virtuosic instrumentalists create a haunting ethereal sound courtesy of cellist Ceitidh Mac, guitarist Sam Grant, Grace Smith on viola and the two violinists Merle Habron and Jo Montgomery. These sumptuous strings and Ruth’s mellifluous backing vocals and piano merge in a series of soaring, subtly layered crescendos as the quest to discover the right kind of love, keeping it and never letting go reaches its climax. And when I find what I’m looking for I’m gonna run, run, run, run, run away with you.”  Rarely has a single piece of music left the listener feel so energized, empowered and exhilarated.

“I’d Give It All (Redux)” is available on most music streaming platforms and is best listened to in conjunction with the surreal, evocative music video by renowned film director, artist and activist Antonia Luxem and cinematographer Tegid Cartwright. The film complements perfectly the flow and emotion of the music. The underwater scenes are literally breathtaking with the ‘mermaid’ who is unable to walk on land moving confidently, effortlessly and gracefully in a mesmerising aquatic scene.                          

Ruth Patterson Interview about the song, love and the music video

I wanted to re-work ‘I’d Give It All’ because it has always felt the most authentic track on the album to my personal voice and story, and allowed me to explore and develop my own artistic vision. From orchestrating the string quartet to working with Sam Grant at Newcastle’s Blank Studios and with mixer Gareth Jones in London, we sought to create a warm intimacy and emotive fragility in the soundscape. I think we achieved it.
I am a huge fan of Beth Ditto of Gossip, and her song ‘Coal To Diamonds’ was a big inspiration. I wanted to capture that same emotional intensity. 

 ‘I’d Give It All’ is about wasting time with friends or lovers who think that affection is all about ownership, flashy gestures, selfies and about what is seen from the outside looking in.  I had an older boyfriend when I was a teenager and he dressed me up with flashy jewellery, like some kind of prize horse rather than someone with whom he had any emotional or spiritual connection. I remember coming home one day with roses stuffed with diamantes all over my front door with him nowhere to be seen and I knew it was all wrong. He hadn’t come to spend any real time with me, just to remind me who I belonged to. 

For me, love is silent. It’s a knowing look, a smile, a joke which nobody else gets, taking your time, painful sadness and the kind of happiness that makes you feel drunk. Most importantly it’s about refusing to settle. Love looks different to every single person but when you find it, in whatever form, you give everything you have to keep it.

Working on the video with director Antonia Luxem was a dream come true. Inspired by my love and study of Japanese avant-garde fashion and underlying philosophy of “beauty in imperfection”, we worked together to explore new ways of having me move on screen to express emotion but without being able to walk or dance in a conventional sense.  As a disabled artist it was totally empowering.”

Ruth Patterson is Artist In Residence at the iconic cultural venue, Sage Gateshead, where she will write and develop her debut CD. Ruth is also a regular activist and speaker for the charity Attitude Is Everything which helps fans and artists with disability in the music industry.            

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Guitar Hero World Tour Video Game: A Great Game That You and Your Friends Will Surely Love

Have you ever wanted to become a rock legend?
Did you and your friends ever dream of performing a rock concert in fronts of thousands of people? If you have, then you should play Guitar Hero World Tour. This is the latest series of Guitar Hero and it really took the world by storm.

Instead of just guitars, Guitar Hero World Tour enables you to form a band complete with drummers, bassist, guitarist and even a singer. In this game, you and your band will work your way up to become legends of rock.

In fact, Guitar Hero World Tour is simple one of the most addictive and hottest selling video games of the year. And, it’s not just a fad but it really has become almost a way of life. In fact, some people are so serious about this game that they formed a band and are currently competing to be the best there is online with other Guitar Hero World Tour bands.

It doesn’t even matter if you don’t know how to play the guitar or drums, the game will have guides that will be able to show you what buttons to push and when to push it.

Guitar Hero World Tour is so hot today that parties are even thrown with this video game. You and your friends can really become the life of the party and compete against each other. The best thing about this game is that it is available in the three hottest video game consoles available in the market today. Whether you have Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, or PlayStation 3, you will be able to play Guitar Hero World Tour.

Another great thing about Guitar Hero World Tour is that not only that you will be able to play some of the hottest rock music on earth today, but you will also be able to go head to head with other players in the Battle mode. In this feature, you and your friend will rock off and do really sick solos that will rival those of the greatest guitar legends on earth.

In this game, you will be able to personalize your own rock star. This serves as your very own personal avatar and you can make them look anything you want. You can also add accessories, such as tattoos, piercings and dress them up on tight leather pants and really make them look like a real rock legend.

You will also be able to unlock rock legends, such as Jimi Hendrix, Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Corgan, Ted Nugent, Sting, and even Travis Barker in the game and jam with them or face off in the Battle Mode. You can also download additional tracks from Metallica, Blind Melon, Rick Springfield, and a lot more.

Guitar Hero World Tour is a fun game to play. With this video game, you can be sure that you will spend hours upon hours of rocking off with your friends online or in your own home. And, it would be a lot more fun if you have all the gadgets, such as the guitar, drum set, and microphone.

So, if you are looking for a great music game that you can play solo or jam with your friends, you should definitely get Guitar Hero World Tour. This game is fun, exciting, and it will really unleash the guitar hero in you.

Rhiannon Giddens’ ‘In The Water’ Session A Powerful Remembrance

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Rhiannon Giddens, the Macarthur Genius Award recipient and Grammy Award-winning co-founder of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, is the latest North Carolina musician to take part in Come Hear NC’s live session series In The Water.

Rhiannon Giddens Photo Credit: Sandra Davidson

Giddens also received the inaugural Legacy of Americana Award at the Americana Honors and Awards in Nashville this year, was featured prominently in Ken Burns’ Country Music documentary series and is a current Grammy nominee in the Best American Roots Performance category for her collaboration with the Italian multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi, as well as in the Best American Roots Song category for her work in the group Our Native Daughters. Giddens’ In The Water session follows performances from The Mountain Goats, Mary Lattimore and Vanessa Ferguson at unique and meaningful locations throughout the state.

For Rhiannon’s In The Water session, the Greensboro native took the Come Hear North Carolina team across the state to Wilmington – to share the too-often-forgotten history of the Wilmington insurrection of 1898. The tragic events of that year saw a white supremacist mob take over the city of Wilmington, burn and destroy African American-owned businesses and take an untold number of African American lives. Before the insurrection, Wilmington was considered to be one of the South’s great examples of a city coming together in Reconstruction. This episode of In The Water was filmed at the headquarters of the Cucalorus Film Festival in Wilmington.

Giddens on the importance of remembering the events of 1898: “It is so hard because things were working…They weren’t perfect but things were working….and for that to not be knocked down but completely destroyed, stamped out and then forgotten about, that’s just tragic. The people who died it was tragic – the fact that we don’t even know all who died is tragic…All of these things are tragic.”

Previous In The Water sessions included Mary Lattimore performing from the Chapel of Rest in Historic Happy Valley, near Lenoir, N.C. (located between her hometowns of Asheville and Shelby), while discussing the impact of North Carolina on her music. Greensboro native Vanessa Ferguson then performed at the childhood home of Nina Simone in Tryon, N.C. as part of an effort to save and preserve the historic birthplace of the high priestess of soul. The Mountain Goats debuted their brand new song “Let Me Bathe In Demonic Light” in John Coltrane’s birthplace of Hamlet, N.C. and discussed the jazz great’s immense influence on the band.

Each episode of In The Water features a three-to-four-song performance, as well as environmental footage and narration from the artist, to paint a picture of the spaces – both literal and metaphorical – that shape the sounds and souls of each musician.

In The Water is the latest addition to this year’s Come Hear North Carolina festivities, a celebration of the state’s rich musical history from the North Carolina Arts Council and North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Recent events included “Nina Simone Weekend” at North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh and “Music at the Mansion,” an unprecedented concert series filmed at the North Carolina Executive Mansion.

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Come Hear North Carolina

Rhiannon Giddens

*Feature image Sandra Davidson

The Electric Guitar it

The Electric Guitar

Acoustic guitars and their various musical relatives can be traced back thousands of years, but the idea of a guitar using electric currents to amplify its sound had to wait until the 1930s to start to take root. Necessity was, perhaps, the mother of invention here, as the volume of the guitar, used previously in blues and jazz, could not compete with the new sounds of the big band and the shriek of brass instruments. Early experiments with simply adding microphones to guitars had only limited success, partly due to the quality of the tone and partly because of the feedback that could occur as soon as a reasonable volume was reached. The breakthrough came when Les Paul, a jazz guitarist, successfully experimented with a magnetic pickup system that could convert the vibrations of the strings to an electrical signal to be amplified and sent to a speaker. Soon, guitarists started adding pickups to their hollow-bodied guitars, but in fact there was no need for an electric guitar to have a hollow body, as the pickups could detect very subtle vibrations and amplify them anyway. Before long, Fender, Rickenbacker and, of course, Gibson were producing solid-bodied electric guitars.

Innovations unique to the electric guitar

Electric guitars allowed many innovations that would go on to define their sound. Most noticeably was the fact that volume and tone controls could be added to the electronics between the pickup and the cable, which meant that the accomplished guitarist could adjust the tone and loudness whilst on stage. Second and third pickups were added at various points along the body to take advantage of the difference in tone at various points along the strings, and these could be blended together with multiple controls. The tremolo arm appeared, allowing notes to be bent down or up (before, they could only be bent upwards by pulling the string away from its natural line, thus tightening it). The tremolo arm was part of the early sound of rock ’n’ roll, and could make a vibrato sound or create the long, sustained, wailing sounds associated with Jimi Hendrix. Other sound effects, such as chorus, overdrive, vibrate, wah-wah, reverb and delay (echo) could also be controlled via foot pedals by the player, further adding to the variety of sounds available. The pickup was also applied to bass guitars, and is now seen on violins, mandolins, cellos and many other types of string instrument.

Musical styles using electric guitars

The genres of music that use electric guitars are too numerous for this article, but their origins can be traced back to the jazz and big band sound that became popular between the wars. Blues guitarists pioneered the “dirty” sound that would later morph into heavy metal, and no rock and roll group would be complete without at least one electric guitar. Bob Dylan was once called “Judas” by a heckler when he swapped his acoustic for an electric on stage, a significant moment in electric folk. The sixties saw mainstream pop and psychedelic bands putting the instrument to good use, and disco, punk, ska and reggae music of the seventies used the instrument’s inherent rhythm; a lively and thriving African sound is once of the guitar’s most innovative current streams. Whenever a new technology has come along, especially the electronic revolution of the late 1970s and 1980s, people have written off the electric guitar, but it shows no sign of losing popularity.

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