Monthly Archives: November 2019

Matthew Francis Andersen, Former Lyric Contest Winner, Set to Release Third Album

When Matthew Francis Andersen won the 2012 American Songwriter Lyric Contest the prize of co-writing with Hayes Carll may have seemed – at least at the time – a dream come true. Now, closing in on a decade later, he is releasing his album Pine River – that features tracks with Gurf Morlix – and has been opening for folks like Jim Lauderdale, Kevin Gordon, and Lily Hiatt.

The title track of the album follows much of the same pattern of Andersen tunes, in that it doesn’t have to mean something for him to write it.

“I didn’t write this song for any particular reason,” he said. “Things just come. I jot them down. Eventually I take all these scraps and it’s like playing with Legos; I see what fits together. Sooner or later the song reveals itself.

“I seldom write from some impetus, such as politics, or gun control, or ‘I still love my ex.’ Indeed, songs may end up being about those things, but there is seldom a Why. For this song Pine River, it started out with the first line. Then, for some reason Patterson Hood’s voice came to mind. In fact, today I can still hear him singing this song!

“So what began as a fun way to imitate Patterson, turned into a song with simple snapshots or images. I don’t know what the song means. But it seems perhaps a bittersweet homecoming song from someone left behind to the one returning home.”

‘Pine River’ will the third release for Andersen since winning the lyric contest. He has also put out ‘Blue Line’ and ‘Slow, The Summer Burned.

This album is a 10-track offering is one that Andersen said is more of effort to take the listener to a place that they recognize versus simply share an experience of the writer.

“It’s not very linear. There’s no right or wrong. There is a subtle indication that a relationship between two people once occurred. But maybe not,” he said. “Hopefully folks will take the images and then be led to their own feelings. What I know for sure is that the best songs don’t express the writer’s feelings to the listener. Rather, the listener’s feelings emerge because of the song. It’s the old “show, don’t tell” writing rule.”

What Andersen does do, is fill his songs with a “where-I’m-from” appeal that helps him bring both a Northern gruffness to his otherwise softer side.

He was born and raised in Chicago and worked as a walleye and musky fishing guide as far as northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

It is often those moments of isolation where Andersen’s writing takes you: from the local taverns and street lights, to the boat landings and rivers deep within the northwoods.

It is also a mental place that Andersen says helps him put his best ideas to paper.

“I write my best when I have filled up the tank with words and lyrics from writers such as Cormac McCarthy, Jim Harrison, Greg Brown, James Wright, and Chris Smither,” he said. “The whole input vs. output axiom is very true for me. I need to be moved by other works in order to write at my best.”

Why Play Guitar?

Why Play Guitar?

As a full-time guitar instructor, I am constantly faced with people in all walks of life who, for all different kinds of reasons, believe that playing the guitar will add something to their lives. Most people that are just starting the guitar for the first time are young (pre-university) although certainly not all. One of my favorite students last year was a 65-year-old retiree who wanted to learn enough to be able to start a bar band with his friends.
There is no “one” reason to play the guitar. This instrument can bring joy to everyone regardless of their primary motivations for taking it up. There’s no such thing as being too old or too musically inexperienced for the guitar either. Neither the Beatles or Jimi Hendrix could read music, and I think most would agree that they did all right without it.
Many guitarists will ask me, after their first lesson, how long it will take them to become good at the guitar. I’ve never been able to answer this question. No one can. Your success or failure in playing the guitar depends completely on the effort that you put into it. One of my favorite stories is about Eddie Van Halen: he would come home after school and pick up his guitar. He would sit at the edge of his bed and play until he had to go to sleep. Not once, not every once and a while: every day. Of course, most of us don’t have the luxury of this much time to practice, but this story helps to illustrate that success isn’t completely dependant on some inborn talent, but on hard work. There’s no easy way into it. Please, whatever you do, don’t take up the guitar if you are only going to practice the last hour before your lesson. You’ll just annoy me and you’ll never get any better.
Remember, if you go to an instructor or you take lessons online or from a book, what you learn is, for the most part, up to you. You’re the one hiring the teacher and, although you’re putting yourself under their direction, it’s your responsibility to inform them as to where you want to go. Find a teacher who will help you succeed in the style of music that you want to go into.
So, why play the guitar? There isn’t a day that I don’t wake up and am glad that music is such a big part of my life. Music has brought me more happiness than almost anything else. When you accomplish something, the sense of success becomes real, whether you’ve recorded your first song, or finally learned to play all the chords to “Smoke on the Water”. Playing music, like any other art form or skill, greatly enriches those who study it.

Nicholas David – Yesterday’s Gone

2019 Beth Hart wide

It’s very easy to write off reality show music competition contestants/survivors because their paths don’t mirror those of past artists. The reality genre, for Americans, pretty much began with Kelly Clarkson almost 20 years ago, and the music competition output since then has been inconsistent talent-wise. But given the overall state of the music industry, where artists fight to be paid fractions of pennies to be streamed, going on a TV show to gain exposure, record sales, and sell show tickets seems a lot less crass, and perhaps even wise. But maybe I’m just making excuses for Nicholas David‘s Yesterday’s Gone, with David a finalist from the third season of The Voice TV show.

His appearance on that program doesn’t take away from his musical talent or the quality of the album. I enjoyed his piano-driven blues, soul, and pop well before reading about his not-so-secret reality show past. And given that Yesterday’s Gone is produced by Samantha Fish, and that he’s also signed to the blues singer/guitarist’s imprint, Wild Heart Records, he’s obviously more than just a musical competition oddity.

The Voice, as I understand it, is a show built upon a high-concept furniture set-up. Coaches
take on protégés without seeing the performer. The coach uses a call button to signal interest in a contestant, sort of like Tinder, but without the swiping, and the potential mentor’s chair whips around, allowing the coach to lay eyes on their potential trainee. At some point in the process a pairing is made (also like Tinder). One can see how David’s voice would get coaches’ easy chairs spinning like a demonic possession in a La-Z-Boy showroom. His vocals are sweet, soulful, sexy, but also very accessible and his talent is impressive without being threatening.

The strongest tracks are the rhythm and blues tunes, which provide the perfect showcase for
David’s voice. “Heavy Heart” feels like it’s from the 1960s and while a lot of the credit goes to David’s fantastic vocal performance, that’s somehow restrained and intense, his beautiful organ work also deserves a shout-out, helping to root the song in the past. Jonathan Long, himself a singer/songwriter/guitar-playing powerhouse, and also from Fish’s talent stable, lays down a perfect, spartan guitar line that hops along like a healthy EKG reading.

“I’m Interested” is a slow jam that brings David into the 70s. His singing is pure sexual energy
and as it inter-plays with his backing vocalists, you can’t help but feel like you’re overhearing the world’s greatest pick-up artist ply his trade. Long lays down some funky rhythm guitar, but also some trippy lead work. And David’s organ playing shines here, too, giving the track what can only be categorized as an old-school cool. It’s a seriously energized track, but also fun.

Many of the other songs are more straight-forward piano-led pop. “Okay” has a low-key Jack Johnson energy. “Curious” has a Bruce Hornsby vibe. “Stars” is anthemic, probably the closest David comes to a straight-ahead rock track.

David has an unbelievable voice and is a strong songwriter. But Fish did an incredible job
producing this, pulling in loads of talented supporting artists that never overwhelm David, whom, it should be noted, seems like he would be tough to upstage. Guitarist Duane Betts also adds some engaging lead guitar to a few tracks, gilding the musical lily even more. The album’s funk and soul tracks are especially noteworthy, so while David seems of the blues/Southern rock world (although he’s a Minnesotan), it would be great to see him delve deeper into those classic rhythm and blues sounds on future releases.

Artist: Nicholas David

Title: Yesterday’s Gone

Label: Wild Heart Records

Release Date: November 29, 2019

Running Time: 52:54

Nicholas David

The Road Trip Less Traveled

The Road Trip Less Traveled

When President Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act 50 years ago, he may have started the glorious tradition of the great American road trip. Seasoned travel writer Eric Peterson takes full advantage of the public works project, and in his book “Ramble: A Field Guide to the U.S.A.” reveals some brilliant, off-the-beaten-path landmarks you won’t find in a typical guidebook. And with Microsoft Streets & Trips 2006 with GPS Locator, you can plan stylized getaways to unique destinations such as those Peterson has discovered.

Ale, With A Sideshow

Of Bad Art

Whether you’re a high roller or a rock ‘n’ roller, the Northeast offers something for everybody. Where else can you grab a bite at the Big Apple’s oldest bar, McSorley’s Old Ale House in Manhattan, take in a sideshow on Coney Island and still make it up to Dedham, Mass., for a stop at the Museum of Bad Art-all in a day?

A Mason-Dixon Good Time

After eating a drumstick in Gainesville, Ga., where it is illegal to eat fried chicken with utensils, head to the birthplace of miniature golf in Fayetteville, N.C. Save a day to tour the Jim Beam bourbon distillery in Clermont, Ky., but make sure to see Elvis at Graceland in Memphis, Tenn., before overnighting at the Shack Up Inn in Clarksdale, Miss.

Chili, Hoosiers and Jazz

When in Cincinnati, eat as the locals do and get some chili-smothered spaghetti for the road-then fight off heartburn in David Letterman’s Alley in Muncie, Ind. After a nap and an antacid, visit the Green Mill in Chicago, one of Al Capone’s favorite clubs, and take in some of the best jazz in the country.

Rope and Road Trip

For road trips, Texas offers a bit of everything. In Amarillo you’ll find the Cadillac Ranch, where spray-painted Cadillacs become art. In Dallas you might uncover the conspiracy on the grassy knoll, and in Austin you can enjoy the nightlife on famous Sixth Street. Whatever you do, remember the Alamo.

Bigfoot, Bubble Gum And Trolls

Over the Rockies lies a land of wonder with some oddities thrown in for good measure. In San Luis Obispo, Calif., you can add your chewy mark to the offbeat work of art known as Bubble Gum Alley, then travel up Highway 101 to Northern California’s redwood forests, allegedly the domain of Bigfoot. If you fall in love on your trip, get married at Voodoo Doughnut in Portland, Ore., or just get a mammoth apple fritter to go. Visit the graves of Jimi Hendrix and Bruce Lee in Seattle, but beware of the Fremont Troll lurking under the Aurora Bridge.

Once you decide between finding Bigfoot or visiting the Museum of Bad Art, the next step is getting there.

An In-Depth Look At The City Of Seattle

An In-Depth Look At The City Of Seattle

Although Seattle is known as the Emerald City, it is definitely not the land of the Oz.
The city of Seattle is also called “the rainy city”. There’s much talk about its rain, but admittedly, those who were quite reluctant to go to the city of Seattle ended up living there.

The city of Seattle is Washington state’s largest. Even with its reputation for having rains in most months of the year, its population continues to rise and has made it one of the most beautiful cities in the country. The city of Seattle has served as the setting for numerous films dating as far back as the year 1930.

The rain should not be a reason not to visit Seattle. Even if it’s a large city with bustling activities, it is not as busy as the Big Apple. But if you’re not so keen on going around in the rain, the city of Seattle can be best visited in the summer. If it’s you’re first trip here, make sure you check out the Space Needle to have a thrilling 360 degree view of Seattle.

Believe it or not, the city of Seattle is home to some famous graves. The Lake View Cemetery on Capitol Hill has renowned people like Bruce Lee, Brandon Lee, and Jimi Hendrix. Those who don’t mind the rain may go there during the winter too, when the city of Seattle is at its wettest. Even if it does sound a bit gloomy, skiing and snowboarding will be more than a consolation.

The city of Seattle is the venue of some firsts. It is where the world-famous Starbucks first opened in 1971. In 1961, the city of Seattle marked the birth of the revolving restaurant. Today, the city of Seattle is considered the first among ten cities, as the healthiest for women.

There are certainly a lot of things that anyone can do despite the rains. The city of Seattle will amaze you with a Boeing Plant Tour inside the world’s biggest building. The Explore Shuttle tour is highly advisable to tourists especially to those who are visiting for the first time. This three-hour tour will take them to explore most of the city’s interesting sights.

Even if the rain in the city of Seattle is what most people associate the city with, it can not in any way, dampen a person’s spirits when touring the place. There may be constant gripes about the weather, but more and more people have become too immersed in the city of Seattle to consider living there. And while you’re getting acquainted with the place, try doing what the locals do – be oblivious of the rain.

Freeform Releases Official 25 Days of Christmas Schedule

The turkey has been consumed and it can officially be called Christmas season.

Nothing is more Christmas than the Freeform 25 Days of Christmas programming schedule. The complete guide is below, (thanks, Freeform) and we are making our list and checking it twice to make sure that we don’t miss any of our favorites.

Sunday, December 1

  • 7am/6c Richie Rich’s Christmas Wish 
  • 9:05am/8:05c Deck the Halls (2006)
  • 11:10am/10:10c Arthur Christmas 
  • 1:15pm/12:15c The Simpsons Holiday-thon 
  • 2:45pm/1:45c The Santa Clause 
  • 4:50pm/3:50c The Santa Clause 2 
  • 6:55pm/5:55c The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause 
  • 9pm/8c Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
  • 11:30pm/10:30c Home Alone: The Holiday Heist 
  • 1:30am/12:30c The Little Drummer Boy (1968) 

Monday, December 2

  • 7am/6c The Little Drummer Boy (1968)
  • 7:30am/6:30c The Muppet Christmas Carol
  • 11am/10c Wrap Battle
  • 12pm/11c Home Alone: The Holiday Heist
  • 2:05pm/1:05c Richie Rich’s Christmas Wish
  • 4:15pm/3:15c Deck the Halls (2006)
  • 6:20pm/5:20c Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
  • New Episodes 9pm/8c  Wrap Battle

Tuesday, December 3

  • 7:30am/6:30c Santa Baby
  • 11am/10c  The Preacher’s Wife
  • 1:40pm/12:40c Decorating Disney: Holiday Magic
  • 2:40pm/1:40c Rise of the Guardians
  • 4:45pm/3:45c Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town
  • 5:50pm/4:50c Home Alone
  • 8:20pm/7:20c Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
  • 12am/11c The Simpsons Holiday-thon

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Wednesday, December 4

  • 7:30am/6:30c Santa Baby 2: Christmas Maybe
  • 11am/10c Rise of the Guardians
  • 1pm/12c Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town
  • 2pm/1c The Simpsons Holiday-thon
  • 4pm/3c Home Alone
  • 6:30pm/5:30c Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
  • Freeform Premiere 9pm/8c Ghosting: The Spirit of Christmas
  • 12am/11c Deck the Halls (2006)

Thursday, December 5

  • 7:30am/6:30c Holiday in Handcuffs
  • 11am/10c Wrap Battle
  • 12pm/11c Kung Fu Panda Holiday
  • 12:30pm/11:30c Unaccompanied Minors
  • 2:30pm/1:30c Deck the Halls (2006)
  • 4:35pm/3:35c Arthur Christmas
  • 6:40pm/5:40c Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • 8:20pm/7:20c Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
  • 12am/11c Unaccompanied Minors

Friday, December 6

  • 7:30am/6:30c Richie Rich’s Christmas Wish
  • 11am/10c Kung Fu Panda Holiday
  • 11:30am/10:30c Home Alone 3
  • 1:35pm/12:35c Arthur Christmas
  • 3:40pm/2:40c Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • 5:20pm/4:20c Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
  • Freeform Premiere 8pm/7c Frosty the Snowman
  • Freeform Premiere 8:30pm/7:30c Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  • 9:30pm/8:30c The Santa Clause
  • 11:30pm/10:30c The Santa Clause 2
  • 1:30am/12:30c The Little Drummer Boy (1968)

Saturday, December 7

  • 7am/6c Cricket on the Hearth
  • 8am/7c Home Alone 3
  • 10am/9c Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House
  • 12pm/11c The Santa Clause 
  • 2:05pm/1:05c The Santa Clause 2
  • 4:10pm/3:10c The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
  • 6:15pm/5:15c Frosty the Snowman
  • 6:45pm/5:45c Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  • 7:50pm/6:50c Home Alone
  • 10:20pm/9:20c Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
  • 1am/12c Wrap Battle

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Sunday, December 8

  • 7am/6c Wrap Battle 
  • 8am/7c Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House 
  • 10am/9c I’ll Be Home for Christmas (1998)
  • Freeform Premiere 12pm/11c Prancer Returns
  • 2:05pm/1:05c The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause 
  • 4:10pm/3:10c Home Alone 
  • 6:40pm/5:40c Home Alone 2: Lost in New York 
  • 9:20pm/8:20c Despicable Me 2 
  • 11:25pm/10:25c Shrek
  • 1:30am/12:30c Kung Fu Panda Holiday 

Monday, December 9

  • 7:30am/6:30c I’ll Be Home for Christmas (1998)
  • 11am/10c Decorating Disney: Holiday Magic
  • 12pm/11c Home Alone 3
  • 2:10pm/1:10c Home Alone: The Holiday Heist
  • 4:20pm/3:20c Kung Fu Panda Holiday
  • 4:50pm/3:50c Shrek
  • 6:55pm/5:55c Despicable Me 2
  • Season Finale Episodes 9pm/8c Wrap Battle 

Tuesday, December 10

  • 7:30am/6:30c Home Alone: The Holiday Heist
  • 11am/10c Wrap Battle
  • 12pm/11c The Mistle-Tones
  • 2:05pm/1:05c Ghosting: The Spirit of Christmas
  • 4:10pm/3:10c Deck the Halls (2006)
  • 6:15pm/5:15c Arthur Christmas
  • 8:20pm/7:20c Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
  • 12am/11c The Simpsons Holiday-thon

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Wednesday, December 11

  • 7:30am/6:30c 12 Dates of Christmas
  • 11am/10c Deck the Halls (2006)
  • 1:10pm/12:10c Arthur Christmas
  • 3:20pm/2:20c The Simpsons Holiday-thon
  • 5:20pm/4:20c Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
  • Freeform Premiere 8pm/7c Same Time, Next Christmas
  • 10pm/9c Decorating Disney: Holiday Magic
  • 12am/11c Life-Size 2: A Christmas Eve

Thursday, December 12

  • 7am/6c The Preacher’s Wife
  • 11am/10c This Christmas
  • Freeform Premiere 1:35pm/12:35c The Perfect Holiday
  • 3:35pm/2:35c The Holiday
  • 6:50pm/5:50c The Santa Clause
  • 8:55pm/7:55c The Santa Clause 2
  • 12am/11c Snow

Friday, December 13

  • 7am/6c Love the Coopers
  • 12:30pm/11:30c The Santa Clause
  • 2:35pm/1:35c The Santa Clause 2
  • 4:40pm/3:40c The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
  • 6:45pm/5:45c Home Alone 
  • 9:15pm/8:15c Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
  • 11:55pm/10:55c Home Alone: The Holiday Heist

Saturday, December 14

  • 7am/6c Home Alone: The Holiday Heist
  • 9am/8c Arthur Christmas
  • 11am/10c The Simpsons Holiday-thon
  • 2pm/1c The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
  • 4:05pm/3:05c Home Alone 
  • 6:35pm/5:35c Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
  • 9:15pm/8:15c Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
  • 11:55pm/10:55c Richie Rich’s Christmas Wish

Sunday, December 15

  • 7am/6c Arthur Christmas 
  • 9:05am/8:05c Richie Rich’s Christmas Wish
  • 11:10am/10:10c  Unaccompanied Minors 
  • 1:20pm/12:20c Deck the Halls (2006)
  • 3:25pm/2:25c Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas 
  • 5:05pm/4:05c Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) 
  • 7:45pm/6:45c The Santa Clause 
  • 9:50pm/8:50c The Santa Clause 2 
  • 11:55pm/10:55c The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause 

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Monday, December 16

  • 7am/6c Deck the Halls (2006)
  • 9am/8c Disney’s Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice
  • 11am/10c The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
  • 1:05pm/12:05c Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • 2:45pm/1:45c Rise of the Guardians
  • 4:50pm/3:50c The Santa Clause
  • 6:55pm/5:55c The Santa Clause 2
  • 2 Hour Holiday Special 9pm/8c Good Trouble

Tuesday, December 17

  • 7am/6c Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
  • 8:30am/7:30c Prancer Returns
  • 10:30am/9:30c Rise of the Guardians
  • 12:35pm/11:35c Richie Rich’s Christmas Wish
  • 2:40pm/1:40c The Holiday
  • 5:50pm/4:50c Home Alone
  • 8:20pm/7:20c Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
  • 12am/11c The Simpsons Holiday-thon

Wednesday, December 18

  • 7am/6c Prancer Returns
  • 9am/8c I’ll Be Home for Christmas (1998)
  • 11:05am/10:05c Richie Rich’s Christmas Wish
  • 1:10pm/12:10c The Simpsons Holiday-thon
  • 3:10pm/2:10c Home Alone
  • 5:40pm/4:40c Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
  • 8:20pm/7:20c Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
  • 12am/11c Ghosting: The Spirit of Christmas

Thursday, December 19

  • 7:30am/6:30c Decorating Disney: Holiday Magic
  • 8:30am/7:30c Snowglobe
  • 10:30am/9:30c 12 Dates of Christmas
  • 12:30pm/11:30c Deck the Halls (2006)
  • 2:35pm/1:35c The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
  • 4:40pm/3:40c Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
  • 7:20pm/6:20c Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • 9pm/8c Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story
  • 11pm/10c Rise of the Guardians
  • 1am/12c Decorating Disney: Holiday Magic

Friday, December 20

  • 7am/6c Snow 
  • 9am/8c Snow 2: Brain Freeze 
  • 11am/10c Deck the Halls (2006)
  • 1pm/12c The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
  • 3pm/2c Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • 4:40pm/3:40c Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town
  • 5:45pm/4:45c Frosty the Snowman
  • 6:15pm/5:15c Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  • 7:20pm/6:20c Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story 
  • 9:20pm/8:20c Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story 2 
  • 11:25pm/10:25c Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story That Time Forgot
  • 11:55pm/10:55c Arthur Christmas

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Saturday, December 21

  • 7am/6c The Little Drummer Boy (1968)
  • 7:30am/6:30c Prancer Returns 
  • 9:40am/8:40c Arthur Christmas 
  • 11:50am/10:50c Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town 
  • 12:55pm/11:55c Frosty the Snowman 
  • 1:25pm/12:25c Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 
  • 2:30pm/1:30c Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story 2
  • 4:35pm/3:35c Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story That Time Forgot 
  • 5:05pm/4:05c The Santa Clause 
  • 7:10pm/6:10c The Santa Clause 2 
  • 9:15pm/8:15c Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
  • 11:55pm/10:55c The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause

Sunday, December 22

  • 7am/6c The Holiday 
  • 10:15am/9:15c The Santa Clause
  • 12:25pm/11:25c The Santa Clause 2 
  • 2:35pm/1:35c The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
  • 4:40pm/3:40c Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) 
  • 7:20pm/6:20c Home Alone 
  • 9:50pm/8:50c Home Alone 2: Lost in New York 
  • 12:30am/11:30c The Little Drummer Boy (1968) 
  • 1am/12c Decorating Disney: Holiday Magic 

Monday, December 23

  • 7am/6c Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings: Holiday Magic
  • 8am/7c Richie Rich’s Christmas Wish
  • 10am/9c Deck the Halls (2006)
  • 12pm/11c Prancer Returns
  • 2:05pm/1:05c Arthur Christmas
  • 4:10pm/3:10c Home Alone
  • 6:40pm/5:40c Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
  • 9:20pm/8:20c Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

Tuesday, December 24

  • 7am/6c The Little Drummer Boy (1968)
  • 7:30am/6:30c Prancer Returns 
  • 11am/10c Kung Fu Panda Holiday 
  • 11:30am/10:30c Arthur Christmas
  • 1:30pm/12:30c The Santa Clause 
  • 3:35pm/2:35c The Santa Clause 2
  • 5:40pm/4:40c Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) 
  • 8:20pm/7:20c Frosty the Snowman
  • 8:50pm/7:50c Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 
  • 9:55pm/8:55c Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town
  • 12am/11c The Simpsons Holiday-thon

Wednesday, December 25

  • 7am/6c Richie Rich’s Christmas Wish
  • 9am/8c Disney’s Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice 
  • 11am/10c The Santa Clause
  • 1:05pm/12:05c The Santa Clause 2
  • 3:10pm/2:10c Frosty the Snowman
  • 3:40pm/2:40c Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  • 4:45pm/3:45c Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town
  • 5:50pm/4:50c Home Alone
  • 8:20pm/7:20c Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
  • 12am/11c Deck the Halls (2006)

The Grand Ole Opry’s Anniversary: 5 Musical Milestones

On November 28th, 1925, 94 years ago this week, the WSM Barn Dance was born. Fashioned after the already popular National Barn Dance, which premiered in April 1924 on Chicago radio station WLS, the show would later be christened the Grand Ole Opry, after host George D. Hay noted that a slate of performers playing hillbilly music, fiddle tunes, and the like would follow a just-completed classical music program. On a Saturday night in 1927, just before harmonica whiz DeFord Bailey played “Pan American Blues,” Hay told the radio audience, “For the next three hours, we will present nothing but realism. We will be down to earth for the earthy. We have heard grand opera from New York, but now we will be listening to the Grand Ole Opry.”

Countless musical memories have since been experienced on its legendary stages, from the WSM studios and the Dixie Tabernacle to the Ryman Auditorium and today’s modern Grand Ole Opry House. Here are the stories behind five of our favorites.

Hank Williams’ Opry Debut
By June 1949, Hank Williams, who had been a frequent performer on the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, was becoming a huge star nationally. On June 11th, he made his way to Nashville where he would appear on the Opry for the first time during Saturday night’s 9:30 portion, sponsored by Warren Paints and hosted by Ernest Tubb. Sandwiched between performances by Opry mainstays Bill Monroe and the Crook Brothers, Williams’ first song was “Lovesick Blues,” one he didn’t write. Although it’s the subject of some debate, by most accounts, the enthusiastic audience was immediately treated to an astonishing six encores from the singer. The Opry program notes that the first of his songs he performed was “Mind Your Own Business,” soon to be a hit. This took place during a later segment hosted by George Morgan, and Williams would, according to other accounts, appear again during a segment hosted by Little Jimmy Dickens. Williams took the Opry stage again the following week and became one of the radio show’s most popular cast members. Sadly, his battle with alcohol led to his firing from the program in August 1952. While the Opry intended the move as a wake-up call to the beleaguered entertainer, he never returned. Four months later, he was dead from heart failure at just 29 year old.

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Jerry Lee Lewis Break the Rules
“Let me tell ya something about Jerry Lee Lewis, ladies and gentlemen: I am a rock & rollin’, country-and-western, rhythm-and-blues-singin’ motherfucker.” With those words, uttered from the Ryman stage on January 20th, 1973, the music icon known as “The Killer” broke one Opry rule — no cursing on stage. Soon enough, he’d lay waste to another: a request not to perform any of his rock songs. After a single country hit, “Another Place, Another Time,” one of the songs that resurrected his foundering career and changed his musical direction, he proceeded to deliver a 40-minute set (instead of the generally allotted two songs per act) that included rock classics like “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” and “Great Balls of Fire.” Alongside covers of Merle Haggard’s “Workin’ Man Blues” and Kris Kristofferson’s “Once More With Feeling,” he shook, rattled, and rolled the audience with covers of Fifties staples “Rock Around the Clock” and “Mean Woman Blues.” He also invited Opry pianist Del Wood to join him on a version of “Down Yonder,” her 1951 instrumental hit.

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The Birth of Bluegrass
In 1926, a band called the Bluegrass Serenaders appeared on the Opry, marking the first time a group with bluegrass in their name would play the Opry stage. (They were actually an old-time string band.) When Kentucky-born Bill Monroe joined the Opry in 1939, he was accompanied by his band, the Blue Grass Boys, named after Kentucky’s nickname. By December 1945, Monroe had recruited banjo player Earl Scruggs, who picked with a fiery and innovate three-fingered style, as well as skilled guitarist and lead vocalist Lester Flatt, along with fiddler Chubby Wise and Howard Watts (a.k.a. Cedric Rainwater) on upright bass. This extraordinary combination, a highlight of Opry shows and a popular touring act, would be credited with inventing the genre, playing what musicologist Alan Lomax would refer to as “folk music in overdrive.” Today, bluegrass is represented on the Opry by members including Alison Krauss, Dailey & Vincent, the Whites, and Del McCoury.

“Long-Haired Hippies” The Byrds Land Onstage
Culture clashes are a rare thing on the Opry stage, but in the late Sixties and throughout the Seventies, as the Opry outgrew the Ryman Auditorium and country music evolved, not every invitation issued to special guest performers was greeted with enthusiasm by the more musically conservative fan base. On March 15th, 1968, folk-rockers the Byrds, with new member Gram Parsons, were in Nashville for the final day of recording their roots-influenced Sweetheart of the Rodeo LP, and that night took the Opry stage. Introduced by future “outlaw” songwriter and music publisher Tompall Glaser, and featuring steel guitarist Lloyd Green, the Byrds performed a cover of Merle Haggard’s “Sing Me Back Home.” Mocked for their long hair (which they’d actually had cut for the occasion), with some in the audience deriding them with bird calls, they ditched another planned Haggard cover, “Life in Prison,” to perform the Parsons original “Hickory Wind” as a tribute to the singer-songwriter’s grandmother. It was a risky move that defied protocol, embarrassed Glaser, and further pissed off a number of Opry cast members.

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The Godfather of Soul Goes Country
Although piano player Del Wood had performed with rocker Jerry Lee Lewis six years earlier, in March 1979 she wanted no part of another upcoming event that would cross musical genres: the appearance of “Soul Brother Number One” James Brown. “I could throw up,” Wood told the Nashville Banner at the time. “The next thing you know, they’ll be doing the strip out there.” While longtime Opry member Jean Shepard announced she would boycott that night’s show in protest, it was Opry legend Porter Wagoner who issued Brown the invite while he was in Music City recording a disco-flavored tune called “It’s Too Funky in Here.” The Saturday night 7 o’clock segment, which Wagoner hosted, first featured Skeeter Davis, herself no stranger to controversy. Earlier in the decade, Davis was temporarily booted off the Opry for her onstage criticism of the arrest of a group of “Jesus freaks” gathered at a local mall.

Then came Brown’s eight-song set, five of which were among his soul hits: “Get Up Off That Thing,” “Cold Sweat,” “Can’t Stand It,” and an extended version of “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag,” which also included a snippet of “I Got You (I Feel Good).” While the 30-minute set leaned heavily on Brown’s R&B classics, he also performed a trio of country-esqye tunes: “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” “Tennessee Waltz,” and “Georgia on My Mind.” In spite of the media attention and vocal protests, Brown would later insist he had been “treated like a prodigal son” during his Opry visit. Six months later, another R&B icon, Stevie Wonder, visited Nashville and performed on the Grand Ole Opry, singing Charlie Rich’s “Behind Closed Doors.” His appearance, however, was not accompanied by the same negative publicity.

Watch Will Ferrell Channel Harry Styles In A Cut-For-Time SNL Sketch About A Cut-For-Time SNL Sketch

A couple of weeks ago, Harry Styles pulled double duty as both host and musical guest of Saturday Night Live. Last week, Will Ferrell hosted, and he performed a sketch about Will Ferrell performing a cut-for-time sketch originally written for Harry Styles (“Will Ferrell, always competitive, said ‘If Harry Styles can do it, so can I. After all, I was doing sketch comedy when Harry was just a fetus in his mom’s butt.’”). The sketch, ironically, was cut for time.

In the sketch, a group of girls at the mall — played by Aidy Bryant, Cecily Strong, and Kate McKinnon — lust after English Kevin, the hot English teen who transferred to their school. English Kevin has a body that’s “smooth and young like a baby seal, but with abs” and “sings like an angel and dances like the devil himself.” And yes, English Kevin is played by Will Ferrell with fake tattoos and a fake accent, wearing Harry Styles’ clothes and singing One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful.” Watch below.

Bite of Seattle

Bite of Seattle

In Seattle downtown alone boasts of a hundred big name restaurants that showcase their several world renowned entrees. And still we have those small family owned eateries over places like Pike Place Market or those that line Queen Anne Hill, small scale cafés and bistros that stands their own with several of their unique delectables. So, how are these people that come and go over Seattle enjoy the diverse tastes only unique in Seattle? -By ‘Bite of Seattle’ of course.

The Bite of Seattle is an annual food festival held in July for three days and it takes place on Seattle Center. At the festival, the opportunity to taste the differences of cuisine by nationalities is evident. Try the Lechon, which is a national pride of the Filipinos. How about a serving of Mexico’s Guacamole? Have you tried the elusive Chili Con Queso? Or maybe the Indian delicacy Chicken Tikka Masala will prove to be your liking?

Of course, you can still have some of the ‘old’ regulars. Sausages, pizzas, frankfurters by the dozen are still among the options.

There are also myriad forms of entertainment while you fill your gullets to bursting. Street acts, propped up stages for a number of bands that play music from rock, alternative to jazz. After all, several of the legendary music personalities like Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain are Seattleites. Looking for a way to laugh youself to hunger? Head over to the Fish Pavilion Building and visit the Comedy Club presented by 96.5 K-ROCK.

It seems Alan Silverman have a revelation about this one. But in any way, Bite of Seattle was a highly successful annual event. While it only attracts 75,000 participants during its inception in 1982 with 25 restaurants showcasing good food, exceeding 450,000 gourmands now participate on the annual event with 60 host restaurants. That made its transition from Greenlake to Seattle Center necessary. Three and a half miles of gas pipes are laid specifically for the Bite of Seattle cooking, with 15 miles of electric cable to be used on host restaurant’s stalls. An approximate of 2,000 gallons of hot water and 175000 pounds of ice are made ready so that an average of 12,000 gallons of soda can be dispensed together with around 365 kegs of beer. Suffice to say, Bite of Seattle is a worldwide event where 450,000 or more participants are welcomed with good food, unlimited drinks and loads of loads of fun.

If you find yourself in Seattle in the midst of the year (that is on July), never bypass this gourmand event. It’s rarer to taste most of the food presented during the three day festival and rarer still to have a collection of festive entertainment mixed in.

Mr. Handy’s Blues: An Exchange With Producer/Director Joanne Fish

2019 Beth Hart wide

Just like me and you

He’s trying to get into things

More happy than blue

A minstrel of the changing tide

He’ll ask for nothing but his pride

– Gordon Lightfoot

Mr. Handy’s Blues: A Musical Documentary  is a never before told saga of W.C. Handy, or the Father of the Blues as he is affectionately known all over the world; it is also the brainchild of Emmy-winning producer Joanne Fish. The producer/director has worked in film and television for 30 plus years. Her work has been seen on History Channel, A&E, Lifetime, CBS, NBC, CMT, etc. 

With a predilection for both history and roots music, Joanne naturally gravitates toward musicians who blazed their own trail and inaugurated concepts in artistry not previously devised by anyone else before them. Her last independent documentary was called The Sweet Lady with the Nasty Voice, about Wanda Jackson. Just as Handy was the Father of the Blues, Jackson was the Queen of Rockabilly. 

W.C. Handy was born seven years after the Civil War to former slaves, a life fraught with hardships as he had to endure so many years of violent racism, extreme poverty, and disapproval. His father once told him he would rather visit his grave than witness him play an instrument, “the plaything of the devil.” But Handy’s abiding fortitude (and reproach from others) always emboldened him to be hell-bent and triumph-bound. St. Louis was the place he would spend too many days homeless under a bridge, contemplating suicide. And “St. Louis Blues,” written in 1914, would be his magnum opus. The song became a worldwide phenomenon as it was the most recorded song of the first half of the 20th Century. 

Ten years in the making, this film achieves exactly what Joanne originally set out for: to find “that one thread that runs through somebody’s life that explains how they got this level of success,” as she puts it. She hopes that this film will spark curiosity and cultivate knowledge, as Handy’s legacy is sadly fading away. Interviewees of W.C. Handy’s Blues include Bobby Rush, Taj Mahal, the late Gip Gibson, and more. The director’s cut with more performances is now available on DVD internationally: Mr. Handy’s Blues

Blues Musician Taj Mahal and documentary filmmaker Joanne Fish

Lauren for American Blues Scene:

What drew you to the history of WC Handy to begin with?

Joanne Fish:

I’m interested in roots, the history of music. My last film was called “The Sweet Lady With the Nasty Voice” about Wanda Jackson, who was a real pioneer of — she went from country music to the newfangled rockabilly, which then morphed into rock and roll. I decided to go back further and explore the roots of the blues. It’s a rabbit hole when you go down it. It’s a never-ending story. You know from being on a magazine that features blues. When I got back as far as W.C. Handy, I thought that was something I could really sink my teeth into, because it’s such a positive story. It doesn’t sound like the usual blues story, because he was born 40 years before all of that history started. It’s interesting to me to see how he achieved such great success and great notoriety. He’s still revered all around the world, so that’s what got me going.

Can you tell me about the odyssey of this film? The research, the interviews, how it all came together… What are some highlights you can discuss when thinking about this whole process and the making of the documentary, and now seeing it to fruition?

A highlight for me was finally finding somebody who actually knew a lot about Handy. There’s a lot of researchers out there. The only book about Handy was a book written by Handy. It was his story, but it was kind of more colorful and written in a language that wasn’t easy to cipher. 

He was very eloquent. 

Yes, and it’s very colorful and flowery language and really neat. But it wasn’t like — what were the facts? Exactly where were you at that time? So, that took a long time. What surprised me the most was when I first went to Handy’s home, I thought, “Well, I know any minute now I’m going to find out there’s a huge documentary about him.” I happened to be in his hometown for another film festival at the time for my last film. I went to the museum and thought I’d find out somebody has already got the jump on this or it’s been done. The more I dug, no one has ever done this. No one has even written a book about him.

That makes it all the more interesting. 

Yeah. So then you think, well, why not me?

I was kind of blown away. There’s a lot to know about this guy. 

Yeah, a lot of history. Some people said, “You can’t do it, because you have to tell the whole story of the Civil War to figure out exactly where he fits in.” But hopefully people — if people are interested, it’ll spark their interest and they can go back.

Kind of like a Ken Burns documentary.

Yeah, it’s kind of like that. I’ve done a lot of biographies for television networks, for A&E Biography and Lifetime and the History Channel. And that’s how I spent my whole career was working in L.A. in the television business. And then I lived in Nashville for a while and did a lot of biographies of country music people.

Who are some country artists you’ve worked with?

Well, I did things like “100 Greatest Songs of Country Music” and “50 Greatest Women of Country Music” and “50 Greatest Men of Country Music.” And then I did shows on Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney, the band Alabama, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, George Jones…

George Jones is my favorite. Favorite of all time.

I mean, he is the sweetest guy.

Oh, my god. Since I was five. I named my first goldfish George Jones when I was five. 

Did you really? He is just…

I love him so much. I have a George Jones tattoo. 

So, you know he’s just the best. I did a music video for him, a song called “I Don’t Need Your Rocking Chair.” 

Yes! I love that song.

It won Vocal Event of the Year at the CMAs. (Nancy Jones accepted the award on his behalf as he was in the bathroom.) 

You did that video!

Yes, with George Foreman. And we got a boxing ring.

I remember that! So, you produced that video. 

Yes, when I lived in Nashville. 

That’s amazing. I’m so glad I asked you. See, you and I speak the same language. Don’t put an artist in a box. It all goes back. Country, blues, rock and roll. It’s all roots. 

Yeah, and it should be looked at that way, like it’s a tree and there’s all the roots.

I like the concepts within this film — interstices of very talented musicians playing WC Handy songs between interviews, archival footage of Louis Armstrong and George Gershwin paying homage, recordings of Handy speaking to Alan Lomax…

I didn’t want to use a narrator, so I had to use the old timey silent movie screens.

It added a very nice touch to the film throughout. 

I appreciate that. I really avoid having a narrator. And I had the luxury of having Handy’s voice. 

It works for certain documentaries. I like how Ken Burns will interview a lot of people and then he’ll do his own narration. And then he’ll also have musicians play. What you did was very artful. 

I tried. You know, after years of writing narration for people to come in and do, it’s like, “If you just do it first person, it would be amazing.” And since Handy’s been gone for so long, let’s bring him to life a little more. So having those recordings was a godsend.

They’re very clear, too. 

Yes. He has a great voice. And he sings and it’s so cute.

He didn’t really have a speaking voice like a lot of — like you’re used to hearing blues singers. He was very eloquent and almost kind of Shakespearean. He had a very unique voice and diction. 

Yes, he did. And kind of a higher voice.

I like how the film always came back to his fortitude as the reason he overcame hardships and what made him stand out as a musician of substance. You know, he was the first to publish music in the blues form. I think he kind of changed the landscape. There’s a poetic quality to the kind of musician he was. 

Yeah, it’s really — that era. Most of the musicians were minstrels or traveling around. A lot of it is not in the film where he was physically threatened during the minstrel period, and he had to have a gun hidden on the train. And it was a means to an end for him. I think he just walked that line between being treated like a second-class citizen sometimes, but I’m confident and strong enough in my spirit that I can overcome it. Deal with it now, but I’m going to get past it. He never gave up, because he believed in himself so much. That’s something that everybody goes through, that they need to dig deep. And he had to walk that line between being black in a white world and not thinking of himself as subservient.

And he was able to reclaim his publishing rights, which I thought was very ahead of his time. 

He was. He was ahead of his time. I think somebody says, “He was kind of a visionary, a prophet,” they said. Going to his home — it’s a little cabin in Florence, Alabama. It doesn’t take long to go through, but you go, “Oh, my gosh. This is such a positive story.” Everybody could feel good watching this.

Yeah, I feel inspired by him. I kind of drew parallels with him and Tom Petty. The way he was able to reclaim publishing rights, his fortitude, and the way his father didn’t show support for him until he was famous. I felt the rock and roll spirit. It kind of determines your success. I mean that’s the measure of true success, not just money but also not backing down. 

Right. Right. His spirit — Wynton Marsalis isn’t in the film, but I did have a long conversation with him about Handy. And he said he thought — I said, “Where did he get that strength to keep going?” He said he didn’t know a lot about Handy, but he said his father was a preacher. It was kind of born into him. He wasn’t real religious. He went back to spirituals later in life and arranged them and did a book of Negro spirituals. He wasn’t a regular at church or anything. But that might be the reason. In all my years of doing biographies I always want to know, you know, what is that thread? Because we’re all born equal. What is that one thread that runs through somebody’s life that explains how they got this level of success? It’s always fascinating and it never gets boring.

I think a lot of the time it’s you have people telling you that you can’t do it. 

Yeah, that’s a good one.

Seems to be a catalyst. And I can relate to that. 

Yeah, me too.

He’s such a considerable amount of the blues songbook. With that said, why do you think “St. Louis Blues” was regarded as his magnum opus?

That’s a good question. I just think it was a combination of different — it has its fingers in a lot of different types of music, even classical. It just can be translated into so many different genres. And I think, for him, it was a combination of all the things he was working on and putting together and mixing bits of this and bits of that. And I think that one just struck a chord with people. It’s true that it’s the timing, the way it came out and the way it was presented. With recordings coming out it got spread around more, because before that his songs were just on sheet music and played live. I think the Bessie Smith recording and Louis Armstrong…

I love Ella Fitzgerald’s, too. She did a great rendition. But I think the Bessie Smith clip was my favorite part. 

Yeah, that’s really a highlight because we’re lucky we have that. That’s how the word got out. So in France, In Paris, where jazz was starting — and that record came out and people started hearing it played different ways. They thought it was like “The Star-Spangled Banner.” They thought it was America’s anthem. So I think it was like lightning in a bottle with timing. And he was at a mature level in his career. He was a very good musician who knew how to read and write music for all his musicians. I think it was his — he intended it to be his opus. Putting it all together and putting in the strains of habanera music from Cuba. It’s the first one where he combined all of his musical interests. And one thing that somebody said — and this is really true — in Europe, all the classical composers would take music from folk music where they were from. They all did that and would turn it into these symphonies and these great works of art. And that’s what Handy was trying to do with the blues: take it from the Delta, take this raw music and turn it into a classic. I think that song was a combination of all his attempts to do that. And he had the fame, so he could basically do whatever he wanted.

Definitely. What is your personal opinion of Handy’s signature on Memphis blues? 

Well, he is the father figure. He’s a symbol. The “Father of the Blues” was more of an affectionate nickname for him. He’s the father of the blues because he’s older. He’s like 40 years older than all these guys. He set the tone. And Memphis was the first music capital of the United States. That’s where there were lots of German music societies and a huge black population and the Delta people coming up from Mississippi, and a lot of trained musicians. Music was just happening. There were lots of ballrooms and lots of things going on. He — introducing a new format while he was there and publishing that first song really solidified Memphis’s reputation as the place to go for music. Luckily, it continued with the blues and they haven’t quite forgotten who started it all, putting that brand on there. They regard him now as the father figure for the whole area. They give him respect. My friends say it doesn’t sound like the blues. 

Well, he brought a folk sensibility. 

Yes. Yes, he brought it to the masses. He brought it to the mainstream, and it would have gotten there anyway. But he did it.

I think he brought his own unique fusion of folk and blues to a wider audience and earned the title. 

He had the initiative and the drive. He staked his name and reputation on it. This is the true American form of music that needs to be recognized as something other than just what they do down there in the mud.

Exactly. How do you think his journey through the Delta, and the sounds he heard along the way — from live music to trains to someone literally playing slide guitar with a knife at the train station — shaped his musical style? 

It’s amazing to think that he was 30 years old or so before he ever heard this, even coming from Alabama and traveling all over through St. Louis, all his jobs and everything, that it took him being 30 years old —  leading an orchestra in Mississippi. It’s funny. They said he would play at brothels and big ballrooms. His band was a little higher-toned. So I guess in that respect, maybe he never did hear anyone singing on the side of the street. He heard a lot of snippets when he was traveling through Mississippi particularly. One side note: he had been collecting a lot of things from St. Louis, people on the street and the way they talked, their form of expression, when they spoke. Different dialects in different parts of the country. He had always been interested in that. He would make up songs when he was younger, when he was traveling around. That’s how they told the news. You’d hear — the local news would be someone standing on the corner riffing about it. He was really good at doing that, singing songs like, “Hey, old man…” 

Oh yeah, just rapping.

Yeah. So that was white and black people. But when he got to the Delta he felt the really deep African-American roots. He could identify with that. He saw the disconnect with what he was doing with more classical tunes and popular songs of the day, and what he was hearing there. It’s like, that’s where my soul lies and I need to incorporate that into what I’m doing as a professional.

One quote that resonated with me was one from his grandson, in which Carlos said his grandfather “incorporated the musical structure that people could listen to and enjoy.” He defied and broke down genre barriers. Those are the artists that are the most inspirational to me, so I totally agree with that. 

Yeah, he wanted to make it more palatable for a wider audience. He said it was the weirdest music he had ever heard, but he could relate to it. 

Why do you think “Jelly Roll” Morton branded Handy as “the stenographer of the blues”? What made him so sorely misinformed? 

I guess that he was that kind of that ornery type of guy. It was that period when he made that claim and spoke out so vehemently about it — and everyone else too, by the way. He was kind of on the skids in his career. I mean, I love Jelly Roll Morton. Don’t get me wrong. I wish I could have used some of his piano in the film. He plays Handy songs. He recorded his songs. And they’re beautiful renditions. It’s crazy.

It’s like something out of a movie. Like, this guy can’t be serious. 

Right. And that’s why it’s kind of puzzling. From my expert, who I trust 100 percent, he said he was just at that point in his career where he wasn’t getting enough attention. His career was on the wind, because everyone loved Handy and not so much Jelly Roll Morton. I don’t think he had the kind of personality, for whatever reason. He didn’t ingratiate himself or have a lot of friends. I think that’s what it must be. But he literally listening to the radio and heard that Ripley’s Believe it or Not show, and it shot under his skin. It was an affectionate nickname for Handy because he was so much older than everyone.They called him Daddy of the Blues, and everybody called him Pops or Dad.

It was self-proclaimed, but it doesn’t mean that he was narcissistic. He earned the title. 

That’s just how people referred to him, mostly because of his age and because of “St. Louis Blues” and the big songs that came out before that people really grasped onto.

And he brought elements that weren’t there before. 

That’s right, and the way that it was on the cusp of early jazz. That’s so interesting. It was just the right place at the right time, and he deserved the respect. But Jelly Roll Morton heard that on the radio, the Father of the Blues and the Father of Jazz. Handy was never called the Father of Jazz. But Ripley, hey, believe it or not, right? He said that, and that got under his skin. He did have the wherewithal to start writing letters and articles about how it was him, and he spread a lot of spurious rumors. It really was conspiracy theories. He said things about Paul Whiteman. Once he got going, nobody was safe from being accused of thievery by him.

Such libel. 

Yeah, and Downbeat did go back after they published and made an apology. But it was out there. I don’t think he was the only one that harbored those resentments or thought that Handy was getting too much credit, in my mind because of a silly nickname. But also because of his fame and how he was so well-known, just for being himself and not even for his great playing.

People don’t know what to believe, so rumors are so inflammatory. 

Yeah, so you’re going to get a few side eyes, a few glances.

I felt bad for the guy. 

I know. I did too. I felt really bad for him. I try not to make it be like Handy could do no wrong.

You were definitely unbiased. I did not get a bias.

Ok, good. I feel like after a while you lose perspective.

No, I think everyone reached the same consensus on their own that he didn’t rip anyone off. 

That would be a much more exciting film. But he wouldn’t have gotten that far.

Exactly. But see, that’s another good thing about this documentary is that it will bring to light the truth if there were possibly any detractors left. 

I hope so. I hope it does, because — one fella did say it was the most authentic blues documentary he had seen in a while.

I agree. 

He’s a deep researcher of all this stuff, so that made me feel good. I thought he was going to be the one who pointed out all my mistakes, all the things I left out.

I loved it. 

Good. I’m so happy to hear that. I mean, it’s just something different. I’m going to be taking it on a tour; the film got picked up for a tour. It’s called the Southern Circuit. My circuit is Alabama, Kentucky, and North Carolina. I’m really excited. I hope it’s entertaining, but I think it’s really educational.

Have you ever done a film tour?

No. I’ve done a lot of film festivals with this one and with Wanda Jackson. We went to South by Southwest with that one and so many. Wanted to show that one, because Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello is in it. And she’s in it. So I’ve done that, stand up in front of an audience and talk about it, but not where it’s the only film being shown and chosen for a purpose. That’s going to be interesting.

Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers about the film? Perhaps what you learned?

It took me 10 years to make it. I’m glad it took so much time, because it really settled in. My original idea was the same as it came out. Nothing really changed in between. That’s unusual when you have the time to do something. The more time went by, I realized, I talked to people from day one to the last day 10 years later. And fewer and fewer people had any idea what I was talking about. Oh, you don’t know who W.C. Handy is? Well, here. And people might discover him. His legacy is totally fading away, even in Memphis. People don’t walk the extra block to go see his house at the end of the street, so I hope it fosters more interest in him.

Garry Burnside, Sr.
Bobby Rush
Taj Mahal

Joanne Fish

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