The Mid-Week Beat: The Music of the Civil Rights Movement

Dr.-Martin-Luther-King-Jr-005With Martin Luther King Jr. Day coming up this Monday, this week is a chance for us to remember this great man and the incredible struggle that he helped spearhead: the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s.

And, since this is the Mid-Week Beat, it’s also important to remember what a key role music played for those involved in the struggle. When one thinks of the music of the civil rights era, we largely think of so-called “freedom songs”: African-American gospel hymns like “Go Down Moses” or “We Shall Not Be Moved,” that had deep roots in the African-American churches and socially concious folk songs sung by artists like Julius Lester, Odetta and Pete Seeger. The freedom songs were collaborative in nature and they served as a tool to bring people together in the struggle and to gain strength from one another.

Many younger African Americans involved in the movement, however, sought to separate themselves from the old church tradition and wanted music that was more revolutionary in spirit. Music that could be cranked at parties and was more receptive than participatory. Therefore, it was the soul and r&b that was being produced in Detroit by Motown or in Memphis by Stax, that spoke to this, more militant, generation.
Read More…

Music >

The Mid-Week Beat: Rockin’ in the New Year!

imagesHappy 2014 everyone! I’m sure many of you are nursing some healthy hangovers today after last night’s festivities but the beat goes on. Why not start planning for your next night of musical festivities. Dick Clark may be gone but that doesn’t mean you can’t still have a rockin’ new year.

2013 was a great year in music for Brown Paper Tickets. We ticketed a ton of shows featuring up-and-coming and well established artists, as well as a whole slew of great festivals, tours and house shows.

2014 is already looking like another banner year and today on the Mid-Week Beat, I thought I’d share some exciting shows that are happening in this first month of the new year. Doesn’t matter what kind of music you dig: folk, blues, metal, singer/songwriters, r&b, classic rock or ska; we got you covered.

Check these out, enjoy the tunes and then get back in bed. New Year’s day is all about recovery.

Saturday, January 4 I Ramblin’ Jack ElliottSan Francisco, California

One of the last direct links to the great folk traditions of this country, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott is one of the legendary foundations of American folk music. In the tradition of roving troubadours Jack has carried the seeds and pollens of story and song for decades from one place to another, from one generation to the next.

In 1950, he met Woody Guthrie, moved in with the Guthrie family and traveled with Woody to California and Florida, from the redwood forests to the Gulf Stream waters. Along the way he learned the blues first-hand from Leadbelly, Mississippi John Hurt, the Reverend Gary Davis, Big Bill Broonzy, Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry, Jesse Fuller and Champion Jack Dupree. So it’s fitting that in 2011, he received a Grammy Award in the Traditional Blues category for his album, A Stranger Here. He received the National Medal of Arts award and was honored with a special dinner at the White House.

Recently the award-winning film The Ballad of Ramblin’ Jack introduced a new generation to his timeless music and yarns.  SF Live Arts is honored to have this national treasure start their concert year.

Americana/country/rockabilly singer Vikki Lee opens the show.

Monday, January 6Keb’ Mo’ and Friends with Beth Nielsen Chapman, JT Hodges and Casey WasnerNashville, Tennessee

Keb’ Mo’ is a three-time American Grammy Award-winning blues musician. He is a singer, guitarist, and songwriter, currently living in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife Robbie Brooks Moore.

He has been described as “a living link to the seminal Delta blues that travelled up the Mississippi River and across the expanse of America.” His post-modern blues style is influenced by many eras and genres, including folk, rock, jazz and pop. The moniker “Keb Mo” was coined by his original drummer, Quentin Dennard, and picked up by his record label as a “street talk” abbreviation of his given name, Kevin Moore.

Join Kind of Blue Music for an intimate night of music in the round to benefit the Abrintra Montessori School, hosted by Montessori dad, Keb’ Mo’ himself.

Other artists will be: BETH NIELSEN CHAPMAN, JT HODGES and CASEY WASNER.

Raffle will include a beautiful Bedell Acoustic Guitar signed by the artists.


Read More…

Music >

The Mid-Week Beat: Paying Tribute This Weekend

elvis-impersonators-590x310As many musicians out there know, a large portion of learning to be a instrumentalist or songwriter is learning to properly steal from your influences. Many musicians struggle to be original but chances are, someone has played the combination of chords and notes that you “wrote” before. That said, if you really get down to it, the actual notes and chords don’t really matter. It’s what you bring to those chords that matters; your unique perspective and individual playing style. No matter what you do to differentiate your sound from sounds of the past, there’s bound to be a little of your influences in there somewhere. That’s okay, as long as you also bring a little of yourself into the mix as well.

With that said, there are two very different ways to approach a tribute show. Some artists attempt to re-create the exact sound of the artist they’re paying tribute to, others choose to re-interpret an artists songs in their own unique way. I find the latter to be more enjoyable because it really distills music down to its pure form and pays homage to the folk tradition, where songs were passed down over the years; constantly changing and being re-interpreted. By interpreting a song in their own voice, a musician ensures that those songs will continue to grow and change for years to come. Songs by revered songwriters like Bob Dylan or Leonard Cohen are constantly being changed and re-interpreted by musicians, while artists like Elvis or Neil Diamond often get impersonated, with musicians donning their cadence, look and stage presence.

Today on the Mid-Week Beat, we feature both kinds of tributes: impersonations and interpretations. If you’re a fan of the original artists, chances are you’re going to enjoy hearing the songs you love regardless of whether they’re done straight or in an entirely different style. What matters are the songs.
Read More…

Music >

The Mid-Week Beat: The Varied Sounds of Folk Music Today

lomax-jp-1-popup1Music is as old as civilization itself. From Day One people have been banging on drums, strumming strings and blowing through hollowed out plants, bones and whatever else they could find. Thousands of styles of music have been born from cultures all over the world. They speak to the heartbeat of the people, the environment, the times.

“Folk Music” as a genre is an attempt to classify all these varied musical cultural traditions under one over-arching banner. Most American’s think of the likes of Woody Guthrie (pictured), Pete Seeger, early Bob Dylan or Joan Baez, which was decidedly “American” folk music but, the genre continues to thrive. Many artists around the country keep the fire alive by offering their own interpretations to “folk” as a genre but modern day folk artists tend to incorporate more global influences than their predecessors in the 1950s and 60s. Which makes sense as American culture becomes increasingly multi-cultural.

This week’s Midweek Beat explores three folk acts that are currently haunting the gardens and bars, concert halls and pubs of modern day America.

Simple Gifts

simple giftsWho or what is Simple Gifts?

Simple Gifts is two women and twelve instruments that draw upon an impressive variety of ethnic folk styles. Simple Gifts is all tuned up and ready to go TONIGHT, Wednesday, May 15, for their gig in Warsaw, New York.

Get in the mood for lively Irish jigs, down home American reels, hard-driving Klezmer frailachs and haunting gypsy melodies. But it doesn’t stop there. The ladies will also be spicing it up with the distinctive rhythms of Balkan dance music, the lush sounds of Scandinavian twin fiddling, and original compositions written in traditional styles.

Combining tradition, culture and innovation, Simple Gifts creates some of the finest arrangements in folk music today. Listen closely as a swing fiddle creeps into a Romanian dance, spoons show up in an Irish reel and the concertina ventures far beyond styles considered traditional for that instrument.

Based in the hills of central Pennsylvania, Simple Gifts plays an amazing array of instruments, sounds and styles that borrow from folk traditions from around the world.


Read More…

Music >

GIVEAWAY: Nectar Lounge Brings Earth Day for All Ages to Seattle!

(Just want to win tickets to the Earth Day extravaganza? Scroll to the bottom of this post!)

It’s always a treat to work with our neighbors over at Nectar Lounge! The venue/bar is a fantastic spot, committed to sustainability, good times, nightly events, and patio beverages. For this Earth Day weekend, Seattle can have it all, with all-ages activities and music during the day and of-ages party action during the night at the Fremont Earth Day Festival — and all it sets you back is $15 or an old bike. Proceeds benefit the Cascade Bicycle Club Education Foundation.

While the party for grown-ups goes all day and all night, the daytime is geared toward kids and families, opening at 11 a.m. both days this weekend begin with a dance party, going into a special performance each day at noon: Bubbleman (a bubbleman) on Saturday, then the Not-Its (kindie rock!) on Sunday, plus some Earth Day-themed activities to keep them busy.

Later, once you’ve gotten a sitter (or if you don’t have kids and you’re just ready to party), the of-ages happenings start with a chill but fun-loving, diverse lineup of folk, R&B, reggae and more, including songwriter Sarah Christine, acclaimed jazz/funk/world collective Snarky Puppy, and improvisational rocker Nefarious Jones, spread over both Saturday and Sunday nights for a full weekend of eco-minded grooves. The full line-up is available here.

Snarky Puppy in action:


Read More…

News >