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.
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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.


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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.
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Tuesday Tease: The Burly Beat!

Music and burlesque are natural bedfellows. I mean, it’s pretty hard to shimmy without some sort of a backbeat right? The neo-burlesque scene has made a concerted effort to take burlesque sounds away from the bump & grind/jazz/r&b/rockabilly soundtrack we tend to associate with classic burlesque, incorporating almost every genre of music imaginable. Now you can see a burlesque show that incorporates hip hop, classic rock, electronica, hell, I’ve even seen burlesque dancers perform to classical music! The sky’s the limit when it comes to a performers chosen soundtrack.

While music is omnipresent at burlesque shows, it’s not always the focus. So, this week, I’ve decided to feature burlesque events where the music is the star. It could be a tribute to a well-known artist or a show built around an original soundtrack, we got it all and these events span many musical genres: classic burlesque striptease tunes, the music of Meat Loaf, the cartoon music of the Animaniacs, hip hop and Celtic punk among others.

Doesn’t matter if you’re on the West Coast, East Coast, the sultry South or the UK, the burly beat goes on. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 15

Hot Patooties: A Burlesque Tribute to Meat Loaf!Brooklyn, New York   Whatever happened to Saturday night? In 1975, with these immortal words, Meat Loaf (née Marvin Lee Aday) made like a bat out of Hell, bursting out of Dr. Frank-N-Furter’s freezer and into the American consciousness. In the almost 4 decades since he has not only sold more than 80 million albums worldwide – he has also collaborated with Cher, been called Robert Paulson, had Michael Bay direct 3 of his music videos, and, in the ultimate sign of a life of sex, drugs and rock & roll, been the subject of both a Behind the Music AND a VH1 biopic. In honor of this, some of New York’s finest burlesque and variety performers have come together to celebrate the man whose voice is synonymous with both losing your virginity and losing the person you lost your virginity to. Victoria Privates and Creamed Stu are thrilled to present Hot Patooties: A Burlesque Tribute to Meat Loaf! Starring Jo Boobs, Darlinda Just Darlinda, Evelyn Vinyl, Apathy Angel, Victoria Privates, Creamed Stu, Scary Ben, Loose Wayne, and Dick Jones. MC’d by the golden throat of burlesque, Broadway Brassy! Stage kitten and go-go by Gemini Blitz.


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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:


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