Saturday, September 24, 2022

Playlist: September 24, 2022

Click to listen

Yo La Tengo, Emulsified
Death Cab For Cutie, Asphalt Meadows
     Sun-Mon 10/23-24 @ Fox Theater
Bonzo Dog Band, Death Cab For Cutie
Kim Lembo, Love to Ride
Mokai, Why I'm So Mean
     Sat 10/01 on Fog City Blues
     Thu 10/06 @ The Lost Church
Lara Price, Crazy Lucy
     Wed 9/28 @ Club Fox
Aki Kumar, Sajan Re Jhoot Mat Bolo
     Fri 9/30 @ Mama Kin
Charlie Musselwhite, Crawling King Snake
     Sun 9/25 @ Rancho Nicasio
Curtis Salgado, You Got to Move
     Sat 10/01 @ Almost Famous Winery
Deep Basement Shakers, Head Rag Hop
     Thu 9/29 @ Specs Twelve Adler Museum Cafe
Five Cent Coffee, The House Trilogy
     Fri 9/30 @ The Lost Chruch
Hot Club of Cowtown, Rodeo Blues
     Wed 9/28 @ Freight & Salvage

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 9/30-10/02

Allison Russell, Montreal
Meklit, My Gold
Rhiannon Giddens & Francesco Turrisi, Si Dolce è'l Tormento
Steve Earle & The Dukes, Mr. Bojangles
Cedric Watson, Le Troubadour Creole

California Honeydrops, Good Times
     from the forthcoming album Soft Spot
Con Brio, Seasons
     from the new EP Seasons
Jazz Mafia, China Cat Sunflower
     from the new EP Grateful Brass
Stone Foxes, Time Is A Killer
     from the forthcoming album On The Other Side
Ray Charles, I've Got A Woman (live)
Leonard Cohen, Lover Lover Lover

Friday, September 16, 2022

Playlist: September 17, 2022

Click to donate

Buddy Guy, Gunsmoke Blues
     from the forthcoming album The Blues Don't Lie
     Thu 9/22 @ The Mountain Winery
     Sat 9/24 @ Masonic Auditorium
Charlie Musselwhite, When the Frisco Left the Shed
     Sun 9/18 @ Rancho Nicasio
Kim Lembo, The Farm (in-studio)
     Sat 10/02 on Fog City Blues
     Wed 10/06 @ The Lost Church
Quinn DeVeaux, Goin' Back to Oakland (in-studio)
     Sat 9/24 @ Rio Nido Roadhouse: Real Neato Music Festival
Deep Basement Shakers, I'll Be Up Someday (in-studio)
     Thu 9/22 @ Madrone Art Bar
     Sat 9/24 @ Lindy by the Lake
Fantastic Negrito, Working Poor (in-studio)
     Sat 10/15 @ MoAD's Afropolitan Ball
Aki Kumar & Kid Andersen, Back to Bombay (in-studio)
     Sun 9/18 @ Viansa Winery
Big Blu Soul Revue, And You Loved Me (in-studio)
     Fri 9/23 @ Local Edition
King Street Giants, No Good Blues (in-studio)
     Sun 9/18 @ San Rafael PorchFest
The Gold Souls, Worker's Lullaby (in-studio)
     Sun 9/25 @ Harlow's
Marty O'Reilly & The Old Soul Orchestra, Letters (in-studio)
     Fri 9/30 @ Kuumbwa Jazz Center
Meklit, Sweet or Salty (in-studio)
     Sat 10/01 @ Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
Book of J, When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder (in-studio)
     Sun 10/02 @ Contemporary Jewish Museum: Fierce as Death – Queer as the Song of Songs

The Tempos, See You in September
Johnnie Taylor, It's September
Barry White, September (When I First Met You)
Earth Wind & Fire, September
Carole King, It Might As Well Rain Until September
Sarah Vaughan, September Song
Rosanne Cash, September When It Comes (feat. Johnny Cash)
Moe., September
Green Day, Wake Me Up When September Ends
The Bangles, September Gurls
My Morning Jacket, Old September Blues
Phantom Planet, See You Next Summer
Bob Dylan, Summer Days

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Playlist: September 10, 2022

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Lightnin' Hopkins, Song for Queen Elizabeth
The Beatles, Her Majesty
The Lucky Losers, High Two Pairs
     from the forthcoming album Standin' Pat
     Sat 9/17 @ The Sound Room
Nancy Wright, Bernie Blues (live)
     Wed 9/14 @ Empress Lounge
     Fri 9/16 @ Creek Park
Bill Frisell, Come Together
     Sun 9/11 @ Freight & Salvage
Robben Ford, Sentimental Mode
     Fri 9/16 @ Palace of Fine Arts
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, It Come 'Round 'Gin
     Tue 9/13 @ Frost Amphitheater
Fabulous Thunderbirds, Strong Like That
     Sun 9/11 @ Rancho Nicasio
     Mon 9/12 @ Yoshi's
Charlie Musselwhite, My Road Lies in Darkness
     Fri 9/16 @ Center for the Arts
     Sat 9/17 @ Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center
The Sam Chase, Dark Times
     Fri 9/16 @ The Lost Church
Deep Basement Shakers, Black Gal
     Wed 9/14 @ Franklin Square

Buddy Guy, We Go Back (feat. Mavis Staples)
     from the forthcoming album The Blues Don't Lie
John Primer, Hard Times
     from the forhcoming album Hard Times
John Németh, The Last Time
     from the forthcoming album May Be the Last Time
California Honeydrops, Nothing At All
     from the forthcoming album Soft Spot
Mavis Staples, You Got to Serve Somebody
Bonnie Raitt, Waitin' For You to Blow
     Sat 9/17 @ Oxbow River Stage
Maria Muldaur, Bank Failure Blues
Roy Brown, Losing Hand/Tin Pan Alley
Corey Weinstein, Gypsy Second Line Kolomeika
Clem Snide, Jews for Jesus Blues

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Playlist: September 3, 2022

Leyla McCalla, Nan Fon Bwa
     Thu-Sun 9/08-11 @ SFJazz Center
Fantastic Negrito, Venomous Dogma
     from the new album White Jesus, Black Problems
California Honeydrops, I Miss You Baby pt.1
     from the forthcoming album Soft Spot
     Fri 9/09 @ Charles Krug Winery
     Sat 9/10 @ SLO Gathering
The Caliopians, Crushes
Macy Blackman & the Mighty Fines, In a Mellow Tone
     Fri 9/09 @ The Sound Room
Jules Leyhe, Taco Truck
     Fri 9/09 @ Neck of the Woods
Tab Benoit, Bayou Boogie (live)
     Sun 9/04 @ Great American Music Hall
     Mon 9/05 @ Felton Music Hall
     Tue 9/06 @ Sofia Tsakapolous Center for the Arts
George Thorogood, Ride On Josephine (live)
     Fri 9/09 @ Shoreline Amphitheater
Quinn DeVeaux, Good Times Roll
Memphis Slim, Pigalle Love (live)

Bob Dylan, Workingman's Blues #2
Tom Waits, I Can't Wait to Get Off Work (And See My Baby on Montgomery Avenue)
Valerie June, Workin' Woman Blues
The Isley Brothers, Work To Do
Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Working Man
Fruitland Jackson, Blues 2.0
Cowboy Junkies, Working On A Building
Watermelon Slim & The Workers, Hard Labor
Elvin Bishop, Don't Let the Bossman Get You Down
Jimmy Reed, Big Boss Man
B.B. King, Paying the Cost to Be the Boss
Thelonious Monk, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Thelonious Monk, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Charlie Byrd, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Nice Work If You Can Get It

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Playlist: August 20, 2022

Booker T & The MGs, Green Onions
Booker T, Austin City Blues (feat. Gary Clark, Jr.)
     Thu 8/25 @ Kuumbwa Jazz Center
     Fri-Sat 8/26-27 @ Freight & Salvage

Special guest: Cathy Lemons

     Wed 8/24 @ The Empress Lounge (The Lucky Losers)

The Lucky Losers, Pack Up the Bags
The Lucky Losers, Try New Orleans
The Lucky Losers, A Winning Hand
The Lucky Losers, They Wrecked My Town
HowellDevine, Smoke
Johnny Nitro & The Doorlsammers, One More Nite
The Lucky Losers, Standin' Pat
     from the forthcoming album Standin' Pat

The California Honeydrops, Takin' My Time
     from the forthcoming album Soft Spot
The Stone Foxes, Man's Red Fire
     from the forthcoming album On the Other Side
Jazz Mafia, Hotel California
     from the forthcoming EP New Directions in Brass
Junk Parlor, Howl Like Coyote
     Sun 8/21 @ Cotati Accordion Festival
     Thu 8/25 @ Club Deluxe
Goodnight Texas, Don't Let 'Em Get You
Fruition, Fire (live)
     Wed 8/24 @ Harlow's
     Fri 8/26 @ The Independent
Tommy Castro & The Painkillers, Make It Back to Memphis (live)
Deanna Bogart, Bye Bye Blackbird
     Sun 8/28 @ Rancho Nicasio
Isaac Hayes, I Just Want to Make Love to You/Rock Me Baby/Stormy Monday (live)

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Playlist: August 13, 2022

Click to listen

Loretta Gooden, Summertime
     Wed 8/17 @ Club Deluxe
The Cottontails, Polkadots
     Sun 8/14 @ Club Deluxe
Marty O'Reilly & The Old Soul Orchestra, Jonestown
Whiskerman, Running Out of Money (in America)
     Sat 8/20 @ The New Parish
Pascal Bokar, Road Blues
The Gold Souls, Downtown Sound
Diggin' Dirt, Satisfaction
     Sat 8/20 @ Hopmonk Tavern
The Amazing Dr. Zarcon's Breathing Machine, She Caught the Katy
     Sat 8/20 @ California Jug Band Festival
Mark Hummel, Five Long Years
     Sat 8/20 @ The Back Room
Paul Thorn, Holy Hottie Toddy
     Fri 8/19 @ Rio Theatre
     Sat 8/20 @ Rancho Nicasio
Mighty Mike Schermer, It's Not You It's Me
     Fri 8/19 @ Rancho Nicasio

Jimmy McCracklin, The Walk
Jimmy McCracklin, Savoy Jump
Jimmy McCracklin, Miss Mattie Left Me
Jimmy McCracklin, Just Got to Know
Jimmy McCracklin, You're the One
Jimmy McCracklin, I'm the One
Otis Redding & Carla Thomas, Tramp
L.C. 'Good Rockin' Robinson, Jack Rabbit Boogie
Lafayette 'Thing' Thomas, I Had a Dream
Dave Alexander, Highway 59
Oscar Peterson Trio, Blues of the Prairies
Oscar Peterson, Greasy Blues (For Count Basie)
The Lucky Losers, Godless Land

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Playlist: August 6, 2022

The Lucky Losers, Change in the Weather
     Sun 8/07 @ Club Deluxe
Americano Social Club, Let's Dance
     Sat 8/06 @ Club Deluxe

Special in-studio guest: Ira Strolovitch

Meshugga Beach Party, Siman Tov
Meshugga Beach Party, Hatikvah
Meshugga Beach Party, Yism'chu Hashamayim
Nathan Evans, Wellerman
Peter Bjorn and John, Young Folks
The Minions, Y.M.C.A.
Orchestra Manadolinistica Italiana, Carrollezza Romana
Katy Perry, Roar
"Weird Al" Yankovic, Captain Underpants Theme Song
Starship, We Built This City
Queen, Radio Ga Ga
Billy Joel, Piano Man

Bob Dylan, Señor (Tales of Yankee Power)
Taj Mahal, Señor Blues
Monophonics, Check In/Sage Motel
     Sun 8/07 @ Stern Grove Festival

San Jose Jazz Summerfest: August 12-14

Lee Fields & The Expressions, It Rains Love
Diunna Greenleaf, Sunny Day Friends
Dr. Lonnie Smith, Too Damn Hot (live)
7th Street Big Band, One Man's Trash
Memphissippi Sounds, Saturday Morning
     Sat 8/13 @ Club Deluxe

Jimmy Witherspoon, Evenin'

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Playlist: July 30, 2022

Buddy Guy, Hello San Francisco
Taj Mahal, My Baby Done Changed the Lock on the Door
     Sat 8/06 @ Center for the Arts
     Sun 8/07 @ Stern Grove Festival
Trombone Shorty, Come Back
     Thu 8/04 @ Golden State Theatre
     Fri 8/05 @ Center for the Arts
Lee Fields & The Expressions, Out to Get You
     Fri 8/05 @ Felton Music Hall
     Sat 8/06 @ Silver Oak Winery
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby
     Fri 8/05 @ Luther Burbank Center for the Arts
     Sat 8/06 @ The Mountain Winery
Rainbow Girls, A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall
Marty O'Reilly & The Old Soul Orchestra, Samson and Delilah (live)
Dirty Cello, Last Time Blues
Levi Lloyd & Friends, Red House/Sweet Little Angel (live)
     Sat 8/06 @ Petaluma Music Festival
Janiva Magness, Oh Pearl
     Tue 8/02 @ Yoshi's

Buddy Guy, First Time I Met the Blues
Buddy Guy, I Cry and Sing the Blues
Muddy Waters, Good Morning Little School Girl
Buddy Guy, She Suits Me to a Tee
Buddy Guy, Red House
Buddy Guy & Junior Wells, Messin' With the Kid
Buddy Guy, Damn Right I've Got the Blues
Buddy Guy, I Put a Spell On You
Buddy Guy, The Price You Gotta Pay

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Hallelujah for American Pie

I kicked off this past week’s program with a pair of songs that are the ostensible subjects of two new documentaries I’d seen earlier in the week. The first, The Day the Music Died: The Story of Don McLean’s American Pie, is about the hit title track from McLean’s 1971 album; the other, Halelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song, explores the very much non-hit from Cohen’s 1984 album Various Positions. Neither film is the first to take the story of a single song as inspiration for what is otherwise a biopic; the one that leaps most quickly to mind for me is 1988’s Imagine: John Lennon, which used footage from the recording sessions for that song as a framing device for the first feature film about a former Beatle. But I’m a sucker for rock ‘n roll documentaries, so with affection for both “American Pie” and “Hallelujah” (and a further connection to Leonard Cohen as a native Montrealer) I got to watching them.

It occurred to me that the two films could in some ways be seen as funhouse mirror images of each other. For starters, The Day the Music Died is streaming for home viewing on Paramount+, while Hallelujah is currently out only in limited theatrical release (I saw it at the Roxie in San Francisco). The former is built around recent interviews with Don McLean (presumably for the film itself), while Hallelujah features only archival encounters with its subject—though Cohen did give the project his formal blessing in 2014 and provided the filmmakers with access to his notebooks and more (he died in 2016).

The song-subjects themselves are also epics in curiously divergent ways. McLean says he wanted to write a “big song about America,” and so took a nationally and personally traumatic event—the 1959 plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the J.B. “The Big Bopper” Richardson—and looked outward at the American journey that ensued. “Hallelujah,” on the other hand, largely describes an inward-looking spiritual quest. Cohen famously said that he worked on the song for years and had written and discarded dozens of verses (many of which are shown in the film), while McLean explains how the bulk of “American Pie,” after he’d settled on the opening verse and chorus, came to him in a relatively concise burst of composition.

Even the recordings themselves proved to be different kinds of pivot-points for their singers. The sessions for “American Pie” comprised the bulk of the work for that album and did not truly come together to everyone’s satisfaction until producer Ed Freeman brought in Paul Griffin to play piano. As noted by producer John Lissauer, Leonard Cohen had been composing many of the songs for Various Positions on a tiny Casio keyboard, and the contemporary synth-y sound of the album very much broke from Cohen’s previous work (notwithstanding his Phil Spector-produced album of 1977, Death of a Ladies’ Man). The album turned out to be so divergent—and disappointing—to Cohen’s record label that they actually refused to release it in the United States, thereby relegating its centerpiece song to initial obscurity and its author, at least temporarily, to the musical wilderness. American Pie, on the other hand, shot to #1 and secured Don McLean a place in the modern American songbook.

Of course the afterlives of both “Hallelujah” and “American Pie” are less different from each other, and both films spend a good deal of time chronicling the huge impact each song had on other musicians and the culture at large. I got a particular kick out of the segment immediately following the dramatic high (or low?) point of Hallelujah—that is, the failure to launch of Various Positions—which features a mid-1980s Bob Dylan describing how the best music being made at the time was unlikely to be heard on the radio. Dylan and Cohen famously hung out in Paris during Dylan’s 1984 tour of Europe and engaged in what Cohen, in a contemporary interview in the film, calls “shop-talk.” Dylan was impressed enough by one of Cohen’s songs that four years later, when Dylan performed in Cohen’s hometown of Montreal, he played “Hallelujah” (and again later that year in Los Angeles, where Cohen was living). This was three years before John Cale’s cover that appeared on the Cohen tribute album I’m Your Fan, itself the template for Jeff Buckley’s 1993 recording that set the song on its path into the modern American songbook (with an important stop in Disney’s Shrek along the way).

Listeners to Fog City Blues may be aware that I have, to say the least, a bit of a Bob Dylan obsession. And while it may be harder to find the Dylan in Don McLean’s story—in The Day the Music Died, McLean specifically refutes the interpretation of “the jester” in his lyric as referring to Dylan—there is a connection. When Dylan’s Time Out of Mind won the Grammy for Album of the Year in 1998, in his acceptance speech Dylan noted how when he was 16 or 17 he’d seen Buddy Holly perform at the Duluth National Guard Armory: "I was three feet away from him and he looked at me. And I just have some kind of feeling that he was … with us all the time when we were making this record.” That Duluth show took place just days before the music died after the fateful final concert in Clear Lake, Iowa. For what it’s worth there’s an even more direct musical connection: the same Paul Griffin whose gospel-infused piano pushed the recording of “American Pie” over the finish line also played piano on Dylan’s first two albums with backing musicians, 1965’s Bringing It All Back Home and Highway 61 Revisited, which of course includes Dylan’s own meisterwerk, “Like A Rolling Stone.”

For better or for worse, the bit that tickled me most in either movie was seeing a couple of shots of the choir loft in the Montreal synagogue that Leonard Cohen’s family belonged to and where I actually sang as a baritone for three years in high school. But that parochial connection aside, both movies were satisfying in their own ways—not least because the music in both is so meaningful and resonant.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Playlist: July 23, 2022

Leonard Cohen, Hallelujah
     from the new film Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song
Don McLean, American Pie
     from the new film The Day the Music Died: American Pie
Jazz Mafia, Love Riot
     from the new album Suite San Francisco
Quinn DeVeaux & The California Honeydrops, Very Best Thing
Quinn DeVeaux & The California Honeydrops, Take You Back
     Sat 7/30 @ Club Deluxe
Junk Parlor, Crocodiles
     Thu 7/28 @ Club Deluxe
Lucky Losers, The Ragged Heart
     Sat 7/30 @ The Saloon
Janiva Magness, Strong as Steel
     Thu 7/28 @ Wine Country Radio
George Cole Quintet, Sentimental Friend
     Fri 7/29 @ The Back Room
     Sat 7/30 @ Top of the Mark
Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Stardust
     Fri 7/29 @ Shoreline Amphitheater

Elvin Bishop & Charlie Musselwhite, Birds of a Feather
Charlie Musselwhite, When the Frisco Left the Shed
     Sat 7/30 @ SFJazz Center
Terrie Odabi, When You Love Me
     Sat 7/30 @ SFJazz Center
Tommy Castro & The Painkillers, She Wanted to Give It to Me (live)
Joe Louis Walker, Uptown Girl Blues
     Thu 7/28 @ SFJazz Center
Ruthie Foster, Mack the Knife (live)
     Sun 7/31 @ SFJazz Center
Pamela Rose, You Was Right Baby
Mimi Fox, Get Away Blues
     Sun 7/31 @ SFJazz Center
C.J. Chenier, Baby Please Don't Go
Marcia Ball, Watermelon Time (live)
     Fri 7/29 @ SFJazz Center
Aki Kumar, Watermelon Man
     Thu 7/28 @ SFJazz Center

Blue Rodeo, Andrea

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Playlist: July 16, 2022

Con Brio, Heart on the Dance Floor
PC Muñoz, Dance With You (feat. Amelie Anna & Miguel Muñoz)
Martha Redbone Roots Project, The Garden of Love
     Tue 7/19 @ Freight & Salvage
Circus Bella All-Star Band, Slackrope
     Sun 7/17 @ Point San Pablo Yacht Harbor
     Sat 7/23 @ The East Cut
Rob Reich, Elevator Up!
     Wed-Sat 7/20-23 @ Zuni Cafe
Lee Rocker, A Dirty Martini
     Sun 7/17 @ Yosemite Jaz Train
     Fri 7/22 @ Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center
Alabama Mike, Upset the Status Quo
     Fri 7/22 @ Club Deluxe
Noah & the Arkiteks, Soul Fire
     Fri 7/22 @ The Ritz
T Sisters, These Goodbyes
     Sun 7/17 @ Redwood Ramble
     Fri 7/22 @ SOMO Concerts
California Honeydrops, Grazin' (live)
     Fri-Sat 7/22-23 @ Felton Music Hall
Delta Wires, Monkey Man (live)
     Sat 7/23 @ Wise Girl

 Saturday 7/23: Oakland Art+Soul Festival

Alphabet Rockers, The Word Is Love
Bay Area Caravan of Allstars, Down Hearted
Kev Choice, Movements (feat. AïMA the DRMR)
Jonah Melvon, Expiration Date
The Dynamic Miss Faye Carol, We Remember Greatness

George Lewis, I'll Be Glad That You're Dead You Rascal You (live)
William Bell, You Don't Miss Your Water
Desmond Dekker, 007 (Shanty Town)
Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Heart Attack and Vine
Steve Freund, Turtle Blues

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Playlist: July 9, 2022

John Brothers Piano Company, Spin Echo
     Sat 7/16 @ The Great Northern
Ira Wolf, Love Song for the Apocalypse
     Thu 7/14 @ Bottom of the Hill
The Caliopians, Spaghetti
      Sat 7/16 @ Joe's Bar
Silent Partners, Ain't No Right Way to Do Wrong
     from the new album Changing Times
John Németh, May Be the Last Time
     from the forthcoming album May Be the Last Time
Maria Muldaur, I'm Vaccinated & I'm Ready for Love
     Tue 7/12 @ Todos Santos Plaza
Shemekia Copeland, Too Far To Be Gone
     Wed 7/13 @ Stanford Jazz Workshop
Paula West, Like A Rolling Stone (live)
     Thu-Sat 7/14-16 @ Feinstein's at the Nikko
Old Crow Medicine Show, Wagon Wheel
     Tue 7/12 @ Luther Burbank Center for the Arts
     Wed 7/13 @ The Mountain Winery
HowellDevine, Long Distance Call
     Sat 7/16 @ Club Deluxe
Bluesadelix, Come Out to Play
     Sun 7/10 @ Brick & Mortar Music Hall

5¢ Coffee, On the Regrettable Turning of Lost Boys Into Men
Three Drink Circus, Gin
     Fri 7/15 @ Hotel Utah Saloon: Songs of Booze, Brothels, and Breakfast
Thee Hobo Gobbelins, Rapier and the Wave
Junk Parlor, Vultures and Weasels
Beso Negro, Self Control
Barrio Manouche, La Foule
     Sat 7/16 @ Peri's Tavern
Little Charlie & Organ Grinder Swing, Nuages
Mavis Staples, Wade in the Water (live)
Ringo Starr, Rock Around the Clock
The Beatles, I Wanna Be Your Man (live)
Ringo Starr, Pop Profile