Friday, March 6, 2009

Happenings From the World of Music

Unfortunately, much of this entry deals with several deaths that have occurred over the past year. But, it's best good musicians not be forgotten.

Blues singer and guitarist John Cephas passed away this past Wednesday (March 4th). Cephas was one of the last purveyors of the accoustic piedmont blues. There is not a lot I can write about John Cephas that was not covered in these tributes written to Cephas in The Washington Post by Terrence McArdle, J.Freedom DuLac and Richard Harrington. I always did wish Cephas and his musical partner, harmoinca player Phil Wiggins, would have teamed up to record with Doc Watson, but I guess it won't happen now. Rest in peace John Cephas.

New Orleans music legend Snooks Eaglin died on Feb, 18th. I was lucky enough to see Snooks a few times while in New Orleans for JazzFest in the 1990s. The man always seemed to put on a good show. A lot of people would characterize Eaglin's music as the blues. But, that's not accurate. His style was just good music. He played all genres with equal skill and enthusiam and truly was one of a kind. This link is for Snooks' AP obituary, while this one details Snooks' funeral which was held at the Howlin' Wolf music club in New Orleans. Here's Snooks cooking up some red beans....

Grand Ole Opry member Ernie Ashworth died March 2nd. I realize Ashworth was far from a household name, but he was symbolic of another, very different time in country music. Ashworth's one monster hit in the early 60s, "Talk Back Trembling Lips", came at a time when a country artist could sustain a career and would not be forgotten after he/she was dropped by a record label or had a poor selling record or two. More on Ashworth's career can found in this Country Standard Time piece.

Country Standard Time also reports the master tapes of a 1990 Johnny Cash concert are up for sale on Ebay. The starting bid is $4,999.

Dave Alvin is releasing a new CD in May. The twist on this story is that he is not being supported by his normal band, the Guilty Men. Instead, Alvin brought together an all female band and named them the Guilty Women. Alvin told Country Standard Time he thought it was too soon after the death of Chris Gaffney to record again with the Guilty Men. Gaffney, who was Alvin's best friend and a member of the Guilty Men, died in the spring of last year.

Also being released in May, is Man of Someboday's Dreams - A Tribute to Chris Gaffney. Alvin and many other artists, including Joe Ely, Robbie Fulks and Alejandro Escovdo, participated in the project which will benefit the Washington, D.C. based charity Hungry For Music.

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