Chances are you’ll never have heard of Barry Ollman. Not unless, that is, you happen to be a music collector. His father a Midwest correspondent for Billboard from 49-75, Ollman grew up immersed in music, not to mention gathering an impressive collection of autographs. This was the spark of what would see him become perhaps the definitive collector of Woody Guthrie, an obsession that has also encompassed the social movements of the time as well as Guthrie’s contemporaries, musical and otherwise. He’s also on the board of the Guthrie Foundation. Continue reading BARRY OLLMAN – What’ll It Be? (Self Released)
Singer-songwriter Paul Givant grew up on the disparate array of popular musical styles any late 20th century kid did. And in that mishmash of rock, punk, country, pop, rap, and all the rest, it was American Folk and Bluegrass music that rooted deepest, transforming him and his songs. Having played in various rock bands since early high school, in 2004 Paul decided it was time to take his growing batch of old style/new school folk songs, and build them into something greater, more ferocious. The songs were there, volatile, almost flammable, but if they were to attain their potential greatness, he was going to need help.
Through a series of chance meetings and twists of fate Paul hooked up with kindred spirits in Sebastian St. John, Derek O’Brien, Bill Clark, Derek Swenson, and John Kraus and in 2005 they laid the foundations of the band that would soon become Rose’s Pawn Shop. They combined the old style American sounds of Woody Guthrie, Bill Monroe, and Hank Williams, the high energy punk of The Ramones, and The Pogues, and the melodic songwriting sensibilities of Elliott Smith and The Beatles, creating something musically unique.
The final ingredient was added one fateful day when Paul’s scorned ex-girlfriend/former band mate, in an act of revenge, stole the band’s instruments and gear and took them down to the local pawn shop. Priceless. Rose’s Pawn Shop was born…
In spring of 2006 after months of playing live and breaking ground around Los Angeles, the band recorded and released their debut album The Arsonist,which soon won critical praise from numerous print and online publications and they’ve been touring the United States almost non-stop ever since. On any given day you might find Rose’s Pawn Shop playing the Georgia Theatre in Athens, busking the streets of Jackson Square in New Orleans, opening for Jack White and The Raconteurs at the Henry Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles, ripping the walls off the club in their month long residency at the Parkside Lounge in New York City, or hitting the main stage of Floydfest in Virginia. On any given day they’re out there, growing their music, igniting their passion, and converting an ever increasing congregation of loyal fans.
More recently, Rose’s Pawn Shop entered the studio with renowned producer Ethan Allen (Patty Griffin, Counting Crows, Luscious Jackson) to record the second album, Dancing On the Gallows, on which Rose’s Pawn Shop rise to a new level of song craft and sound experimentation, while retaining the same fiery intensity and excitement of their early material.
With wisdom beyond their years, they fearlessly confront traditional country music themes of loss, lamentation, and redemption, while throwing in some drinking-songs for good measure. Sure, they’re borrowing pages from the books of Hank Williams, Bill Monroe, and Johnny Cash, but Rose’s Pawn Shop takes those pages, tears them up and sets them on fire with breakneck speed, bluegrass instrumentation, 3 and 4-part vocal harmonies and lyrics that’ll break your heart.
Whether it’s the dreamy snake-charm-thump of ‘Lone Rider’, the wistful whisky-soaked wisdom of ‘Down The Line’, the honky-tonk ruckus of ‘Funeral Pyre’, or the Gypsy-infused mandolin twang of ‘Reckoning’, Rose’s Pawn Shop will hook you. Like catfish from the creek, they’ll reel you in. And they won’t let you go.
Rose’s Pawn Shop is now: Paul Givant (lead vocals, acoustic guitar, banjo), John Kraus (banjo, electric guitar, vocals) Tim Weed (fiddle, mandolin, vocals) Stephen Andrews (upright bass) and Christian Hogan (drums).
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“Rose’s Pawn Shop makes a statement with their music. Life is hard and we’re gonna sing about it and get over it. Sometimes its upbeat, sometimes its slow and sorrowful. Regardless, they know their roots and that is remarkably bold.” KEXP, Seattle
“You can feel the whole barn rumble on Dancing On The Gallows … with booming bass drum, in your face fiddle,and runaway-train banjo… will, bluegrass fan or not, have the toe of your worn leather boot tapping in no time.” No Depression
INCLUDES 150-PAGE BOOK, 57 TRACKS, 21 PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED PERFORMANCES & 6 NEVER-BEFORE-HEARD ORIGINAL SONGS
In honor of the Woody Guthrie Centennial, a year-long celebration of Woody’s 100th birthday, Smithsonian Folkways presents an in-depth commemorative collection of songs, photos and essays on one of America’s most treasured 20th-century icons.
Djukella is a Balkan word meaning ‘mongrel’ and is usually applied as an insult. It is, however, an appropriate name for a multi-racial band with a musical philosophy that recognises no boundaries. Balkan, incidentally comes from two words meaning ‘blood’ and ‘honey’ so you can see where they are coming from.
The band’s debut album was recorded in eastern Europe, Canada and the UK and gives the impression of being done on a limited budget. That’s not a criticism, more a statement of admiration. Jez plays guitar and harmonica and shows off the latter with an as-live version of Rory Mcleod’s Continue reading JEZ HELLARD and THE DJUKELLA ORCHESTRA – Blood & Honey
I’ll just admit that when I read the track listing for “Americana,” the first CD by Neil Young and Crazy Horse in 9 years, I sighed.
Yes, I wanted to hear new music from Young but gees, do we really need another cover of American folk classics such as “Oh Susanna,” and “This Land is Your Land?” A few bars into the first track on the album, I would have answered with a heartfelt affirmative that only deepened as I heard more of these beautifully re-crafted songs.
Artist – Walter StraussTitle – PLANET SOLITAIRELabel – Redstone Records
“Glorious playing!” Bob Harris BBC Radio 2
“The man is class” fRoots magazine
2011 will see US guitarist and songwriter Walter Strauss releasing PLANET SOLITAIRE, a collection of ambitious solo recordings inspired by a diverse world of influences. There are multilayered instrumentals for the kora, a twenty-one stringed West African harp, rendered fluidly on the guitar, this shown perfectly on the track Djimbaseh. Continue reading Walter Strauss PLANET SOLITAIRE