Music Journalism 2013

A sampling of David’s 2013 published previews, interviews and reviews:

STEVE EARLE PREVIEW

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Versatile Steve Earle performs at the Uptown Saturday. “Steve Earle is a busy man. An accomplished singer/songwriter with three Grammys, he is also an actor, a poet, a playwright, a novelist, and a political activist…”

 

 

MARTIN TAYLOR PREVIEW

Martin Taylor

 

 

Taylor headlines at International Guitar Night at Opera House. “The mega-star of this year’s International Guitar Night tour is Martin Taylor, one of the most celebrated jazz guitar players in the world…”

 

 

 

 

DENGUE FEVER PREVIEW

Dengue Fever

Photo by Lauren Dukoff

Dengue Fever at The Independent, S.F. “Founded by the brothers Holtzman – Zac on guitar and Ethan on keyboards – and fronted by Cambodian lead singer Chhom Nimol, this L.A. sextet fuses “Khmer pop” and indie rock with a broad palette of world music rhythms and instrumental voices…”

 

SHAWN COLVIN PREVIEW / INTERVIEW

Photo by Michael Wilson

 

Colvin: A Folk Troubadour Comes to Napa. “In the closing chapter of her 2012 memoir, “Diamond in the Rough,” singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin writes, ‘Music heals me, answers my questions, soothes my agony, fires my ambition, creates and intensifies my joy. I was born loving music and, I believe, born to be a conduit for it.’…”

 

THE WRECKING CREW – DOCUMENTARY FILM PREVIEW

The Wrecking Crew in studio for Phil Spector

The Wrecking Crew in studio for Phil Spector

Documentary explores The Wrecking Crew – the music behind the hits. “If you grew up on early rock ‘n roll — Elvis, Chuck Berry, Roy Orbison,  — you might have thought that the artists of that era each went into the recording studio with a band of their own. In actuality, those studios were staffed with teams of superb house musicians, largely unknown to the public…”

 

ALTAN PREVIEW / INTERVIEW

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Altan: traditional Irish music at the Opera House. “There is a small community in the barren northwest reaches of County Donegal, Ireland that grows musical stars — Enya, Clannad, Moya Brennan, and Friday night’s headliners at the Napa Valley Opera House, the traditional Irish band Altan. Taken together, these folks from rural Gweedore Parish, population 15,000, have sold more than 80 million record albums…”

 

PAUL REISER PREVIEW / INTERVIEW

Paul Reiser Reiser standing up for laughs at the Opera House. “Paul Reiser has come full circle — from a 20-something doing stand-up in comedy clubs to a successful and multi-talented star returning to live comedy audiences 30 years later. In the decades between, his acting career was highlighted by his breakthrough role as Modell in Barry Levinson’s “Diner,” and his huge success as creator and co-star of the sitcom “Mad About You,” which ran for seven years on NBC…”

 

ARLO GUTHRIE PREVIEW / INTERVIEW

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Folk singer Arlo Guthrie celebrates his dad’s 100th birthday. “Arlo Guthrie is a talker. Anyone who’s seen him in performance knows that. On the phone from New Mexico a few weeks ago, he talked (and talked and talked) about the life and work of his late father, Woody Guthrie. Arlo is currently on his “Here Comes the Kid” tour, a solo acoustic celebration of Woody’s 100th birthday…”

 

 

 

 

COWBOY JUNKIES PREVIEW

Cowboy JunkiesAlt- folk rockers Cowboy Junkies return to the Opera House. “Cowboy Junkies have always done things a little bit differently. For example, their fans get to choose the songs they want to hear. This is not done the usual way, by shouting out requests, but rather by emailing in advance…”

 

BOTTLEROCK VETERANS / RICHARD THOMPSON INTERVIEW

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The veteran rockers of BottleRock. When BottleRock Napa Valley co-founders Bob Vogt and Gabe Meyers chose the line-up for this week’s music festival, they didn’t conduct a market survey or attempt to balance genres or speculate on audience demographics. “We basically just picked the bands we liked,” Vogt said. “We just kind of asked, ‘Well, who do we want to hear?’ We wanted to have the full range of the music we love…”

 

 

 

 

BOTTLEROCK DIARY, DAY ONE

macklemore serape

 

BottleRock Diary, Day One – Stepping into BottleRock on day one, an hour or so before the main gate opens to the waiting crowd, it feels a bit like an enormous emerging circus. There are midways and tents, scaffolding and trailers, hundreds of workers-builders, movers, security people in bright yellow smocks, managers of one kind or another donning bright blue polos and headsets…

 

Ben Haggerty (Macklemore)

 

 

BOTTLEROCK DIARY, DAY TWO

RICHARD THOMPSON PRESSER

 

BottleRock Diary, Day Two – “I know it’s impossible, I’m thinking.” But walking into BottleRock on day two, there’s a band playing that sure sounds like the Grateful Dead, especially the voice of the lead guitar — countrified, improvisational, noodling Jerry-like. The band is Moonalice, the guitarist Barry Sless. They’re on the monstrous WillPower Stage, which is now in full operation along with everything else at the festival. Day one was great, but preamble

Richard Thompson Press Conference

 

 

BOTTLEROCK DIARY, DAY THREE

Brittany Howard

 

BottleRock Diary, Day Three – BottleRock Napa Valley goes beyond simply crowded on Day 3. The attendance estimate doesn’t really convey how it looks and feels, but for the sake of completeness, festival officials are saying 30,000. Looking back at the crowd from the photo pit just before The Shins take the big WillPower Stage, “sea of souls” comes to mind…

 

Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes

 

BOTTLEROCK DIARY, DAY FOUR

BottleRock Diary, Day Four – It’s mid–afternoon on BottleRock day four and I’m lucky enough to be sitting about 10 feet from the Carolina Chocolate Drops. The traditional string band is patiently taking questions in the festival’s press room…

 

Jackson Browne

 Jackson Browne

 

BOTTLEROCK DIARY, DAY FIVE

BottleRock Diary, Day Five – It’s a few minutes before 10 and I’m walking north on Juarez toward First Street. Behind me, the Zac Brown Band is playing what might be the last song of BottleRock. The amazing sound system at the WillPower Stage drives it through the crowd, out the exit, and down the street with little loss of fidelity…

Big Stage at BR

The WillPower Stage at BottleRock 2013

 

JERRY DOUGLAS PREVIEW / INTERVIEW

Jerry Douglas

 

Jerry Douglas: Dobro virtuoso makes his Napa debut. “Jerry Douglas is widely regarded as the best Dobro guitar player in the world. His instrument, an acoustic guitar with a metal resonator embedded on its front, was invented in the 1920s and popularized in the 1950s and ’60s by Josh Graves, who played bluegrass with Flatt and Scruggs, and was Douglas’s inspiration…”

 

 

 

GREG BROWN PREVIEW / INTERVIEW

Greg Brown

 

Folk poet Greg Brown returns to the Opera House. “When Greg Brown last appeared in Napa in 2011, he performed with his long-time sidekick, guitarist Bo Ramsey. This time around, Brown will be on his own. On the phone this week from his home in Iowa City, Brown talked about the character of his solo performances. ‘The show’s going be a little more intimate,’ he said. ‘I’ll probably tell a few more stories. Subconsciously, when I’m on the stage with Bo, I tend to kind of keep it rolling so that he doesn’t just have to sit there if I jabber for a long time…'”

 

 

 

JOAN BAEZ PREVIEW / INTERVIEW

joanbaezJoan Baez talks about Bay Area homeless program, upcoming benefit concert. “Folk music legend Joan Baez has been a social and political activist since the 1960’s. Over the past several years she has turned her attention to homelessness in the San Francisco Bay Area. She and her close friend Jeanne Triolo Murphy, a former Executive Director of Humanitas, conceived of and nurtured a program for members of the homeless community that has evolved into the innovative present-day Downtown Streets Team. Baez, Jackson Browne, and Emmylou Harris will perform together at the San Jose Civic Auditorium on July 27th…”

 

MARY CHAPIN CARPENTER – MARC COHN PREVIEW / INTERVIEW

carpentercohnhighrezSide-by-side: Two singer/songwriters at the Uptown. “1991 was a breakout year for both Mary Chapin Carpenter and Marc Cohn. Carpenter released the song that would win her the first of four consecutive Grammys for Best Female Country Vocal Performance, “Down at the Twist and Shout.” Cohn, on the strength of his Top 10 hit single “Walking in Memphis,” and his platinum self-titled debut album, won the Grammy for Best New Artist…”

 

THE GOAT RODEO SESSIONS PREVIEW / INTERVIEW

goat rodeo seatedThe Goat Rodeo Sessions – Bluegrass meets classical. “When an instrumental ensemble showcases four celebrated musical geniuses, one of whom is an international über-star, it can call itself anything it pleases – even something as whimsical as the Goat Rodeo Sessions…”

 

THE GOAT RODEO SESSIONS REVIEW

GOAT RODEO AT WEILL HALLedit

The Goat Rodeo Sessions captivate at the Green Music Center. “Yo-Yo Ma rang me up a few weeks ago. (I’ve always wanted to write a sentence like that.) We talked about The Goat Rodeo Sessions, his Grammy-winning classical-bluegrass fusion ensemble with double bassist Edgar Meyer, violinist Stuart Duncan, and mandolinist Chris Thile…”

 

TIM McGRAW BENEFIT CONCERT REVIEW

Photos: Rafael Motta
www.rafaelmotta.com.br

Tim McGraw rocks Napa Valley for the Staglins.  “Tim McGraw typically performs before tens of thousands of adoring fans. On Sunday afternoon at the Staglin Family Vineyard in Rutherford, a fortunate 450 experienced at close range the talent and charisma of the 46-year-old country superstar. His donated performance capped the 19th annual Music Festival for Mental Health, which raised $2.8 million in two days for research into cures for brain disorders…”

 

ROYAL ALBERT HALL TRAVEL FEATURE

RAH exterior from the south - Credit- Marcus Ginns

 

London’s Royal Albert Hall beguiles visitors, performers. “My guess is that most people of my generation, the non-Brits anyway, first became aware of London’s Royal Albert Hall from John Lennon’s enigmatic closing verse of the iconic 1967 Beatles album ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’…”

 

 

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