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Archive for August, 2009

Clarence Bekker; photo courtesy of Playing for Change

Clarence Bekker; photo courtesy of Playing for Change

After a series of shows that generated rave reviews in Los Angeles, New Orleans and the U.K., it was announced today that Playing For Change will launch a national concert tour. Kicking off Oct. 20th at The Birchmere in Washington, DC, the fall tour will bring the Playing For Change movement to over 20 cities nationwide including Town Hall in New York on Oct. 25.  The Playing For Change band features musicians from around the globe, many of whom appeared in the now ubiquitous “Stand By Me” video (which has been viewed on the internet more than 30 million times) including New Orleans based blues singer Grandpa Elliott and soul singer Clarence Bekker from Amsterdam.

Momentum has continued to build for the project as founder Mark Johnson and the musicians of Playing For Change were just named “Persons of the Week” on ABC’s “World News Tonight with Charlie Gibson.”  This honor fell on the heels of Johnson’s return from a triumphant keynote speaking appearance at the internationally renowned TED (Technology, Education & Design) Conference in Oxford, England. Playing For Change has been profiled many times nationally including NPR’s Morning Edition, CBS News Sunday Morning and PBS’ Bill Moyers Journal just to name a few. Meanwhile, the Playing For Change band recently performed a thunderous set headlining the world stage at England’s Glastonbury Festival, played before a rapturous audience at Tipitina’s, New Orleans’ landmark concert hall and returned to the place where the movement began, kicking off the Santa Monica Pier’s summer-long 100th anniversary celebration with an amazing hometown show on July 3rd.  In addition, the PFC Band has performed on NBC’s The Tonight Show twice within the last 4 months with more television appearances scheduled soon.

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Vic & Reba Heyman with Tom Prasada-Rao; photo by Neale Eckstein

Vic & Reba Heyman with Tom Prasada-Rao; photo by Neale Eckstein

The Heyman Celebration on Sunday, Oct. 11, at the historic Olney Theatre in Olney, Maryland, will be an uplifting musical tribute to the late Vic Heyman and his wife, Reba Heyman. The mini-folk festival, which runs from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., will benefit the Heyman Folk Scholarship Fund, to give emerging artists the opportunity to play at festivals or to subsidize recording of CDs, and Parkinson’s disease research.

Dr. Vic Heyman, who passed away on Jan. 6, 2009, of Parkinson’s, was a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense in the 1960s who later started a direct-mail company in Rockville, Md., and became a noted figure in Washington area folk music circles as a concert presenter. He and Reba were known as the guardian angels of countless folk performers nationwide. Their generosity ranged from financial backing of folk music venues (including Vic’s Music Corner in Rockville) and festivals from Maryland to Texas, to helping out down-on-their luck musicians, to thousands of acts of random kindness.

With this musical celebration, nationally touring musicians pay homage to their lasting legacy. Some of the many singers to perform will include Patty Larkin, SONiA of disappear fear, Vance Gilbert, Amy Speace, Tom Prasada-Rao and Cary Cooper, Cosy Sheridan and Terry Gonda. Hosting will be Mary Cliff, of the Traditions folk music radio show on WAMU. Tickets for the show range from $25 to $125. For more information, log onto www.heymancelebration.org or call Sherry Panzer at 301-580-9401.

Submitted by The Heyman Celebration

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Gospel Legend Marie Knight 1925-2009

With heavy hearts M.C. Records announces the death of gospel legend Marie Knight. She died in New York City on August 30 due to complications from pneumonia. Marie first came to prominence in 1946 when she met and started working with Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Together they would be one of the most popular gospel artists of the 1940’s and make music history through a string of gospel hits including “Didn’t It Rain,” “Up Above My Head,” and the gorgeous “Beams of Heaven.” Marie Knight and Sister Rosetta Tharpe would tour frequently together through the 1950’s. In the 1960’s Marie had several R&B hits, but in 1970’s Marie rededicated herself to gospel music and became a minister at the Gates of Prayer Church in New York City.

Marie Knight’s recent comeback began in 2002 when producer and M.C. Records owner Mark Carpentieri invited Marie to record on Shout Sister Shout Sister, A Tribute To Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Mark recalls the phone call. “Gayle Wald who was writing the liner notes for the project asked me if I had contacted Marie Knight about participating in the project. I didn’t know she was still alive! I called Marie and she sounded so vibrant that I arranged studio time and we’ve been working together ever since.”

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The 2009 Kerrville Wine & Music Festival is coming up Labor Day weekend, September 4 – 6. This annual celebration of performing songwriters and Texas wines will be held at Quiet Valley Ranch, 9 miles south of the Texas Hill Country resort community of Kerrville on Texas Hwy 16. 

Not a typical “wine tasting” event, this 3-day festival will feature 6-hour evening concerts and 2-hour afternoon concerts with over two-dozen singer-songwriters. 2-hour wine seminars are held on Saturday and Sunday.

We are excited about this year’s musical line-up and feel that it covers just about everyone’s musical tastes. We’ve got some alt-country with Austin’s Stonehoney, Tex-Mex R&R with San Antonio’s Los Texmaniacs, Americana harmonies with Austin’s Ginn Sisters and funk-jam music from Eclectica. We are also thrilled about the return of some of our Kerrville favorites like Don Conoscenti, Thad Beckman, Karen Abrahams, Michael McNevin and Bob Livingston. (more…)

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It was more than 40 years ago that Bruce Springsteen began working as a professional musician and performer, but for over a decade prior to that he was developing his skills largely by listening, listening and listening again. He was listening to the records that not only infused his entire mind and body, but equally provided the guidance, inspiration and encouragement to achieve the extraordinary skills he has been honing to perfection in song-writing, musicianship and, some would say most crucially, performance ever since.

On October 20th, MVD Visual will release Bruce Springsteen: DVD Jukebox. This 150 minute film traces the artistic root of Bruce Springsteen in a manner no documentary has ever attempted before, and in so doing shows the incredible influence the likes of Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Woody Guthrie, Johnny Cash, Mitch Ryder, Van Morrison, Phil Spector, Pete Seeger and numerous others have had upon his muse. The film also looks at literary, political and other influences to provide a complete picture of the most potent inspirations Bruce ever stumbled upon. (more…)

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Acclaimed bluegrass quintet Steep Canyon Rangers will launch both a new tour and a new album this fall. In September they will embark on a 15-city tour with Grammy® and Emmy® winning actor, comedian and musician Steve Martin, who released The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo in May. The first date on the tour will be September 12, when Martin performs at the Rangers’ own Mountain Song Festival in Brevard, North Carolina, which has expanded this year to two days (Sept. 11-12).

The Rangers will release their fourth studio album for Rebel Records, Deep in the Shade, on October 6. That day they will perform with Martin at world-renowned Carnegie Hall and on ABC’s The View. (more…)

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Joan Baez made her debut appearance at the Newport Folk Festival in 1959.  Fifty years later, she returned to that same Rhode Island stage on August 2 as she continued her worldwide tour in celebration of her 50 years as a performer and in support of her Grammy-nominated CD, Day After Tomorrow.

In the first comprehensive documentary to chronicle the private life and public career of Joan Baez, American Masters examines her history as a recording artist and performer as well as her remarkable journey as the conscience of a generation in Joan Baez: Sing Me Home, premiering nationally Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 8 p.m. (ET) on PBS (check local listings). The film coincides with the DVD/CD release on October 13th on Razor & Tie. This DVD/CD will feature the film with bonus content and an audio CD of music from the film. The audio CD contains rare live performances and studio recordings that span her career. (more…)

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The twenty-fourth South By Southwest (SXSW) Music and Media Conference and Festival is now open for business. Geared toward music industry professionals from around the world, SXSW is a unique opportunity to make lasting connections within the entertainment industry. A keynote address anchors four days of panels, interviews, workshops, mentor sessions, peer meetings, and the trade show. Daytime events at the Austin Convention Center flow into the world-renowned music festival, which showcases over 1800 acts on stages throughout downtown Austin. Conference registrations, hotel requests, and music festival showcase applications are now being accepted. SXSW Music takes place March 17 – 21, 2010 in Austin, Texas.

Registration for SXSW Music allows you access to all daytime events at the Austin Convention Center, entry into official SXSW day parties, the Trade Show which opens on Wednesday and runs through Friday and priority access into all SXSW nighttime showcases. In addition, registration will allow you to access the 2010 Online Registrants Directory, a great tool to aid in planning your SXSW meetings and networking throughout the year. Click on http://sxsw.com/music to learn more and to register to attend.

SXSW is now accepting showcase applications for music acts to perform at the 2010 music festival. Sonicbids is the exclusive online musical event submission platform of the 2010 SXSW Music Festival. To apply, go to http://www.sxsw.com/music/shows/apply. Unlike in the past, this year there will not be a separate international and domestic deadline. All applications must be submitted no later than November 6, 2009. Application fees are $30 for early submissions, $40 for applications submitted after September 25, 2009.

SXSW Music is sponsored by Miller Lite, Sonicbids and The Austin Chronicle.

Submitted by SXSW Press

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­Over the years, Eagle Rock Entertainment has developed a strong relationship with legendary blues master John Mayall. On September 15, 2009, through their wholly-owned Eagle Records subsidiary, Mayall’s dynamic and masterful new piece of work: Tough will be released.

On this, his self-produced 57th studio album to date, John Mayall once again proves why he is known as “The Godfather of British Blues.”  Tough tackles a number of topics, deeply exploring the struggles in human relationships, the pitfalls of temptation, and the difficulties we face in the world’s current state.
However, through the “toughness,” he also touches upon one more prominent theme: the promise of hope. Current, gritty, and strong, these 11 tracks are words of wisdom told from a voice of strength and experience. (more…)

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Selected from over 500 applicants Mitch Barrett took 1st place in the Telluride Troubadour Competition during a 2 day elimination process.  As part of the Telluride Bluegrass Competition the Telluride Troubadour Competition is a nationally recognized songwriter competition open to anyone who writes and performs original music and who is not currently signed to a major recording or publishing deal. Contestants are judged on the quality of the song’s composition, vocal delivery, and the overall performance. Finalists are awarded cash and prizes, as well as critical acclaim, well-deserved recognition and a chance to perform on the festival main stage. With the winning of the competition Mitch wins a custom made Shanti Guitar, a main stage performance and the national recognition that comes with the title. Mitch is also a Kerrville “New Folk” winner, has won The Folks Festival Songwriting Competition in Lyons, CO out of over 900 applicants and is the only songwriter to date to win Wilkesboro, North Carolina’s Merlefest “Chris Austin Songwriting Competition” twice.

The 36th Telluride Bluegrass (June 18-21) featured David Byrne, Emmylou Harris, and Sam Bush, Elvis Costello and an all-star bluegrass band; Yonder Mountain String Band and Railroad Earth, Bela Fleck and Tim O’Brien. Performers say there is a unique thrill to performing in front of the smartest, most attentive audience in the country. Artists are encouraged to take risks in Telluride, and the audience is regularly rewarded with unique blends of voices sharing the stage for the first time – as a new musical friendship cultivated backstage makes its debut on the Telluride stage.

Submitted by Mitch Barrett BMB Artist Mgt.

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