by Jake Cole
5 Essential Albums
Building a solid Louis Armstrong collection necessitates digging through endless singles collections. Such is the nature of music made before the fifties and even beyond. The lack of truly definitive box sets for Armstrong's material, or at least official or in-print box sets, makes the task all the more difficult. (This, however, is finally being rectified with the upcoming release of a 10-CD monolith titled Satchmo: Louis Armstrong, The Ambassador of Jazz, due out August 8 in Europe and hopefully making its way across the Pond shortly thereafter.) There are a handful of truly solid albums out there that fans should own in addition to the various compilations. These five a affordable packages are musts for those seeking to introduce themselves to Satchmo.
1. Hot Fives & Sevens
Bypass Columbia's shoddily produced (and slightly more expensive) box set for JSP's more-than-affordable four-disc set that not only stands as the document of Armstrong's early years, but the definitive statement of jazz as an emerging art form. With these recordings, Armstrong rapidly evolves jazz from a staccato, folk-inspired group sound to a spotlight for elegant solo improvisation. Armstrong strains on some notes, but that is the price for innovation, and
by Shermika Dunner
Thanks to an offer from Crowd Surf, I was fortunate to see Amos Lee’s April 29 performance at Workplay in Birmingham, Alabama. His music combines blues, folk, soul and more, and the sold-out crowd was overjoyed to hear it after all the devastation from an F5 tornado that recently tore through Southern states, hitting Alabama the hardest.
Some songs Lee performed included, “Colors,” “Careless” and “Truth,” in addition to those from his latest album, "Mission Bell." People were tapping their bare feet after kicking off their shoes, and Lee was well received by the ladies, as they gushed about being so close to the stage and sung along to his tunes. He hails from Philadelphia, but definitely has Southern influences in his speech and music. (He greeted the crowd with a cheerful, “Hey y’all.”)
In July, Lee will go on tour with Lake Charles, Louisiana, native Lucinda Williams, but for now Southerners can see him during tour stops in Roanoke, Richmond, New Orleans, Memphis, Asheville, Myrtle Beach, Gulf Shores, Manchester, and parts of Florida. Visit amoslee.com to find out when he'll be in a city near you.
Crowd Surf is an online music marketing company that focuses on utilizing social
How to survive heat, port a potties, dust and more at the South’s slew of summer music festivals.
By Tara Lynne Groth
Summer in the South is hot, but full of good vibrations. Music festivals are a literal hot spot, and a handful are celebrating big anniversaries this summer. Their longevity is a testament to their ability to retain festival goers, offer better lineups and keep the atmosphere comfortable.
According to North Carolina’s MerleFest, which celebrates its 23rd anniversary this year, “one-fifth of American adults now attend festivals while on vacation, with music festivals being the most popular choice.” With tickets selling out way in advance, it’s becoming a feat to claim a spot at one of the South’s notorious music events—and find a spot in the shade once there. Wildflower! Arts and Music Festival in Richardson, Texas, now offers shade shelters, Tennessee’s Bonnaroo boasts air-conditioned tents (one that screens films), and misting tents are popping up at more festivals like Wakarusa, held in Ozark, Arkansas.
When there’s no shade, make your own. At camping music festivals, you can pitch your tent right next to your car. Bring an extra tarp and rope and create a breezeway between tent and vehicle by tying
by Amanda Burleigh
The Alabama tourism bureau has designated 2011 Alabama’s Year of Music! The state will be celebrating its strong musical heritage all year, as a wide variety of genres and artists have roots in the state. Alabama’s abundant musical history can be discovered in museums like the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, recording studios Muscle Shoals and FAME and childhood homes of some of the biggest music legends America has ever known.
Some such legends who either recorded in Alabama, were born there or have history with the state include Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Etta James, Clarence Carter, Bobbie Gentry, Bob Dylan, Cher, The Osmonds, The Allman Brothers, Bob Seger, Percy Sledge, The Rolling Stones, Dire Straits, Rod Stewart and Little Richard. Quite a who's who in music history!
Specifically for this tourism campaign, Gibson custom-designed a guitar shaped like the state of Alabama, which was unveiled in Birmingham on October 22. Although only recently unveiled to the public, the guitar has already been played by multiple artists including Bob Dylan, Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers and Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi. The guitar was also played on Jay Leno by a member from Jamey Johnson’s band.
if you've enjoyed
by Erin Z. Bass
As I was eating lunch today and listening to the local public radio station, KRVS 88.7, I heard a mention of "Deep South," and my ears perked up. It turned out to be the name of Mississippi native and Lafayette, Louisiana, slide guitar legend Sonny Landreth's song the station was about to play. I'd never heard the song before and after I finished eating, looked up the lyrics.
The last song on Landreth's 2000 Sugar Hill release, Levee Town, which also includes "The U.S.S. Zydecoldsmobile" and "Soul Salvation," "Deep South" talks about pirate Jean Lafitte's buried treasure and the spell of the "sweet keep" of the Deep South. On his website, Landreth explains what what the "sweet keep" is and why he placed "Deep South" as the last track on the album:
“The 'sweet keep' is a protection, something or someone looking out for you. Like the last songs on both 'Outward Bound' and 'South of I-10,' I wanted the last track for this album to offer an affirmation. To 'follow your bliss,' as Joseph Campbell used to say, is to feel the magic that surrounds us with every moment, to put the static of everyday routine on pause