Tuesday, May 13, 2014

tunes on tuesday 5-13: keb mo, leyla mccalla, john renbourn, john bardorf & james lee stanley

Tunes on Tuesday is a fun project. Each week I'll try to bring you some fun videos or audio files, each one focusing on a song, group or collaboration that just might pique your interest! If you have someone for possible spotlight then shoot me a private e-mail and we'll give it a listen. Hope you enjoy Tunes on Tuesday! 

NOTE: All videos may be expanded to full screen. Hit play then click on the icon at lower right.

Released just a month or so ago, Looking Into You: a Tribute to Jackson Browne is a fun collection of recordings by a wide variety of artists, each covering one of Browne's songs. Some are close representations of the original but each are uniquely styled by the performing artist. From this album is Rock Me on the Water performed by Keb Mo. Though written in 1970 and recorded in 1972 by Jackson Browne on his debut self titled album, Linda Ronstadt actually released the song 5 months earlier than he did when she released her own self-titled album that very same year.

I first saw Leyla McCalla about a year ago when she was a member of the fabulous Carolina Chocolate Drops. This New Jersey native studied classical music at Smith College and New York University, then moved to New Orleans and fell in love with the musical culture there. Add the Haitian influence that stemmed from her immigrant parents and you have the musical mosaic that is Leyla. Tim Duffy of Music Maker Relief (a blues/roots music preservation organization located in Hillsborough, NC and formerly mentioned in a previous TFT post) came upon Leyla in New Orleans where she was playing cello as a street musician in the French Quarter. Tim introduced her to Rhiannon Giddens of the Chocolate Drops, Leyla joined the group and from there had a wonderfully successful Kickstarter project funded her own solo album, Vari-colored Songs: A Tribute to Langston Hughes. From that album is Heart of Gold.

John Renbourn is a British songwriter who has always had a wide range of musical styles and influences. Having studied classical guitar in school, his recordings range from amazing renditions of pieces by Bach, bluesy Robert Johnson tunes and a whole lot of early/medieval English songs. Add a love of skiffle, jazz and folk, along with fabulous guitar and sitar talent and you have John Renbourn. He started attracting a lot of interest in England during the British Folk movement of the '70's and was tagged as folk-baroque when he joined forces with Scottish pal Bert Jansch. John continued playing his unique style of music  throughout his career, even while forming his baroque-rock group Pentangle, also with Bert Jansch, which was very popular in both the US and abroad, and from time to time heading back to school to further his studies of classical music.  Here is The Cuckoo.

Though you may not recognize his name, John Bardorf has been making music since the '70's. His group, Bardorf & Rodney and his second group, Silver, opened for all the big songwriters of the times, including America, Seals and Crofts, Dan Fogelberg, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, Fleetwood Mac, The Doobie Brothers, Bread, Pure Prairie League, Harry Chapin,and John Prine. In the '80's he was writing jingles and singing backup to big-time recording artists including Rod Stewart, Motley Crue, Dave Mason, Eric Anderson, and David Lee Roth. More recently he's put out his first solo cd and recorded a cd with James Lee Stanley called "All Wood and Stones", which is a collection of acoustic renditions of Rolling Stones covers. Here is Batdorf and Stanley performing "Ruby Tuesday" from that album.

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