Sunday, February 28, 2010


PRESERVATION - #1 Heatseeker
Debuts at #1 on the Heatseeker Chart, #2 On jazz chart
February 25, 2010, 11:15 PM
by altsounds

Preservation: An Album to Benefit Preservation Hall and The Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program was released on Fat Tuesday, February 16, 2010 and has sold over five thousand copies in its first week in stores. The album debuted on Billboard’s Heatseeker chart at #1 and also came in at #2 on the Jazz chart. PRESERVATION also bowed at #10 on the Indie chart and #117 on the Top 200. These are impressive numbers for the independent grassroots project spearheaded by RED Distribution and MRI.

Andrew Bird, Terence Blanchard, Pete Seeger, Dr. John, Blind Boys of Alabama, Brandi Carlile, Cory Chisel, Ani DiFranco, Steve Earle, Merle Haggard, Richie Havens, Jason Isbell, Jim James, Angelique Kidjo, Amy LaVere, Anita Briem, Del McCoury, Buddy Miller, Paolo Nutini, and Tom Waits all made the pilgrimage to New Orleans last year to record their homage to New Orleans Jazz with the legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Proceeds from the sale of the project will benefit Preservation Hall and The Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program. The album is in stores in standard CD, deluxe edition and double-LP collectible formats.

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band will be hitting the road this spring to support My Morning Jacket, a partnership that arose out of Jim James’ participation in 2 recordings on PRESERVATION. The tour will head through the Southeast, including a stop at New Orleans’ Jazz and Heritage Festival (JazzFest). My Morning Jacket is excited to both try something new with their choice for an opening act and bring some of the spirit of NOLA along with them.

My Morning Jacket Tour Dates with The Preservation Hall Jazz Band:
04/20: Birmingham, AL @ Alabama Theater
04/21: Nashville, TN @ Municipal Auditorium
04/23: Atlanta, GA @ Chastain Park
04/25: New Orleans, LA @ Jazzfest
04/27: St. Augustine, FL @ St. Augustine Amphitheater
04/28: Charleston, SC @ Family Circle
04/30: Raleigh, NC @ Koka Booth
05/01: Columbia, MD @ Merriweather Post Pavilion
05/02: Columbus, OH @ LC Outdoor Pavilion

Thursday, February 25, 2010

"PRESERVATION" on NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday (02.14.10)

New Louis Armstrong, By Way Of Preservation Hall
February 14, 2010
Weekend Edition Sunday

Thanks to some nimble engineering, Louis Armstrong has a new song coming out, complete with a whole new band. So what if he's been dead for nearly 40 years?

On Preservation, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band backs up a number of singers, including Andrew Bird, Tom Waits, Brandi Carlile and Pete Seeger. Armstrong recorded "Rockin' Chair" a number of times, but he gets the Preservation Hall treatment courtesy of Earl Scioneaux III, the engineer responsible for this trick of time.

The vocals from this new version were taken from a 1962 live recording with trombonist Jack Teagarden. As Scioneaux tells Gwen Thompkins in an interview, you can even hear audience laughter in the background.

It was quite a feat to tease out Armstrong's vocal and sneak in Preservation Hall Jazz Band's musicians. It happened in phases. First, Scioneaux isolated snippets of Armstrong's voice. Then the musicians got a "tempo reference" from the original recordings to make a backing track. The burden of replicating Armstrong's signature trumpet sound went to Mark Braud.

"He was pretty diligent about it," Scioneaux says. "He spent a lot of time listening to the original recording and the solo that Louis played on that — not wanting to copy it verbatim, but really capture the same spirit. I think he did a good job with it."

Scioneaux says he can tell a Louis Armstrong horn just by hearing it.

"It's like someone having an accent when he's speaking — there are just slight little differences that you pick up on," Scioneaux says.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Services for Ernest "Doc" Watson (1932-2010)

Just announced:

Services will be held at
St. Katherine Drexel Church,
2015 Louisiana Avenue
on Friday, February 26 at 7:00PMErnest "Doc" Watson
June 2, 1932 - February 19, 2010

Funeral Services will be held at
St. Katherine Drexel Church
on Saturday, February 27 at 11:00AM
Interment at St. Louis III.

"PRESERVATION": Reviewed by PASTE Magazine!

Hall of Champions: All-Star Musicians Team With Preservation Hall Jazz Band
by Alison Fensterstock
for Paste Magazine

The new album of surprising collaborations with Preservation Hall—New Orleans’ bastion of traditional jazz—started with Tom Waits and a sign from God. In that order.

In the early fall of 2005, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band shared a bill with Waits, among others, at a Hurricane Katrina benefit at Radio City Music Hall. During a lull backstage, Preservation Hall creative director Ben Jaffe and vocalist/reed man Clint Maedgen—both huge fans—noticed Waits alone, leaning against a wall.

“I had my tuba,” Jaffe says. “I said, OK, Clint, let’s go. This is never gonna happen again.” They chatted with Waits. They played him a song. They got a phone number. “Since then, for years, at least once a week Clint and I would have our conversation about what we were gonna do with Tom,” he says. Jaffe dug out an old song called “Tootie Ma Is A Big Fine Thing,” which appeared as an extra track on a Baby Dodds Trio CD—the original 1940s vinyl was possibly the first commercial waxing of a Mardi Gras Indian street chant. That, they decided, would be the song they’d do someday with Waits. Jaffe sat on it until, one day, sifting through stacks of records at the Hall archive, the first album he pulled out was one of those rare original 78-RPM copies of “Tootie Ma.” He mailed it to Waits along with a 78 player and a note asking him if he’d like to record it at the Hall. Months passed before he finally got an email back: When were they available to record?

“I took it as a sign from God that Tom Waits was going to record ‘Tootie Ma Is A Big Fine Thing’ with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band,” Jaffe says. “I thought, ‘This is the only thing that could possibly convince him—to give him the only copy I’ve ever seen in my life.’”

“Tootie Ma” is a standout on Preservation, the band’s new album, which also includes collaborations between the Hall band and a diverse assortment of artists including Andrew Bird, Brandi Carlile, Richie Havens, Pete Seeger, Del McCoury and Jim James of My Morning Jacket. Every track was recorded live at the Hall, and almost all the songs are traditional and public domain, done in the classic Hall style—acoustic hot jazz with banjo, clarinet and brass—that has remained New Orleans’ hallmark sound since the late 19th century.

Preservation Hall itself is a major tourist attraction, but it’s not touristy in the least. In a ramshackle wooden building in the French Quarter, elderly men in black suits and ties play the traditional New Orleans jazz they’ve played for half a century or more, music passed down to them from men who often had learned it the century before last. It’s the real deal. Jaffe, 39, took over stewardship of the Hall from his parents the week after graduating from Oberlin in 1993. As he updates it for the 21st century, he walks a line: keeping tradition sacred, but also relevant and exciting for a new generation.

“At 22, when I took over,” Jaffe says, “I was petrified that when the original Preservation Hall band passed away that we’d cease to exist. But by the late ’90s [as some original members were replaced] I began to see that people would still come see us for this very real New Orleans experience.”

The collaborators on Preservation seem to feel the same way. Carlile recorded the traditional hymn “The Old Rugged Cross” on a Sunday, with Hall guitarist/banjo player Carl LeBlanc, a veteran of the last incarnation of Sun Ra’s Arkestra. “The Preservation Hall band’s performance of these standards and their obvious passion and roots in New Orleans music sets the bar tremendously high for recording artists in any genre,” Carlile says. “I think the pairing of the performers with the Preservation Hall band bridges gaps in a really cool way.



Monday, February 22, 2010

"PRESERVATION": A review by Sonic Boomers!

"The eight musicians who make up the current lineup of the New Orleans Preservation Hall Jazz Band have a tough road to plow. Perform with the spirit and integrity of their ancestors or fit the role of re-creationists to keep their battered French Quarter home filled with tourists. It's a balance they strike on Preservation, an album that partners the PHJB with 19 prominent rock, country and folk vocalists in a program of songs from the first half of the 20th century.

Not surprisingly, the more the vocalist works a tone that resonates with historical wear and tear, the better the recording. Richie Havens, Dr. John and Tom Waits are tops in this set, getting the band to sound their gritty best by plunging deep into ancient Louisiana blues. Waits digs his heels into the swamp on the earliest known Mardi Gras tune, the percussion-driven "Tootie Ma is Big Fine Thing"; Havens takes a funereal tone on "Trouble in Mind," a tune recorded by thousands but first by Louis Armstrong with Bertha "Chippie" Hill; and Dr. John brings out the gris-gris and incantations for Jelly Roll Morton's "Winin' Boy."

Better than the average benefit/tribute album, performances over most of the disc are the result of serious consideration and effort, a worthy addition to the Preservation Hall's recorded legacy. Proceeds from the album benefit educational efforts to mentor musicians under
the age of 18..."

Friday, February 19, 2010

Preservation Hall Mourns the Passing of Ernest "Doc" Watson

Ernest “Doc” Watson
(June 2, 1932 – February 19, 2010)
“I like all kinds of music, but now I feel I owe it to myself and my musical heritage to keep this jazz going. Over the past twenty years, black musicians have more of an interest in preserving what we have done, and getting people to realize what we’ve done. We’ve contributed the only real American art form – jazz.
We shouldn’t change it every week, like pop music.”

At 77 years old, Ernest “Doc” Watson was the last surviving member of the old guard of The Olympia Brass Band, the enigmatic brass band led and popularized by Harold “Duke” Dejan and Milton Batiste. A musician all his life, Ernest started his journey as a French horn player with the Booker T. Washington High School Band. After switching to alto saxophone, he joined up with Ellis Marsalis in his early dance band, The Groovy Boys, before joining the service in 1952. It wasn’t until later, as a member of Little Millet and the Creoles, that Doc switched to tenor saxophone. Having spent much of the sixties playing with the Young Tuxedo Brass Band, Doc was approached by Harold Dejan to join the Olympia Brass Band as a replacement for David Grillier in the mid-seventies. He stayed through the group as long as it remained active, and continued to play weekly at Preservation Hall through the end of 2009.

He will be greatly missed.


A 'Preservation' CD for New Orleans' Preservation Hall
By Edna Gundersen, USA TODAY
February 16, 2010

Angelique Kidjo, Paolo Nutini, Brandi Carlile and Andrew Bird aren't typically linked to the roots of New Orleans music, but they jumped at the chance to preserve them.

Preservation, a benefit compilation released today to coincide with Mardi Gras, finds the Preservation Hall Jazz Band recording songs with diverse contributors ranging from Tom Waits, Pete Seeger and Richie Havens to Merle Haggard, Blind Boys of Alabama and Buddy Miller, plus native sons Terence Blanchard and Dr. John. The project aims to sustain the city's struggling historic Preservation Hall and ancillary music outreach program.

A Spanish tavern in the 1800s, Preservation Hall opened in 1961, establishing a humble jazz spot with no running water or air conditioning and a few benches for patrons. Only its pedigree has seen upgrades.

"A lot of people don't care about the past," says participant Jim James, singer/guitarist of My Morning Jacket. "They'd bulldoze the Notre Dame to build a parking lot if it made more money. So much great music came up in Preservation Hall, and people sometimes forget to trace the roots, to realize what you wouldn't have today without those roots."

Recording under the moniker Yim Yames, James and the PHJB recorded Fats Waller's Louisiana Fairytale, one of 19 New Orleans classics (25 on the deluxe edition). James was so enthralled by the experience that he invited the band to be the opening act on Jacket's upcoming tour.

"New Orleans is on fire with ghosts and energy," he says. "It's a sacred place, and we have to stand up and help out."

The hall "to this day limps along to survive," says Ben Jaffe, the hall's artistic director, its band's tuba player and son of the French Quarter landmark's founder. "It's given our country so much joy and been so central to the (post-Katrina) rebuilding process. We've been the cheerleaders for this community."

Jaffe, who produced Preservation to raise both money and recognition, says, "How do you portray a city known for beer, booze and beads in a new light, the regal tradition of New Orleans jazz? Sometimes, we've had to fight for respect."

He found no shortage of respect from artists he petitioned. "Originally, I wondered if anyone would want to do another favor for New Orleans," Jaffe says. "But immediately, everyone said yes, I want to be in that number."

Why save this storied hole in the wall? Jaffe watched several Preservation guests beam as they entered the drafty hall for the first time.

"As the world changes and people are more connected to the Internet and technology, organic places like Preservation Hall, where you can smell the history, become much more valuable. You're not re-creating it at an amusement park."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

"PRESERVATION" In American Songwriter

Preservation Hall Tribute Album Boasts All-Star Cast

By Matt Popkin on February 18th, 2010

1500 grammar school kids are up in the aisles dancing and stomping their feet. When the music stops, they beg and plead for one more song, just one more song, please! The type of music that’s got them so worked up? Not hip-hop. Not rock. Why, it’s not even a little bit Top 40.


If you’re surprised by the kids’ response to music that’s older than their grandparents, maybe you shouldn’t be. Ben Jaffe sure isn’t.

“That’s what I think is so great about New Orleans music. Over all these decades, it’s still entertaining.”

Not only is Jaffe the owner of Preservation Hall, the famed jazz club, but he’s also the tuba player in the legendary house band, which has played such notable venues—grammar schools excluded—as Saturday Night Live and Carnegie Hall. Oh, and Jaffe grew up hanging around the historic venue, which isn’t surprising considering his father and mother were the ones who founded it.

So when he says that the new Preservation Hall benefit album is “spectacular,” you can probably take him at his word. “I don’t think we could’ve made a better album,” said Jaffe. “It was that way because everyone did the album for the right reasons.”

“Everyone” includes artists such as Tom Waits, Steve Earle, Louis Armstrong and Merle Haggard, who all contributed to the nineteen-track album full of jazz staples that’s being released February 16th. All the songs were recorded with the house band and at Preservation Hall, which is located right off Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. The jazz club takes a no-frills approach—there’s no dance floor or food or drink served inside—and puts the focus squarely on the music, drawing standing-room only crowds most of the nights it’s open.

However, just a few years ago, there was some doubt as to if the crowds would ever return. When Hurricane Katrina hit in August of 2005, Preservation Hall was severely damaged and stayed closed for months before its triumphant reopening on its 45th anniversary in April of 2006. When asked about what New Orleans was like post-hurricane, Jaffe says, “I had this fear of the scene coming back differently and not having the people there who gave it its color...”

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

PRESERVATION: A review by the L.A. Times

Album review: Preservation Hall Jazz Band's 'Preservation'
by Randy Lewis
from Pop and Hiss, the L.A. Times music blog
February 15, 2010, 8:35pm

The unique place the Crescent City holds in American music is evident in the breadth of guests and the utter commitment in their performances with the Preservation Hall band on this project, designed to raise money to support training and mentoring of young musicians wishing to become practitioners of the century-old musical strain known as New Orleans jazz.

Preservation Hall opened in the French Quarter nearly half a century ago, its mission to keep that music alive at a time when it had fallen out of fashion in jazz circles. Today, Tom Waits, Merle Haggard, Del McCoury, Steve Earle, Brandi Carlile, Andrew Bird, Pete Seeger and Buddy Miller are among the many devotees who are backed by Preservation Hall players on a set consisting predominantly of traditional tunes.

It's a natural fit for pop music throwbacks such as Paolo Nutini and roots-music enthusiasts such as Miller and Jason Isbell. Haggard, by way of his lifelong love for the Western swing of Bob Wills, drops perfectly into the pocket singing "Basin Street Blues."

The happy surprise is just how ideally the Preservation Hall band's freewheeling accompaniment dovetails with Waits' back-alley bang-and-crash approach on the second-line rave-up "Tootie Ma Is a Big Fine Thing." Bluegrass standard-bearer McCoury couldn't sound any more joyful than he does here, tackling "After You've Gone." And the godfather of New Orleans jazz, Louis Armstrong, turns up in a hybrid performance with modern-day Preservation Hall players in "Rocking Chair."

At its heart, New Orleans jazz may be the ideal musical expression of the American notion of democracy: individuals expressing themselves in a singular way, while working together toward a common goal, in this case in service to the songs at hand. That keeps this outing from being simply a nostalgic salute to a bygone form of music, but makes it a vibrant collaboration with its vision locked squarely on the future.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

AVAILABLE NOW! Happy Mardi Gras!!!

The wait is over. Available Everywhere Now: "Preservation An Album To Benefit Preservation Hall & The Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program"

Trying to put together your Mardi Gras Music Playlist?



Thursday, February 11, 2010

"PRESERVATION" Preview #19: Appearing with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band on their upcoming benefit album - MR. MERLE HAGGARD!

February 16, 2010 - PRESERVATION: an album benefiting Preservation Hall & The Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program hits the streets! (Best Mardi Gras Ever?) While we wait with baited breath, we share with you these previews of the 19 amazing tracks and special guests that make this latest offering from the Preservation Hall Jazz Band so very special. In this installment...

Fiercely independent and loaded with down-home credibility, Merle Haggard has been a country music star since the mid-1960s. His upbringing in Bakersfield, California as a post-Depression, Oklahoma transplant is the stuff of legends: Raised in a boxcar (his dad worked for the railroad), he spent his youth getting into trouble and running away from home. His unruly behavior eventually ended with a stint in San Quentin prison for burglary (1958-60). Haggard worked on his music in jail, and after his release he landed jobs performing in night clubs and playing bass for Wynn Stewart. He then became part of Bakersfield's growing music scene and began his recording career singing duets with Bonnie Owens (the ex-wife of country star Buck Owens). In 1965 he released his first big label album, The Strangers, the title taken from his hit single, "(My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers" (The Strangers is also the name of his long-time backing band). In the last half of the 1960s Haggard emerged as one of country music's biggest stars, recording ballads and honky-tonk hits including "The Fugitive," "Mama Tried" and "Workin' Man Blues." His 1969 single "Okie From Muskogee," a good-natured slap at hippie-influenced pop culture, was a crossover hit and Haggard made headlines as a symbol for love-it-or-leave-it America (the attention helped get him an invitation to play for Richard Nixon at the White House).

"Hag" has established himself in the country music world as a talented musician (fiddle and guitar), a gifted vocalist and an influential songwriter -- all capped off by a turbulent personal life that adds to his reputation as an ornery individualist. He's known for paying tribute to traditional country music (1970's A Tribute to the Best Damn Fiddle Player in the World: Bob Wills), as well as appealing to crowds beyond country music's typical audience (in 2005 he announced a tour with Bob Dylan). His recordings include: "The Fightin' Side of Me"; Poncho and Lefty, an album of duets with Willie Nelson; "The Way I Am" (from the Clint Eastwood movie Bronco Billy); "I Think I'll Stay Here and Drink"; and "That's the News," a commentary on the media's coverage of war in Iraq.

In 1972 the governor of California, Ronald Reagan, granted Haggard a full pardon.
"Basin Street Blues"
Merle Haggard with The Preservation Hall Jazz Band
(Spencer Williams) MPL Music Publishing, Inc.

Merle Haggard - vocal
Mark Braud - trumpet
Clint Maedgen - tenor sax
Rickie Monie - piano
Ben Jaffe - string bass
Joe Lastie - drums

Merle Haggard appears courtesy of Hag Records






Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Preservation on The Tavis Smiley Show this weekend on NPR

Tune in to your local NPR Station for The Tavis Smiley Show, where they'll be doing a piece on the upcoming Preservation Hall Benefit Album "Preservation". Find your local station by clicking on the following link:

About the Tavis Smiley Show:

The Tavis Smiley Show is a high-energy exchange of views, information, and insight hosted by Tavis Smiley. The two-hour weekly show offers a unique blend of news and newsmakers in expanded conversations, along with feature reports and regular commentators Cornel West, Connie Rice, Eddie Glaude, Deroy Murdock, Omar Wasow, Kimberle Williams Crenshaw, Rachel Ross, Kathryn Lopez, Antonio Gonzalez, Jonathan Walton and George Johnson. Each weekend Tavis engages commentators and guests in substantive and provocative discussions on a wide range of topics including: politics, health, finance, sports, technology and pop culture. An insightful exploration of the issues that matter from fresh, diverse points of view is the show’s hallmark.

"PRESERVATION" Prreview #18: Appearing with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band on their upcoming benefit album - MR. LOUIS ARMSTRONG!

February 16, 2010 - PRESERVATION: an album benefiting Preservation Hall & The Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program hits the streets! (Best Mardi Gras Ever?) While we wait with baited breath, we share with you these previews of the 19 amazing tracks and special guests that make this latest offering from the Preservation Hall Jazz Band so very special. In this installment...

Known for his brilliant improvisation techniques both onstage and during recordings, Louis Armstrong became one of the Jazz movement’s most important musicians. As his trumpet would cease, his voice would shine. Able to perform and improvise with his voice as much as with his trumpet, he laid the foundation for a long-lasting, ideal and charismatic career.

Born into the poverty of southern Louisiana, young Louis listened to music whenever he had the chance. The first instrument he learned to play was the brass cornet, which he obtained thanks to a small loan from another family. He even played in a few southern get-togethers and was astonished by the playing of Joe King Oliver, who was Armstrong’s early inspiration.

By his latter teenage years, Louis Armstrong moved to Chicago to play with Oliver – where Jazz was hot and the hottest band was Oliver’s. In these early and influential years, he was even a part of the band’s recordings, where one can easily hear Armstrong’s back-up cornet and snippets where Louis would be given a solo.

As the Chicago experience came and went, Armstrong saw greater opportunity in New York, where he would play the trumpet with the biggest Jazz band of the day, the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra. After his success in New York, Armstrong headed back to his beloved Chicago where he began recording his own songs – an eclectic mix of Jazz music. His first hits were Potato Head Blues, West End Blues and later in his career, he released Hello, Dolly, which topped the British charts followed by the charts in the U.S.

In 1929, Armstrong toured Europe and had profound success. When he came back to the United States, he relentlessly toured for the next three decades. He released such hits as What a Wonderful World, Stardust, and the catchy Dream a Little Dream of Me. His gregarious attitude and wide grin aided him during his onstage performances. People of all backgrounds loved his music. And, while no official autobiography was ever released, the development of his vocal recordings only caused his success to mushroom beyond his creative brass talents where everyone would recognize his distinct sound.

"Rockin' Chair"
(Hoagy Carmichael) Songs of Peer, LTD

Louis Armstrong - vocals
Mark Braud - trumpet
Charlie Gabriel - clarinet
Rickie Monie - piano
Joe Lastie - drums

Louis Armstrong appears courtesy of CMG

About the track:
" Earl Scioneaux used an old recording of Louis Armstrong singing, a recording where the band was fairly low in the mix. When the Preservation Hall musicians recorded the song Rocking Chair, they did it in the tempo of the original recording that Armstrong did, and then Earl Scioneaux used his years of engineering skills to nudge the Louis Armstrong vocals right into the right places. He had to lose some of the trumpet that overlapped the voice until it sounds just right... and it does."





Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Special Performance Celebrating "PRESERVATION!" (02.15.10)

Hey, Jazz Fans!

Are you going to be in New Orleans for Mardi Gras? If so, we've got a special treat
just for you! While the rest of the country has to wait for Fat Tuesday to purchase their very own copy of PRESERVATION, record stores here in The Crescent City will be putting them on sale a day early.

Make sure to be at the Borders on St. Charles and Louisiana at noon on Lundi Gras day for a special
FREE performance from Ben Jaffe, Joe Lastie, Charlie Gabriel, and Clint Maedgen of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band celebrating the release of this amazing benefit album. It's a great time to celebrate a great cause with the purchase of a great recording. DON'T MISS OUT!

Monday, February 8, 2010

"PRESERVATION" Preview #17: Appearing with PHJB on their upcoming benefit album - MS. BRANDI CARLILE!

February 16, 2010 - PRESERVATION: an album benefiting Preservation Hall & The Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program hits the streets! (Best Mardi Gras Ever?) While we wait with baited breath, we share with you these previews of the 19 amazing tracks and special guests that make this latest offering from the Preservation Hall Jazz Band so very special. In this installment...

by Mark Deming

A gifted singer/songwriter whose rich voice and literate storytelling belie her youth (she was only 23 when she released her major-label debut), Brandi Carlile was born in the small town of Ravensdale, WA, an isolated community 50 miles from Seattle. With few neighbors or friends nearby, Carlile grew up learning to make her own entertainment, camping and hiking in the nearby woods and teaching herself to sing. Carlile grew up listening to the classic country music her parents doted on (Patsy Cline remains Carlile's favorite singer), and she made her stage debut at the age of eight after she was taken to a local country radio show by her mother. At 17, Carlile picked up the guitar, having developed a taste for rock & roll through Elton John's classic albums of the 1970s (she cites Tumbleweed Connection as a particular favorite), and she began hitting the Seattle bar scene, playing anywhere she could get a gig (including a stint singing backup for an Elvis Presley tribute act). While playing clubs, she encountered a band called the Fighting Machinists, featuring twin brothers Tim Hanseroth on guitar and Phil Hanseroth. Impressed by their instrumental skills and spot-on harmonies, Carlile became an instant fan of the Fighting Machinists, and when the group broke up, she persuaded the Hanseroth twins to form a group with her. While they started out as an aggressive rock & roll band, Carlile's emotionally powerful songwriting and acoustic guitar work soon became the dominant component of their sound, and they began touring regularly, headlining small venues and opening shows for Dave Matthews, Shawn Colvin, and India.Arie. In 2000, Carlile recorded the first of several self-released recordings that sold briskly at shows, and in 2005 she was signed to Columbia Records, releasing a self-titled album later that same year. The album earned enthusiastic reviews, and Carlile was named one of 2005's "Artists to Watch" by Rolling Stone. In 2006, Carlile and her band began work on her second Columbia album, with T Bone Burnett producing. Titled The Story, it was released in spring 2007. Give Up the Ghost followed two years later in 2009.


"Old Rugged Cross"
Brandi Carlile & The Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Brandi Carlile - lead vocals
Tim & Phil Hanseroth - backing vocals
Mark Braud - trumpet
Clint Maedgen - clarinet
Daniel "Weenie" Farrow - tenor sax
Lucien Barbarin - trombone
Carl LeBlanc - banjo
Walter Payton - string bass
Rickie Monie - piano
Ben Jaffe - tuba
Joe Lastie - drums

Brandi Carlile appears courtesy of Columbia Records






CD Review: The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, “Preservation: An Album to Benefit Preservation Hall” (

Thursday, February 4th, 2010


The Preservation Hall Jazz Band has always been rooted in tradition, and at this point, the group is a tradition itself — to the point that quite a few of its albums are compilations with the kind of sepia-toned artwork usually reserved for artists who have been dead for decades.

Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the band has enjoyed an artistic renaissance over the last decade, and the tragic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina — whose destruction forced the temporary closure of the historic Preservation Hall, their home base for nearly 50 years — has only fueled their fire. They don’t venture into the recording studio often — their last album of new material, the wonderful Shake That Thing, was released in 2004, and Preservation Hall Recordings mostly functions as an archival label — but when they do, they make it count. For proof, look no further than Preservation: An Album to Benefit Preservation Hall, an album whose matter-of-fact title doesn’t even hint at the many treasures it holds in store...

Friday, February 5, 2010

"PRESERVATION" Preview #16: Appearing with PHJB on their upcoming benefit album - THE BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA!

February 16, 2010 - PRESERVATION: an album benefiting Preservation Hall & The Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program hits the streets! (Best Mardi Gras Ever?) While we wait with baited breath, we share with you these previews of the 19 amazing tracks and special guests that make this latest offering from the Preservation Hall Jazz Band so very special. In this installment...


As The Blind Boys of Alabama celebrate their many years of continuous harmonizing, it’s a fitting time to ponder their amazing resilience. What has kept them going for so long, and still sounding so great? Rock-solid religious faith certainly helps account for their vibrant longevity. So does their unshakeable conviction that they were put here for the express purpose of singing. But an equally important factor, not always shared by their peers, is the Blind Boys’ open-mindedness. Old-time Gospel music circles are often marked by rigid conservatism and the dismissal of popular music as a worldly temptation of the Devil. The Blind Boys, by contrast, shun worldliness yet eagerly embrace the world, bringing spiritual music to secular audiences in order to spread their message.

It’s also rare for such an elderly, historic group to have come so far and still straddle modern music’s cutting edge. When the group first started singing in Alabama in 1939, few people would have ever envisioned the Blind Boys performing beyond a small circuit of Southern, black-community churches. By the 1980s, however, the group’s breakthrough appearance in an Obie award-winning musical – “The Gospel At Colonus” starring Morgan Freeman -- led to diverse popularity far beyond the Blind Boys’ original core following.

Since then the Blind Boys have released or reissued nearly 30 albums, five of which – “Down In New Orleans,” “Go Tell It On The Mountain,” “Higher Ground,” “Spirit of the Century,” and “There Will Be A Light” (a collaboration with Ben Harper) – have garnered Grammy awards. (What’s more, the Recording Academy also honored the Blind Boys with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.) “Duets” is not comprised of tracks from Blind Boys albums, though, but rather from equally acclaimed projects by other artists. One of the first such duets was the 1994 pairing of the Blind Boys and Bonnie Raitt on “When The Spell is Broken,” from the Richard Thompson tribute album Beat The Retreat. The positive response to this great dual performance convinced other artists of substance that there was great cachet in having the Blind Boys make guest appearances. Fellow blues-based artists such as Susan Tedeschi, Charlie Musselwhite and the legendary Solomon Burke– a Blind Boys cohort since the 1950s – followed suit. Given the structural similarities between blues and gospel, such pairings were logical indeed. So, with just a slight change in rhythmic emphasis, was the multi-cultural meeting with the iconic reggae artist Toots Hibbert, of Toots and the Maytals, on “Perfect Peace.”

But the appeal of the Blind Boys among artists and producers was hardly limited to music that’s closely linked to the group’s own distinctive style. Randy Travis invited the band to sing on a countrified version of the gospel classic “Up Above My Head,” while western-swing greats Asleep At The Wheel called them in for the bouncy admonition “The Devil Ain’t The Lazy.” The Blind Boys have long had a penchant for country music, and the country-tinged singing of artists such as The Eagles’ Timothy B. Schmit, and Jars of Clay. What’s more, many traditional gospel songs flourish in black and white churches alike.

It may seem like a leap, however, for the Blind Boys to perform with Lou “Take A Walk On The Wild Side” Reed. This recording came about after Reed and the Blind Boys sang together at the General Assembly of the United Nations, in New York. Their rendition of The Velvet Underground’s “Jesus” worked so well in concert that a session was immediately scheduled – and the partnership worked wonderfully. Ditto, turning one-hundred and eighty degrees, for The Blind Boys’ pairing with the roots-oriented children’s’ artist, Dan Zanes. Yet another surprising facet of the Blind Boys’ versatility is the collaboration with Ben Harper on “Take My Hand.” This song was recorded with the premise that Harper would simply produce a few Blind Boys’ tracks. But inspiration filled the studio, and instead Harper partnered with the band on the co-billed (and aptly entitled) album “There Will Be A Light.”SESSION PHOTOS BY ERIKA GOLDRING

"There Is A Light"
The Blind Boys of Alabama featuring Clint Maedgen with
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band
(Clint Maedgen) Clint Maedgen Music, BMI

The Blind Boys of Alabama:
Jimmy Carter - vocal
Bishop Billy Bowers - vocal
Ben Moore - vocal
Joey Williams - vocal

Clint Maedgen - lead vocal
Rickie Monie - B3 Organ
Mark Braud - trumpet
Charlie Gabriel - clarinet
Ben Jaffe - tuba
Joe Lastie - drums
Shannon Powell - tambourine

The Blind Boys of Alabama appear courtesy of Saguaro Road Records

Check it out!
PHJB and BBOA together in performance
in the studios of National Geographic!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"PRESERVATION" Preview #15: Appearing with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band on their upcoming benefit album - MR. STEVE EARLE!

February 16, 2010 - PRESERVATION: an album benefiting Preservation Hall & The Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program hits the streets! (Best Mardi Gras Ever?) While we wait with baited breath, we share with you these previews of the 19 amazing tracks and special guests that make this latest offering from the Preservation Hall Jazz Band so very special. In this installment...

Stephen Fain Earle was born on Jan. 17, 1955, in Fort Monroe, Va. He grew up in Schertz, Texas, a community 17 miles north of San Antonio. At the age of 11, Earle got his first guitar and learned to play it quickly enough to take third place in the Schertz school district's annual talent show when he was 13.

At 14, Earle left home for Houston to stay with his 19-year-old uncle, Nick Fain, who encouraged him to continue his guitar playing. Soon after, Earle met hard-living songwriter Townes Van Zandt, who inspired him to make music his career. Earle later said of Van Zandt, "He was a real good teacher and a real bad role model." At 19, Earle moved to Nashville. While struggling to make it in the music industry, the young hopeful paid the bills by doing odd jobs. "I've never had a job longer than three months in my life," he said. "I've always led a bohemian lifestyle. I have framed houses, worked on oil rigs, worked on shrimp boats and in restaurants, but it was different for me because I knew I was always going to get out."

In Nashville, Steve played in various bands to support himself. He made his first recording in 1975 on Guy Clark's Old No. 1 album, playing bass and singing backup on the cut "Desperadoes Waiting for a Train." Earle eventually wrote songs that were recorded by some major artists. His first publishing deal was with Sunbury Dunbar (a division of RCA), where he earned $75 a week as a staff writer. He almost had his song "Mustang Wine" recorded by Elvis Presley, but Presley failed to show up for the scheduled session. The song was later recorded by Carl Perkins. Johnny Lee had a No. 14 hit in 1982 with "When You Fall in Love," a song Earle co-wrote with John Scott Sherrill.

From 1982 to 1985, Earle recorded a series of rockabilly tracks for Epic Records. Two of these charted. "Nothing But You" went to No. 70 in 1983, and "What'll You Do About Me" went to No. 76 the following year. From Epic, Earle moved to MCA Records, where, in 1986, he released the roundly acclaimed Guitar Town. For this work, many critics hailed him as the missing link between the power of rock and the passion of pure hillbilly music. The title track became the highest-charting song of Earle's country career, making it all the way to No. 7 in 1986. In 1987, MCA released Earle's sophomore album, Exit 0. It, too, became an instant favorite of critics. One song, "I Ain't Ever Satisfied," enjoyed some airplay on rock radio, but country radio ignored it. Another single from the album, "Nowhere Road," climbed to No. 20 on the country charts. The album Copperhead Road made its bow in 1988 and demonstrated Earle's growing interest in rock music. MCA targeted the title single to rock radio. Although the album made few waves in the United States, it did build Earle's reputation in England.

In 1990, MCA released the much harder-sounding The Hard Way. It was followed the next year by the live album Shut Up and Die Like an Aviator. This was Earle's last contracted album for MCA. The label declined to renew his contract because of his increasing use of drugs. For the next four years, the singer all but disappeared from the music scene. In 1994, Earle was arrested and sent briefly to prison for possession of narcotics. He was paroled later that year after completing a rehabilitation program. During his break from recording -- a period he called his "vacation in the ghetto," Barbara Behler and Mark Brown, who worked at the Warner/Chappell publishing company, and John Dotson, Earle's former manager, compiled a promotional CD of his songs they titled Uncut Gems. They shopped it around to other recording artists in Nashville, a move that led to Travis Tritt and Stacy Dean Campbell each recording "Sometimes She Forgets" and Robert Earl Keen cutting "Tom Ames' Prayer."

Winter Harvest Records released Earle's folksy, acoustic-oriented collection, Train a Comin', in 1995. Soon after, Earle formed his own label, E-Squared Records. His first album for the new label, I Feel Alright, came out in 1996 and combined elements of country, rock and rockabilly. The next year saw the debut of his El Corazon. Earle tipped his hat to bluegrass music in 1999 when he recorded The Mountain with the Del McCoury Band. In 2000, he released Transcendental Blues, also on E-Squared.

Earle has been an outspoken and tireless opponent of capital punishment. His "Ellis Unit One" is featured on the 1996 soundtrack of the film Dead Man Walking. In recent years, Earle also has written and performed poetry and fiction. He presented excerpts from his works in progress at the 2000 New Yorker Festival and published a short-story anthology Doghouse Roses in 2001. He also stirred up controversy with the song "John Walker's Blues," about John Walker Linde, an American who many considered a traitor for joining the Taliban. The biography Hardcore Troubador: The Life and Death of Steve Earle was published in 2003.SESSION PHOTOS BY ERIKA GOLDRING

"Tain't Nobody's Business"
Steve Earle with The Preservation Hall Jazz Band


Steve Earle - vocals, guitar
Charlie Gabriel - clarinet
Clint Maedgen - tenor sax
Ben Jaffe - banjo
Rickie Monie - piano
Walter Payton - string bass

Steve Earle appears courtesy of New West Records



Tuesday, February 2, 2010

"PRESERVATION" Preview #14: Joining the Preservation Hall Jazz Band on their Upcoming Release - MS. ANI DIFRANCO!

February 16, 2010 - PRESERVATION: an album benefiting Preservation Hall & The Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program hits the streets! (Best Mardi Gras Ever?) While we wait with baited breath, we share with you these previews of the 19 amazing tracks and special guests that make this latest offering from the Preservation Hall Jazz Band so very special. In this installment...

Ani DiFranco has written hundreds of songs, played thousands of shows, captured the imaginations of legions of followers, and jammed with folkies, orchestras, rappers, rock and roll hall-of-famers, jazz musicians, poets, pop superstars, storytellers and a martial arts legend. She’s “fixed up a few old buildings” and minimized her carbon footprint before it was trendy – from installing a geothermal heating and cooling system in the renovated church that her label calls home to using organic inks on all the t-shirts she sells. But nothing she’s done in her 18-year career has garnered more attention than a business decision.

Since Ani bucked the major label system in the early-‘90s, opting to release her music on her own terms, the self-described Little Folksinger has been the subject of all kinds of hyperbole. She’s been called “fiercely independent” (Rolling Stone), “inspirational” (All Music Guide), “the ultimate do-it-yourself songwriter” (The New York Times), etc. As the cracks in the music industry get larger and more big-name artists follow Ani’s lead – Radiohead, Madonna and Nine Inch Nails among them – maybe people will just start calling her “smart.”

As important as Righteous Babe Records is to the singer/songwriter/guitarist, she’s more than happy to trust like-minded people with the business and revel in the complete artistic freedom it provides. On her new album, Red Letter Year, she takes more advantage of this freedom than ever before. Conceived, sculpted and refined over the course of two years – a lifetime compared to a typical Ani recording session – the album is an impeccably crafted, multi-layered sonic achievement.

And while the extra time is a big reason for Red Letter Year’s captivating musical depths, the people in Ani’s life play an even bigger part – her partner and co-producer Mike Napolitano (Joseph Arthur, The Twilight Singers, Squirrel Nut Zippers) and her one-year-old daughter Petah Lucia (gurgling, infectious laughter, wide-eyed innocence). Love, family and home are three of the album’s most prominent muses, resulting in a dozen songs that exude warmth and renewed vigor.

For several years to come, musicians will be making headlines as they jump the major label ship and take charge of their own destinies. Having been there and done that, Ani DiFranco will be more than happy to just sit back and make art.SESSION PHOTOS BY ERIKA GOLDRING

"Freight Train"
Ani DiFranco & The Preservation Hall Jazz Band
(Turner Layton/Henry Creamer) Morley Music Co. (public domain)

Ani DiFranco - vocals, guitar
Mark Braud - trumpet
Charlie Gabriel - clarinet
Clint Maedgen - tenor sax
Lucien Barbarin - trombone
Carl LeBlanc - string bass
Joe Lastie - drums
Ben Jaffe - tuba

Ani DiFranco appears courtesy of Righteous Babe Records




Erika Goldring Performance Portraiture Starting Feb. 4th at Loyola University

The vivid work of New Orleans-based music and fine arts photographer Erika Molleck Goldring will be featured in an upcoming exhibit of new photos, "Performance Portraiture," in the Collins C. Diboll Art Gallery at Loyola University New Orleans.

An opening reception will kick off the show at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 4 in Diboll Gallery. "Performance Portraiture" will on display from February 4 through April 6. Both the reception and the exhibit are free and open to the public.

The Collins C. Diboll Gallery is located on the fourth floor of the Monroe Library. For more information, please visit the Gallery website: