School of Music duo share acoustic folk sound online Friday, Sep 18 2020 

By Tate Luckey —

One University of Louisville duo is bringing authenticity to their music in hopes of connecting with listeners. 

Murphy Lamb and Andrew Chapman, both U of L School of Music seniors, started their band, The Brothers’ Mother, around the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

So far, the self-described acoustic folk duo have cultivated a debut EP, Oasis, and multiple live streamed performances.

The pair, whose influences range from bluegrass and country groups like Tony Rice and Nickel Creek, to old school contemporary christian singers like Rich Mullins, have an authentic, folk sound that includes acoustic guitar, delicate harmonies and lush piano tones. 

“We have a real simple, ‘stripped down’ vibe,” Lamb said.

Lamb and Chapman know too that if there’s a time where authenticity is needed, it’s now.

“We wouldn’t exist if the pandemic didn’t happen,” Chapman said. The roommates-turned-musicians recorded all their songs on nothing more than a USB mic in their apartment. 

“We had been playing music for a while, but didn’t start writing until the pandemic,” Chapman said. 

They collaborate on both ends of the songwriting spectrum, meaning both can come to each other with ideas or lyrics.

Like a modern-day Lennon/McCartney, if Chapman comes to Lamb, he usually has a lyric or concept he needs to flesh out. If Lamb comes to Chapman, he almost always has some sort of chord progression or musical idea. 

The recording process itself is where both share a mix of excitement and nervousness.

“It was actually pretty convenient because of the limitedness [of the setup], but also super challenging because we hadn’t done it before or had had a time limit,” Lamb said.

Their 5 song EP, Oasis, is about getting to know someone and their feelings. An underlying theme present in their songs is a fostering of familial connection with the listener.

“‘Making it is not a goal of mine or Andrew’s,” Lamb said when asked about their future careers as musicians. “We’re just hanging out and writing songs.”

Chapman agreed, saying his biggest goal is to make the type of music people will love. His favorite song from Oasis is “Feeling Known.”

“To me, the whole idea is about a connection through music,” Chapman said.

Oasis is available on all streaming platforms. The band recently performed live in the Red Barn as part of  SAB Concert Committee’s  “SAB Live!”  You can catch the recap of that performance on Youtube here. Interested in keeping up with The Brothers’ Mother? Follow them at @thebrothersmother on social media.

Photo Courtesy // The Brothers’ Mother

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‘WHATS POPPIN’ | Louisville rapper Jack Harlow to perform at MTV’s VMA Sunday, Aug 30 2020 

Harlow is set to perform his breakout single, "WHATS POPPIN" at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.


Indoor roller-rink invites students to enjoy socially-distant fun Monday, Aug 17 2020 

By Zoe Watkins —

Campus has been mostly empty since students left back in March. However, last week was full of events tailored for freshmen to adjust to their new campus life. Welcome Week is the first taste that incoming freshmen get when they first arrive on campus, spanning across the week before classes. This year Welcome Week was from Aug. 12 through Aug. 16.

Due to COVID-19, a lot has changed including new protocols and rules to help keep students and faculty safe and healthy. Despite this, there were still many socially distant Welcome Week events going on, including a regular event hosted by the Student Activities Board.

Julie Nwosu, vice-chair of the campus life committee, said this year’s event “Cardinal World,” is an adapted take on their “Cardnival.”

“Every year, SAB hosts a Welcome Week event,” Nwosu said. “Every year it is kind of a different theme, so we went with a theme that would stand out more,” Nwosu explained.

The event took inspiration from “AstroWorld” by Travis Scott. “Cardinal World” featured an indoor roller-skating rink where students could skate and listen to music. Dinner was provided in the Red Barn as well.

Leanne-Sarah Dnamba, who serves as the campus life committee’s chair, said that having a roller rink indoors was like a carnival theme to them. The committee wanted it to have similar visuals to AstroWorld, think glow-in-the-dark, universe imagery and good music.

“Obviously, with the new COVID regulation it was a little bit hard for us to find activities to have for returning and incoming freshmen. So, we thought of a skating rink,” said Dnamba.

SAB had other events scheduled for Welcome Week, but due to the new regulations, most were canceled due to concerns of being able to follow proper social distance guidelines. In total, there were three other events planned besides the roller rink, which Nwosu said were trap-karaoke, Zumba and a silent disco.

Despite all the cancellations, the roller rink was decided to be the best course of action since there was a way to keep practicing social distancing while people could still have fun at the event.

Dnamba explained that cones were set out throughout the SAC to keep a six-foot distance between students who were waiting in line. A max limit of 50 people were allowed into the ballroom where the skating rink was, and anyone who attended the event was required to wear a mask. There was also someone regularly sanitizing tables once students left.

SAB also used different colored wristbands to schedule times when students could come.

“It would give us enough time to clean all the roller skates and clean the place they’re going to be roller skating so we could follow all of the guidelines of the university that they gave us,” Nowsu said.

Even with all the new regulations and social distancing, many students still showed up to skate and have fun.

Freshman Ellie Bruner came out to the event with some friends to enjoy the night. Despite not being able to participate in many of the events planned for Welcome Week, she said that the roller-skating rink was her favorite so far. “I’m not very good at it and I haven’t skated in a couple years probably, but I think its fun,” Bruner said.

If a student missed this event, there are still some coming down the road this fall semester; however,  it remains to be seen on what they are. Nowsu said that the board has decided to host all future events virtually for the time being.

“Right now, we’re just taking our time. We are seeing how this event goes and how everything is going to go and move forward with the fall semester. We have a few things planned, but we’re going to keep that to ourselves for now until we see how things go.” Dnamba said.

Photo By Anthony Riley // The Louisville Cardinal

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“The Go-Go’s”: Film Review Podcast Sunday, Aug 2 2020 

History of Rock & Roll Band documentaries have a certain, very familiar story arc.

It seems to be a trend.

This Showtime take on The Go-Go’s is no different.

Other than the fact that they were the first all female band, who wrote their own songs, and played their own instruments, that made a #1 album.

So, yeah, anything else that makes this doc worth watching?

Other than why Jann Wenner’s kept them out of the Rock & Roll HoF?

Or, what’s the story behind those towels they’re wearing on the cover of their first album?

For more reasons, why you might enjoy this pro forma documentary as I did, listen to the podcast below.

Audio MP3

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‘Voices of Fire’ | Pharrell Williams announces new gospel choir Netflix show Sunday, Jul 5 2020 

The Virginia Beach native said he was working with his uncle on the project. It brings together a diverse choir to "inspire change" and share the gospel.


Atlanta Pop ’70, Fifty Years On Tuesday, Jun 30 2020 

This Independence Day marks the half century anniversary of the 1970 Atlanta Pop Festival. 

The following memories of mine were written and published a decade ago on the occasion of the event’s 40th anniversary. They have been edited, and updated, though my memory of that time long ago far away is absolutely no better on its own than ten years ago.

Which is why I reached out to a few friends who were at the festival, and, I’ve included the memories of those who responded and have any somewhat cogent recollection at all. They are added in italics. c d k 

Captain Canada and The Mailman.

It’s fifty years gone this Fourth of July weekend since those nicknames were bestowed upon my pal Stephen and me at the Atlanta Pop Festival.

Many if not most of the memories of that magical interlude have long been lost in the daze of time. But this I can say for sure. We came upon those identities honestly.

As for the rest of that weekend outside Byron, Georgia, the tales told here are probably true, but perhaps not. Only the synapses of my and pals’ hippocampi know for sure. And they’ve long since lost most if not all connectitude to that time and place.

Stephen was The Mailman; I, Captain Canada.

The sordid details: We knew in advance there was going to be triple digit Fahrenheit at the festival. So the day before we left, we purchased pith helmets at Big Deal Lucille’s, our name for an army surplus store downtown. If such a chapeau provided protection for long lost Stanley Livingston in Africa, we presumed such would work for us.

I went with basic khaki.

Stephen opted for that light grayish blue with maroon straps that we’ve come to associate with the United States Postal Service.

So hot was it that the very first day down there, we, along with our traveling companions Don and Merrily, sought respite in the nearest body of water. Which lake or stream or pond — frankly I can’t recall — we found by following the gaggle of hippies on hoods of cars all headed, they said, as if guided by a stoned Trip Tik in that direction.

When Stephen jumped in the not so deep, pith helmet firmly in place, one bleary-eyed bather adroitly observed, “It’s the Mailman.”

Firmer monikers have been borne of lesser tales.

The origin of Captain Canada is somewhat more convoluted. The statute of limitations having lapsed, the story can be revealed. With haste and for the last time, so we can move on.

The day before we departed Louisville, our friend Becker needed help moving from one furn apt. to another. Among the items he intended to discard was a flag of Canada. Which artifact I commandeered, immediately tying about it about my neck like a cape.

That’s but the germination of the nickname.

One person I ran into, Captain Canada. Lo and behold, he knew how to party. H.K.

Which sobriquet flowered fully on the first night of music at the festival. (Caveat: The imagery that might manifest from the description of the following interlude is not for the faint of heart, grannie or youths under the age of majority.)

That weekend marked my first experimentation with psychedelics. When the mescaline kicked in, it started to rain a bit. At which point it seemed an eminently logical to my then “experienced” mind to fully disrobe. No matter that we were sitting in throng of several hundred thousand. It struck me as the natural thing to do.

Besides, I didn’t want my clothes to get wet. I had hand fashioned with a magic marker a “Who is Ron Dante?” t-shirt which I thought too clever and pithy to not be able to wear again once the showers had abated.

From such reasoning, wackier tales have been told.

The inclemency didn’t however prevent me from wearing my Canadian flag cape, which I did for the entire festival. Or, that pith helmet. From which point on, and for several years thereafter, I was known to a few as Captain Canada.

Enough of that.

 * * * * *

Admittedly I am finding it difficult to accurately describe how wonderful and fun that weekend was. The ascendent experience is proving to be beyond sensible description.

When I’ve attempted to do so through the decades, I have reverted to this.

The Atlanta Pop Festival is something outside the timeline of my life.

It is as if it was all a dream, so fantastic, so unreal, so joyous was the moment.

It was one of those once in a lifetime situations that I am proud to say I made it through and had the time of my life. H.K. 

The flip side: It was not the same for everyone.

I don’t remember it particularly fondly. I slept in a ditch. A.B.

But most loved it.

My major impression of it was that it was HOT and HUMID. Nudity was not only a cultural expression, but almost a matter of comfort. Everyone focused on the music, the experience, and yes, truth be told, recreational drugs. There was plenty of all. A.A.

The performers included the following whose music I do recall if only to a limited extent. Jimi Hendrix, who played with fireworks filling the sky behind him on the 4th of July. The Allman Brothers Band, including a jam with Johnny Winter. The Chambers Brothers. (For which set, I stood directly in front of the speakers, as a result of which stupidity, the hearing in my right ear has never fully recovered.) BB King. Grand Funk Railroad. Hampton Grease Band. Ten Years After.

Among the groups that I have no or only vague recollection hearing: Procol Harum. Poco. Terry Reid. Ravi Shankar. John Sebastian. Mountain. Spirit. Ginger Baker. Chakra. Cactus. Gypsy. Bloodrock. Captain Beefheart.

What fascinates me is how few who attended, myself included, speak of the musical moments.

I remember so little about the music, except the Allman Brothers and the Hampton Grease Band with frontman Bruce Hampton. I was so spent by the time Hendrix hit the stage, I retreated to my little campsite. Were there fireworks? A.B.

So, what do I remember? The Main Stage, a local band called the Allman Brothers. I remember being blown away listening to Duane Allman play guitar for hours off stage after the set. My second memory is being awakened in the middle of the night on July 4 by the sounds of Jimi Hendrix playing the opening licks of the Star Spangled Banner. I sort of remember some other great performances — BB King, Mountain, Bob Seger, Richie Havens comes to mind. A.A.

The unfortunate thing about the festival is I don’t remember a whole lot because I was tripping the whole time. But I do remember Hendrix playing the national anthem on the Fourth of July, woke up fireworks going off and said to myself, “Fuck, man.” H.K.

The tuneage was more a nucleus around which this grand, garish carnival evolved, an excuse for the gathering of southern tribes.

The sounds were a backdrop to the experience. A.B. 

 * * * * *

Considering the entire experience, I do have an acute feeling of personal evolution. After graduating from law school a couple of months before, I had taken the bar exam the weekend before the festival, didn’t think I’d had passed it since I frankly hadn’t studied much.

Thus I hadn’t a clue what was in store for the rest of my life.

It was your classic pivotal moment at the onslaught of adulthood.

So, hey, let’s go get stoned and rock.

I’d lived at home with my parents until my senior year in law school. My growth had thus been stunted. So my socialization abilities were still in their early stages.

Hey. let’s mingle en masse and talk jabberwocky.

So, without getting too awfully philosophical, I’ll just offer that this eminently eye-opening weekend fostered a sense of freedom and wonder and creative possibility which I hadn’t previously conceptualized.

 * * * * *

Mostly it was just a load of damn fun.

As for specifics, there are but a few I remember.

An interlude where I handed a merchant enough Uniform Commercial Code razzmatazz in the middle of the night that he cashed a personal check for some biker dude. Which black leathered hulk expressed his appreciation by telling me he had my back in case I needed something taken care of during the festival.

Not wanting one blistering afternoon to walk all the way to the water spigot a mile away, I, much to the chagrin of Don and Merrily, filled our thermos with $3 worth of Pepsi.

My gang arrived on Thursday, the day before the festival itself began. So, we avoided all the traffic delays, and found a camping spot away from the stage area, right at the edge of a grove of trees.

Camped next to us was a group, which included a gal who wore a wig the whole weekend in that  awful heat, because she didn’t like the color of her hair after dyeing it. How antithetical to the whole counter culture ethos, I thought at the time. Her buddy turned me onto Peter Green and Fleetwood Mac for the first time.

There was another somewhat bucolic spot where many settled on the other side of the stage.

“We camped in the pecan grove. Because the trees were lined in rows, it was kind of like being the suburbs.” K.S. 

While listening to some band, there was a couple having sex the next blanket over, with the girl shouting in ecstasy “Ooooooooh, the stars!” While her head was resting on my lap. Trust me, it felt as odd at the time as it sounds now.

Running into a couple of fellows from Louisville. One was the younger brother of Marc and Bruce, a couple of high school contemporaries of mine. The only thing I remembered about him was that he’d been a Putt Putt champion years before. He had hitchhiked with his GF over to the festival from Athens, where he was attending UGa. We shared some herb.

The other was a fellow a couple of years older than me, whom I’d known from back home. The last time I’d seen him was when he was a at Vanderbilt, and I was visiting as a HS senior. It was at a Joey Dee and the Starlighters dance at skating rink, and he, in his cups, was was attempting to regale a some sorority sisters. We shared some herb.

The pathway from our camping spot to the stage, lined with hundreds and hundreds of people selling drugs.

Lots and lots of topless and totally nude women. Alas, none of whom were inclined to fall prey to my not so considerable charms.

Wendy What Went Wrong*

* An acquaintance from home brought along a date he barely knew for the weekend. Her name was Wendy. If you’re too young to get the extrapolated nickname, ask your aunt who saw the Beach Boys in the early 60s.

Laughter. Early. Often.

Juicy peaches bigger than my fist for a nickel.

The Heat. And I’m talking temperature not cops, which were essentially nowhere to be seen.

The Chambers Brothers doing “People Get Ready.”

Hendrix playing the “Star Spangled Banner” at midnight — or thereabouts — on the Fourth.

The Allman Brothers Band, whom I’d never heard of before. Particularly, “Every Hungry Woman,” during which I was drawn closer to the stage — with Wendy What Went Wrong alongside — as if it were a siren call. They were to become My Band.

I also remember not hearing Duane Allman jam the Thursday night before the official start of the festival, on a second small stage across the road in the middle of the woods. Listened to a band or two that I didn’t know. They kept announcing that Sky Dog Allman was coming to jam. I’d never heard of him. I tried to wait to hear what the fuss was about, until I crapped out, and trundled back to our campsite.

The Hampton Grease Band.

Through my own personal haze, trundling back to our campsite on the final morning, while Richie Havens sang “Here Comes The Sun” at sunrise.

Frankly, sadly, that’s about it for the music.

One friend remembers an act other than Hendrix, the Allmans or Hampton Grease Band.

“Mountain.” K.S. 

 * * * * *

It’s not like I/ we weren’t paying attention to the songs. It’s just that the entire experience was so overwhelming, that there was so much sensory input, so many diffused interactions that the music was but one element. An important one, but just one of many nonetheless.

I guess it’s fair to ask, beyond the fact that it was a super time, if there were any cultural imperatives to be learned from Atlanta Pop?

Well, yes. One, there is power in numbers.

Law enforcement was basically non existent. Byron had a couple of part time cops, I believe. A number of state troopers were sent to the scene. Governor Lester Maddox wanted it shut down, but that wasn’t going to happen.

I’ve read that nobody was arrested, despite the drugs and nudity. There were just way more of us than them that weekend. Besides it was a ferociously peaceful gathering. (Apparently there was a brouhaha about opening the gates and freeing up the festival. It passed me by. We actually bought tickets in advance. $14 for the weekend.)

Pepsi doesn’t quench thirst like H2O.

Nobody had a clue who Ron Dante was? Nor much cared*

*FYI, he was the studio guy responsible for The Archies. That’s right, “Sugar, Sugar.”

Pith helmets are an effective way of protection from the sun.

Jimi Hendrix and Duane Allman — both of whom died within fifteen months of the festival — were the best. I’m grateful that I heard them in person when they were still around. And that I remember at least some of their playing there.

Plus, I can now, forty years after the fact, lord it over today’s guitar fawning “youngsters.”

I also recall not having to deal with too much traffic on the way out.

We waited until Monday, and it didn’t take long to get to the Interstate. Not far from Byron, we stopped to eat at a KFC.

After that meal, I got in the back of Don’s family’s station wagon to close my eyes for a bit during the ride home.

Next thing I remember was being aroused in front of my apartment back in Louisville.

With a smile on my face.

— c d kaplan

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The Night I Said No to Little Richard Saturday, May 9 2020 

Of the Founding Fathers of Rock & Roll, the quintet whose mugs would be on Mount Rushmore, two were frankly more incendiary than the rest.

It’s not that Elvis, Fats Domino, and Bo Diddley weren’t rockin’ and rollin’ in a totally new fashion in the mid 50s.

It’s just that the music of the other two blasted from the tinny speaker of the 7 transistor portable radio I got for my Bar Mitzvah, the device I could put in my bike basket, and thereby take my life’s preferred soundtrack with me wherever I roamed.

One was Jerry Lee Lewis.

When you’re 12 years old and you hear “Great Balls of Fire,” you turn to your pal and scream, “Holy shit, did you hear what he just sang?”

To get a sense of how raucous Jerry Lee could be, youtube his ’64 concert at the Star Club in Hamburg.

(Aside: That Jerry Lee Lewis is the last of those Founding Fathers standing is one of the wonders of the universe.)

The other who pushed the boundaries of the new teen culture to other dimensions was Little Richard. RIP.

His songs propelled. They were insistent. They were outrageous.

And all those ladies he sang about — Long Tall Sally, Miss Ann, et al — they weren’t ladies at all.

Not only was Richard Penniman’s music from the other side of the tracks, you had to turn down a dark road and know exactly where you were going to get there. Then know the password to get in the door.

The cover of the first album I ever owned is that one at the lede. Bought for me by my hip grandparents, Max and Tillie Kaplan, at a music store in the then newfangled Northland Shopping Center in Detroit.

The last time I heard Little Richard in concert, it was sad really.

At JazzFest maybe 15 or 20 years ago. His first song ripped it up.

Then it turned to Vegas shtick, male dancers in thongs and all.

He was but a caricature of himself, which persona was cartoonish enough as it was.

Little Richard, like Jerry Lee really, had a constant inner struggle between the primal and spiritual. So, Richard Penniman would take periodic sabbaticals from rock and roll, and preach the gospel and life lessons according to Little Richard.

It was during one of those hiatuses in the late 60s or early 70s that I perpetrated one of the most egregious regrets of my life.

He gave a lecture at U of L.

And, for some unfathomable reason, based on some reasoning hard to comprehend in retrospect, I passed.

How stupid.

I mean, really, what was I thinking?

Apparently there were only a few people who showed up, and he was accessible, and I could have probably chatted him up for awhile.

That hole in my soul feels a bit emptier today, having learned of Little Richard’s passing.

He’d been in ill health for some time, and stopped performing years ago.

Anyhow, he was like no other, that Little Richard.

Here’s my favorite Little Richard tune, “The Girl Can’t Help It,” the eponymous title song of the lascivious ’56 movie, starring Jayne Mansfield.

— c d kaplan

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More JazzFest Musical Memories Saturday, May 2 2020 

Realizing it’s truly an impossible task — sharing my “favorite” JazzFest musical moments that is — I’ve decided to take a different tack for this last take on JazzFest for this year.

Because, I love it all. Even the days when I can hear umpteen different performers and none really grab on and don’t let go.

As I always say, that’s why I keep coming back. From day to day. From year to year. Even now in 2020, when I can only experience the event via WWOZ’s JazzFesting in Place.

So, here’s some quick mentions of some regulars, and I’ll give it up for this time around.

 * * * * *

Have I mentioned how much I cherish Allen Toussaint?

Duh, like only a gazillion times.

But I’d be remiss if I didn’t start with He Who Is My Favorite New Orleans Musical Icon, my favorite musical icon period.

When still alive, Toussaint, except maybe way back in the day, never had a regular band that gigged together all the time, that toured. He was, until Katrina for sure, mostly a writer, producer, arranger. But a sometimes performer.

So, at his annual JazzFest sets, his ensemble was always a put together outfit. The upper echelon of NO players, of course, Men and women who have played with him through the decades. But, not playing regularly, the groups were often not as tight as one might hope.

Plus, his singing voice, never anything truly special, diminished over time.

But ya know, it was always Allen Toussaint with his incredible presence that bridged the gap between dapper and dazzle, and his sweet persona, and his amazing songs and charts.

So I tracked down this snippet of one of his endearing performances from a few years back.

(His 2009 set, which WWOZ aired Saturday as part of JazzFesting in Place, was seriously hot. Toussaint and band were hot hot hot. Unfortunately I couldn’t track down any video of that gig. Sigh.)

 * * * * *

The Gospel Tent is, well, the ultimate testament to feeling the spirit.

I’ve been there on an Easter Sunday, when I swear it was levitating.

I remember walking in once in the middle of a set by the mass choir from a church in Dallas, and so powerful was their sound and energy, it literally slowed my pace. Like walking into a strong wind.

And I’ve been in there, when a group just wouldn’t fire, or the crowd wasn’t ready.

Just a few examples here to give you a sense.

The first video of the Electrifying Crown Seekers is choppy — you’ll see — but a great example of just how out of control the place and performers can get.

Then there are gospel singers most of us have never heard of that make you think, “Why aren’t these people famous?”

Like Cynthia Girtley.

Or, a choir that just gets it on.

 * * * * *

I’m a sucker for cover songs.

I’ve always been fascinated at every concert anywhere by what song of someone else the artist or band might perform.

If it’s an oldie, I’m rarely not smitten.

Like when rising blues star, a recent New Orleans emigrant, Samantha Fish opened her first appearance ever at the Fest in the Blues Tent with Barbara Lewis’s sultry, “Hello Stranger.”

This isn’t from JazzFest, but I have to share anyway.

 * * * * *

Another personal peculiarity I mention often about my many annual treks to Fest, it’s rarely about the Big Name Acts.

With some exceptions.

Like Springsteen with his Seeger Sessions Band, at their first gig, at the first JF just eight months after Katrina.

As I’ve often written before of his so damn good so damn appropriate opening tune, he had me at Oh.

 * * * * *

OK, one more and I’ll get outta here.

Had to give a tip of the hat to Dr. John, New Orleans through and through.

His best gig at JazzFest might be his set from ’06. Sadly I couldn’t find a video from that one. (Track it down if you can, the audio might be in the archives.)

So I’ll just bid you my adieu with this New Orleans classic from Mac Rebennack:

— c d kaplan

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Favorite JazzFest Musical Memories, Part Trois Thursday, Apr 30 2020 

There’s a chat room where JazzFest obsessives like myself hang out.

For the acolytes, the Jazz Fest Forum  is a year round thing.

The denizens are called Threadheads, and most seem to know each other from hookups during Fest. Or otherwise. Liuzza’s seems to be the official unofficial meeting place. They also have a party every year during Fest called the Patry. With boffo lineups.

I’m sort of an outlier, an auxiliary Threadhead if you will, having come to the dialog later than most of the regulars. On the way to the Fest a few years back, in the Charlotte airport, I did meet a couple that helped start the Forum. And there’s the NRBQ-loving regular I chatted up a couple years ago between acts at the Gentilly Stage.

It’s a year round deal, but, as you can imagine, conversations ratchet up with the lineup announcement in January, and the posting of the Cubes a month out.

One of the regular threads will deal with lesser known, obscure acts that somebody’s heard in concert with a hearty “You gotta hear this group.”

I check them all out on youtube before making my daily plans. Weeks in advance, I must admit. Plus, disciple that I am, I also check out the ones I don’t know that might not have been recommended.

Which brings to my favorite tip of recent years . . .

. . . Bombino.

Real name: Goumar Almoctar. His lineage is that of a Tuareg tribesman. They’re nomadic, as I understand. Though my research is limited.

What I know is when I watched and listened to the first video, I put a big square around his time block on my Cubes. Which essentially means, “Don’t even think of meandering to another stage, and be there at the start.”

Whoever told us in that thread he was a must see was absolutely correct.

Bombino’s style is evocative and hypnotic. Think snake charmer music.

What I remember about his set, other than being transfixed and transformed, eyes closed, to another reality, is the guy who shouted as exiting the Blues Tent when the set was over, “Now that’s what JazzFest is all about.”

So I present this video of him at JazzFest, though I don’t remember if this was his first or second appearance. As you’ll note, the sound of the music is somewhat fuzzy, yet it’s a cool presentation.

Because it gives a real sense of what it’s like in the Blues Tent. Jammed. People locked into the music. People milling about looking for seats. People trying to dance in the aisles, and get up in front of the stage. The mix of hubbub and hot tuneage.

 * * * * *

You had to really experience the ultimate one hit wonder Ernie K-Doe in person to observe the true glory of his hubristic smile-inducing provenance.

The fellow was a character.

I recall hearing him in a small club, almost completely empty, in New Orleans in the early 70s before JazzFest became a thing. He prattled on about the old days, when he was the King of the Tulane frat house parties. And the magnificence and importance of “Mother In Law” of course.

To attempt to convey K-Doe’s engaging, cocky personality, I present a photo of his grave marker.

My favorite of the several times I heard K-Doe was at a Doo Drop Inn Revisted gig in a New Orleans hotel back in the 90s.

For a time, this was an annual evening show that was part of the festival, where they celebrated the iconic Crescent City rhythm and blues club.

There’d be a hot big band, conducted by Wardell Quezergue or Allen Toussaint or some New Orleans musical genius. Then they’d trot out the Dixie Cups and Al “Carnival Time” Johnson and Benny Spillman, and other hitmakers from the 50s and 60s.

The year I’m talking about, not sad to say the one in the video below, K-Doe was apparently in his cups a bit more than usual.

He did a couple of tunes. Ended with “Mother in Law,” during which he vamped, hoping to hold the stage as long as possible.

At some point, he admonished the crowd, “On your feet for Ernie K-Doe.”

Then, “Wave your handkerchief for Ernie K-Doe.”

Finally and emphatically, “On your knees for Ernie K-Doe.”

At which blissful oh so New Orleans moment, he was given the hook.

Here’s K-Doe at another year’s Doo Drop Inn Revisited. It gives a good sense of the fellow’s personality.

What I love about this set is that band leader Allen Toussaint is getting such a kick out of K-Doe, he can’t stop smiling.

K-Doe’s gravestone does get one thing so very right.

After him, there’s no other.

 * * * * *

I have no recollection of exactly how I came to the music of Daniel Lanois. Whether I knew he was a producer of a bunch of name acts like U2 and Dylan, or whether that came later?

But I got his own CD “Acadie” in the late 80s.

Loved its melancholy feel. Loved the unique sound of his guitar. His brooding songs struck a chord. Still do.

When I saw him on the schedule at JazzFest I rejoiced. One of my most anticipated performances there ever.

It was gray day, the clouds outlined in black, or so it seemed.

Perfect for Lanois.

There’s actually a CD of his JF performance from ’89, which I just discovered when doing some research for this. But the cost of same was a bit much.

Nor could I find a video of his gig there.

But . . . I did come upon this video of a searing performance of his signature tune, “The Maker.” You may know the song from Willie or Emmy Lou.

 * * * * *

Along with some other recordings, I gave a CD of Olu Dara’s album, “In The World: From Natchez to New York,” to some friends as a gift after I’d stayed at their home.

“How did you hear about this guy?,” I was asked.

Again, I hadn’t the slightest remembrance.

Again, I cherished the moment he’d be at JazzFest on the Congo Square stage. The Mississippi native made a second appearance a few years later.

During that first performance, my pal and I taunted a friend back home, whom we had been trying to get to come to Fest for years, and whom we knew loved Olu Dara. We phoned him during the set and let him listen for a moment or two, and abruptly hung up.

Olu Dara is Yoruba for “God is good.”

The jazz cornetist’s real name is Charles Jones III. Doesn’t have the same exotic ring, does it?

Through the years, he had a couple of zestily named ensembles. The Okra Orchestra. The Natchezsippi Dance Band.

Anyway, by the time he released that album and played Fest, his music had morphed into a truly intriguing mashup of jazz and blues and folk and African and reggae.


For reasons which should come obvious, this tune was all the rage for a good while after his performance at Fest.

The video is obviously from another gig.

More to come. Maybe. We’ll see if listening to classic sets over the next four days instigates more memories.

— c d kaplan

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Lift Up Louisville — We’ve Got Our Own Song Wednesday, Apr 29 2020 

Here’s a great project inspired by the Mayor and including performances from Louisville-area musicians.

“Lift Up Louisville” is a community sourced song written and performed by 20+ musicians with ties to Louisville, Kentucky.
Inspired by our mayor, Greg Fischer. Dedicated to the people of Louisville, Kentucky. Thank you to everyone on the front line around the world. The song is available at sonaBLAST!

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (April 27, 2020) – Mayor Greg Fischer today presents “Lift Up Louisville,” a new city song that he commissioned as part of his Lift Up Lou movement, launched in early March to keep residents’ spirits up during the fight against COVID-19 and maintain a sense of connectedness, even at a time of necessary social distancing.

The song represents a collaborative effort by Louisville Orchestra Music Director Teddy Abrams, Jim James and Patrick Hallahan of My Morning Jacket, singer/songwriter Will Oldham, cellist/composer Ben Sollee, Scott Carney of Wax Fang, percussionist Dani Markham, hip hop star Jecorey Arthur, gospel singer Jason Clayborn, singer Carly Johnson and several others from Louisville’s diverse and celebrated music scene. Sollee was the song’s main collaborator, and an accompanying music video was produced by Kertis Creative and directed by Stephen Kertis.

All proceeds from the song, which is being marketed nationally, will benefit the One Louisville COVID-19 Response Fund, Louisville’s central source to provide emergency resources to people and nonprofits throughout the community that have been hurt by the pandemic.

Abrams said Mayor Fischer reached out to him as the Lift Up Lou initiative was created, and reminded him that they’d been talking about a “Louisville song” for some time, to celebrate the city’s diverse and extensive musical talent. “Now is the time,” the Mayor said, and Abrams got to work.

Abrams said he initially had no specific idea how to pull off such a collaboration during a time of social distancing. But as he started making calls, “everyone said yes,” and the work began, with nearly 30 contributing music, lyrics and their various creative talents.

The Mayor describes “Lift Up Louisville” as “a love song to my home town.”

“The arts are the soul of Louisville,” Mayor Fischer said. “Our city is blessed with an amazing array of brilliant and compassionate artists who love their hometown. That love is the backbeat of ‘Lift Up Louisville,’ which tells the story of this moment in the life of our city, our country and our world. And the story of this moment includes the countless acts of kindness, inspiration and unity that we’ve seen in our city as people from every background and every neighborhood have found ways to lift each other up. I want to thank Teddy Abrams and his fellow musicians who found a way to collaborate from a distance and bring our city even closer together.”

Abrams added: “We hope that this song provides inspiration and pride for Louisvillians, and that it functions as a reminder that the city’s artists believe in service to their community in addition to performance at the highest levels. We’d love to see other cities take this model and build their own songs, creating a quilt of songs reflecting the various musical communities of towns around the world.”

And, the Mayor said, “The release of ‘Lift Up Louisville’ is only the beginning. We will be issuing challenges later this week to cities around the world to produce their own collaborations so we can assemble a beautiful musical montage of this moment in history to remember the way we embraced the arts to get us through the difficulties of this time.”

Available via local independent label sonaBLAST! Records, the song is an artistic reflection and utilization of the online collaborative realm the world has experienced this past month

“I love Louisville’s diverse and collaborative arts scene, said Sollee. “It is one of the many reasons I’ve made my home in Louisville, and I’m proud that we’ve come together to share our affection for our city, its people, and our collective sacrifice to care for each other.”

Kertis said his Louisville-based creative agency was “proud to direct and edit the music video filled with friends about a place we love.”

“We’ve historically been interested in music projects, especially the intersection between music and community,” said Kertis. “‘Lift Up Louisville’ hits the mark on both, and we’re really proud to work on this with so many of our talented musician friends from around the state.”

The song was also featured in a piece on PBS Newshour Weekend on Sunday. It described the story behind the creation; watch their profile here.

Mayor Fischer and Abrams provided a sneak listen to a snipped from “Lift Up Louisville” on Friday, and will share the full song during a Tele Town Hall this afternoon.

Records and all major streaming services: All proceeds from LIFT UP LOUISVILLE benefit the One Louisville COVID-19 Response Fund:… Teddy Abrams – Piano and music Jim James – Lyrics and vocals Scott Carney – Lyrics and guitar Will Oldham – Vocals Patrick Hallahan – Drums and percussion Danny Kiely – Bass Carly Johnson – Vocals Sam Bush – Mandolin and vocals Michael Cleveland – Fiddle Jason Clayborn – Vocals Sharron Sales – Vocals Dani Markham – Drums and percussion Daniel Martin Moore – Whistle Cheyenne Mize – Fiddle and vocals Jacob Duncan – String/wind arrangement Scott T. Smith – Vocals Rayul Beatbox – Beatbox Jecorey Arthur – Rap Brigid Kaelin – Accordion Gabriel Lefkowitz (LO) – Violin Julia Noone (LO) – Violin Kathy Karr (LO) – Flute Matthew Karr (LO) – Bassoon Andre Levine (LO) – Clarinet Mixed/Mastered by Kevin Ratterman Produced by Ben Sollee Art by Hound Dog Press

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