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The late, great producer Jim Dickinson is quoted as saying that Jimbo Mathus is "the singing voice of Huck Finn." I'd reckon that hits the mark as well as anything.  Mathus has a mischevious yet curious sound that's decidedly and deeply American. It's a dependably smart catfish stew of deepfried genre explorations.

Jimbo keeps on humpin' it. Already brilliant with his bands Squirrel Nut Zippers and Knockdown Society, Mathus' new six-song album is as perfect a slice of Mathus' all-south-genre-encompassing sound mash as you're likely to get...yet.  It's a punk-country-soul-blues-boogieass-whatever-fest of good old honest small-town american dudes rockin'out with style and taste. Mathus and his friends carry pedigrees from Mississippi backroads, sidestreet basements and lake bars.  It's the boogie of a thousand years. Roots. Soil, crops, creeps and blood, cops and holy ghosts.  Mathus likes to do what he wants to do, say what he wants to say, and play what you wants to play, or he ain't feelin' it. And that's what it's all about, right? That feel?
If you are familar with Jimbo Mathus you will love this album. If you've never had the pleasure, please give Jimbo your money. 


FREE DOWNLOAD - miXendorp - Mashup of Howlin' Wolf & Big Mama's Red Rooster

  Little Red Rooster - Wolf + Big Mama (miXendorp edit) by m i X e n d o r p

SFV Acid - #2 | Album Feature

This is some totally baked stuff right here. SFV Acid make bonkers dance music for the 21st first century. It''s as if the 80's and 90's MIDI craze has come full circle  and back in style à la a more acidic (duh...) lens. I'm not trying to say Zane  Reynolds (the mastermind beyond SFV Acid) is on that tip. Honestly he probably has some sweet analog gear or something, who doesn't love that stuff these days) It must be something about the compositional structure mixed with the tones that's creating the reference to me. Each seem to have just the right amount of child-like playfulness and lack of pretension.

It's not all weirdo hysteric vibes though. When you get down to the nitty gritty Zane Reynolds has an understanding of the history of dance music, a knowledge that extends past the dawning of dubstep and ceaseless amounts of club ready minimal techno & house records that can make one want to vomit. There is a similarity here to adventurous techno pioneers such as Juan Atkins seen through a hypnogogic veil. A fun trip.

SFV Acid's #2 is available now via PPM Records

Michael Evans & David Nuss - Natch 6 | Album Feature

Michael Evans and Dave Nuss create a percussive jungle of sound unlike any others. It's not a surprise that when the two musicians came together they'd leave behind an beautiful mess of music in their wake. They are pushing the gamut for sure but how else could they get it done really?  Their entry in the Natch music series touches upon key elements of each musicians work over the years recalling moments of Nuss's involvement with the long running free improvisational group No Neck Blues Band who have become nothing more than an institution in New York's "underground" music community, while it touches upon any number of moments from Evans career with a vast number of collaborators over the years. 

Throughout Evans and Nuss's contribution focuses on what the two do best in the percussive alleys of their minds while also opening up their compositional reach into some fully formed song craft.  such as with track highlight "Dancing Stars". Beyond some loose thematic thread of dark hippie-isms gone awry into a psychedelic nightmare. A devotional air runs throughout creating an sonic atmosphere and vibe that similar attempts of a dark free improvisation can often lack when in the wrong hands. Definitely a keeper in the series. 

Michael Evans & Dave Nuss's entry into the Natch series is available now via Black Dirt Studios. Did I mention that it's free as always? So really there is no reason not to dig in and let the good times roll! 

You are what you Tweet... #openingceremony

Just in case you missed it... some great appearances in my tweetline:

@memorybanks: It's the taking part... Volunteeer actor Neil Smith reveals all: http://t.co/UYhNjYom #olympics

@kesterbrewin: Really spot on review of Olympic #OpeningCeremomy by @sarahlyall: http://t.co/AEzgXOtv < first sentence nails it.

@dpcmike: For those who'd like to understand the the Opening Ceremony a bit more… a superb & quick explanation! http://t.co/ghqWlZD2

@SimonGCutmore: Los Angeles Times review "it was bloody well wonderful.. part Charles Dickens, part Benny Hill". http://t.co/3R3C5k3J

@CityFaiths: Danny Boyle Olympics opening ceremony and Britains cultural landscape http://t.co/mqpsplax via @guardian - Good piece on amazing ceremony

@simonmayo: "Danny Boyle wins the Gold": The New Yorker's brilliant verdict on the humour & generosity of the opening ceremony http://t.co/84KrIIQV

@MartinWroe: 'Bespoke both destiny of Christian elect and pagan air of festival - elegiac, rejoicing.' #openingceremony http://t.co/v0vajpk5

@gtomlin: "A great empire, gone. Military might, ebbing. Sense of humor, very much intact" (Washington Post) #olympics

@dianabutlerbass: Beijing celebrated conformity; Britain celebrates creativity. #OpeningCeremony

@pmphillips: Danny Boyle: "Our show was the volunteers' show. If you want to judge us as an island, these people are the best of us" http://t.co/2iaKtO2W

@maggidawn: This is great: last para of Boyle's programme notes. http://t.co/Cj39Xnt4

@BBCBreaking: In pictures: The Olympic opening ceremony - the fireworks and the flames, David Beckham and Usain Bolt http://t.co/UOCZxcld #bbc2012


Loren Nerell - Point of Arrival | Album Feature

As synthesizers continue to whirl, in these times perhaps more than ever (or so it would seem), more unearthed gems of synthesized beauty continue to leak out of the crevasses of time. It's only natural I presume as the dust often needs to settle before any real understanding and excavation of the scene can take place. Loren Nerell's album Point of Arrival is one of these cases. At the time of it's original release being lost in the fabric of the day what with the original, and at the time totally unhip, New Age movement going strong and synthesizers being embedded within the popular music world's everyday language. There are always diamond's in the rough though and thanks to the folks at Forced Nostalgia Nerell's work has been given a second thought and all the 2.0 New Age kids (or had the number greatly surpassed this) can dig there mind body and soul into what came before.

On Point of Arrival a Nerell blends a myriad number of influences coalesce into a well thought out and entrancing adventure.  The album takes off with cold precision in opening track "Eldolon". It mixes bits of industrial elements and dance music, coming off like a serious cousin to the work of Chris & Cosey at the time. Things continue in this vein at moments dipping into the psychedelic end of electronic drones and even further into another post Throbbing Gristle act Coil came to be known for, if slightly more melodic in execution. The epic composition "Waves of Time" takes over the second half of this album. "Waves of Time" slowly builds over it's 22 minutes beginning with a quite hush of the ocean scape at dawn before the sequenced synthesizers and drum machine pulse fully takes form. It's the ideal ending for this adventurous record.

Loren Nerell's Point of Arrival is available now via Forced Nostalgia.

IT'S ON! DEEP BLUES FEST - CLEVELAND! September 22nd - 2012- Beachland Ballroom

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Saturday September 22 2012
15711 Waterloo Road, Cleveland, Ohio.
Twenty bucks and all ages so bring the little punks.


Terrific to see DBF/CLE happening again. I only wish I could be in attendance. Last years fest was a powerful and memorable night of good, hard, altpunkblues, meeting amazing people, hanging with friends new and olde, previously known and unknown, eating fantastic big city food in the lovely and historic city of Cleveland, Ohio and getting to hear the (non-dbf related) indescribable talents of Glen Schwartz for the first time, who was playing the small front bar of The Beachland Ballroom that night.  This year will prove even better.
Check this line-up:

Herbcraft - Flowering | Album Feature

Herbcraft are presenting some next level stuff right here. The action is in full bloom, minds are racing at a snails pace, and smoke is filling the room. It's a journey to the center of your third kind of trip and one to be taken seriously as Herbcraft has already settled into some serious psychedelic adventures with two LP's on Woodsist offshoot Hello Sunshine already under their belt. Maybe the group's name gave all of that away already though...

"California Poppy" and "Journey To The Center Of Your Hive" go far in demonstrating what's really going on here. In each track one can only imagine the lights were dimmed almost immediately letting incense guide whoever was present through their surroundings as the vibe sets in. Spiritual in nature, psychedelic in execution, it's hard not to relax and let the world wither away before all the smoke settles bringing you back into reality. A heavy trip indeed.

Herbcraft's Flowering is available now via Julia Dream Recordings.


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This is the thing I think I dig most about this alt-whatever-blues-sort-of-stuff is that the fans celebrate experimentation within the blues genre(s). Other fans can get pretty tight about what they think blues is. I dig bands that will first and foremost move my ass. But they've got to move my heart and mind as well.  

Delaney Davidson is one of those rare artists sound like they might be making it up as they go along but it sounds so damn good and brave that you're willing to take the ride with 'em. He's listening and listing hard, rollin' and tumblin', baby. Stickin' his left foot in. That's what it's all about. 

Eric Copeland - Flushing Meats| Track Feature

Eric Copeland is back with yet another solid 7" mind melter. The phase shifting, beat infused, audio trickery is still in full swing here, little surprise there. Copeland has built his entire solo career slowly advancing his unique blend of ADD riddled and THC infused music to new heights. His recent string of 7" singles has  given ground to him being a true connoisseur and purveyor of some the most experimental and accessible music out there today.

"Flushing Meats" reflects past efforts, most notably Alien in A Garbage Dump from 2009, while not necessarily retreading any ground. A tapestry of sound and intertwining rhythmic elements keep some forward momentum while never revealing in what direction anything is actually going in. The B side of "Gutterhouse" continues the perfect audio remedy for those looking to turn their reality into a oozing sugar sweet syrup mess. This is beyond noise, this is beyond crazy beats, settling on a new alien terrain. Copeland may be out of the garbage dump but he is still holding onto the key ideas that were fermented there in the first place.

Eric Copeland's "Flushing Meats" 7" is available now via Calico Corp.

Trabajo - "Bodega Cat" | Track Feature

Traversing some almost ancient ground here. Trabajo create a nice blend of electronics that seem to take a grab bag of influences before putting them all into the juicer for our delight. There are hints of musical fruits from all over the map ranging from kraut-rock like exercises in kosmiche introspection and moments of electro-ethnic forgery my mind readily associates with early Gang Gang Dance to name a few without ever really hitting the nail on the head.

The track highlight "Bodega Cat" from the group's EP (2012) is a foray into some pseudo-minimalist kalimba compositions. This ode to every corner store's feline friend is exacting in it's percussive precision building up the energy until some atmospheric vocals enter calling for a heavy drum breakdown. The rest of the album follows suit weaving in and out of a the blur of the a hot and busy street.

Trabajo's EP (2012) is available now from the group's bandcamp.

Volunteers Park - Tragic Pote | Track Feature

Stepping out on his own, Aviram Cohen (formerly of Silk Flowers and Soiled Mattress & The Springs), finds his own voice just fine. Volunteers Park acts as an extension of his former projects an eventual progression of the sound really developed with Silk Flowers hues of black comedy & an electronic music full of sequenced synths and drum machines whirling. The proceedings are now a bit more loose and dare I say intimate than any group can ever really pull off.

It seems like natural selection or progression has led to Volunteers Park. A statement that may seem funny when considering the almost entirely electronic nature of this music. But funny indeed as Cohen croons in "Tragic Pote" with all sincerity while speaking of some school-age trouble full of cavities and murdered bus drivers (which is way more endearing than how that may sound thanks to Cohen's particular singing voice). This is a short treat and hopefully there is more to come.

Volunteers Park's "Tragic Pote" is available now as via De Stijl.

An Interview With Casey Weber of Weber's Deck at French Lake, Minnesota

Art by Christoph Mueller, of course.
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Webers Deck runs every Sunday from 1-5pm, July 18th to September 2nd. A $5 donation is kindly requested for the bands but of course you are welcome to pay more. 

There's this guy in French Lake, Minnesota (northwest of Minneapolis) by the name of Casey Weber. He runs a popular, homemade house concert series called Webers Deck off of (naturally) the deck of his house. 

I've never had the opportunity to attend, since we live some nine-hundred miles apart, but I asked around and all reports were beyond glowing.  Words like "amazing" and "hidden jewel" were used by artists and fans alike to describe the shows Weber puts on.  It's a family-oriented event and operation that features an across the board representation of up-and-coming as well as established artists from the alt-blues/singer-songwriter/Americana (whatever that is) music scenes.  
I gave Casey Weber a holler to find out more about Webers Deck.  

I think once you read about Weber's philosophy you'll understand why this gig is special, and why people are willing to go all Field Of Dreams and travel thousands of miles and down the road to sit in a lawn chair on some dudes lawn in Minnesota and listen to live music.

So just who the heck is Casey Weber and why does everyone say such nice things about him? 

Oh boy.....that is a tough question. Well, I have amazing parents. Parents that have always been encouraging towards anything, and everything that I do. I guess they raised me to hold a pretty high standard of morals, values, and respect. I guess I try to treat people well, whenever they deserve it. The way I figure it, everytime you meet someone, it is a potential lifelong friend. And who can have too many of those? I have met such fine people, from all walks of life, from all over the world. I have     also done so many things in my life, that it is usually pretty easy to connect on some level with most folks. I just dig good people, and try to surround myself with them.

What is Webers Deck? How'd this thing get started?

Weber's Deck is a privately owned "venue" that is my back yard. I bought a house in central Minnesota, about a mile from the home that I grew up in. It is in a small town called French Lake that has a population of about 22 people. It is the epitome of small town rural America. Surrounded by farms it has been a great place to grow up. My roots grew deep here, and I never had the urge to leave, or move elsewhere. 

I always wanted to raise a family here. When the opportunity about 5 years ago came up to buy a home (1 of 5 homes in the town) in the town of French Lake, I jumped at it. I purchased the house in November, and once spring started coming around, talk of a housewarming party came up amongst my family, and close friends. I had always been a big fan of seeing live music, especially of the non-cover band type. I had some friends that were musicians, and decided that we might as well have some live music at the party. 

My friend Chad Wiles, and I built a deck on the backside of my house, and we got to thinking that it would make a nice stage for the musicians that were playing at the housewarming party. We decided that the railing on the deck that faces the large part of the yard, would be built as such so that it was easily removeable. Given my very limited carpenter skills, this was a feat, but with Chad's help, we got it done, and it looked great. 

The housewarming party came, and I had Chad Wiles, Drew Peterson, and 10W40 (A Minneapolis band) play, and it went over great. Everyone had a great time, and it seemed like something that would be possible more often than just that one time. So, we talked to another friend by the name of Charlie Parr, and explained that we would like to have a "house concert" on a Sunday afternoon, and invite the locals, and friends to come enjoy it. We explained that we would just take donations from the crowd, and that would be the pay. Charlie Parr said yes, and we put Drew Peterson on the bill for the day also. We promoted it lightly to the locals, and our good friends, and the weather cooperated. The first show we ever had, drew 90 fans to the yard, and the donations given were pretty decent for a one hour set on a Sunday afternoon. So, from then on, we just decided to put word out to bands, explain the way things work, and if they would just give it a shot, and have a little faith in us that we could draw a decent crowd. 

The weather kept cooperating, tthe crowds kept coming, and the bands kept playing. The community came together at these shows it seemed. You could look out at the crowd, and see the bikers mingling with the hippies. The farmers chatting with the visiting folks from the cities. It truly showed the universal thing that we all have in common, and that was music. It was bringing people together, and it felt good to see that. 

It gave me this sense of a 1920's style social. When the brass bands used to gather in the town square, and the community would come out. I think much of that is lost nowadays, with technology, and the fast paced life that so many folks lead. Many people don't get out to meet their neighbor anymore. To shake hands, share stories. It also felt good, that so many people were coming to see bands, that traveled here from all over the country. Not knowing their names, or their songs. Just coming, because we had put so many great bands up, that they had faith that no mattter who the band was for that day, they were going to be amazing. Bands that folks rarely had the opportunity to see, because of the huge amount of cover bands that played the local venues every single weekend. There was rarely a band around here that wrote, or played their own songs. There are so many amazing original bands that travel the country, that I want to expose to people. In doing such, I am convinced, that many of these bands, have lifelong fans that originated at Weber's Deck.

Do you pick and book all the bands yourself? 
This has to be a big undertaking for one dude. Do you have a day job? 

I do have a day job. I work for an insurance company. My day consists of driving all over central, and western Minnesota, looking at damaged vehicles. It involves a lot of driving, which also gives me a lot of time to be able to turn the radio up as loud as I want, and listen to whatever I want. 

I pick, and book the bands. Many are suggested to me by friends. Many, are fans that have suggested Weber's Deck to the bands, and they have contacted me about playing here. I listen to a lot of "genres" of music, so there is a mix out here. I listen to everything from blues, deep blues, folk, Americana, rock, country, punk country, punk bluegrass, bluegrass, etc. 

The nice thing about the bands that play out at Weber's Deck, is that many of them cross these "genres", and have so many elements of several of them in their music. One band last year, Left Lane Cruiser, crossed from R.L. Burnside, and went into Ted Nugent, and they do it so well, with their own style thrown in there, that people dig it. We don't do "cover bands" at Weber's Deck. Sure, there might be a cover played here and there by a band, but it is usually obscure cover songs, that much of the crowd wouldn't know it was a cover anyway. 

The bands that play here, have spent their time pouring their heart into writing songs, touring, being away from family for their music. Many, going broke along the way, yet, still decide to push on, and play every little bar, festival, or deck with a backyard along the way. It has gotten tough over the past few years. I recieve hundreds of requests every year to play out here, from bands from all over the country. I have an available 42 slots each summer to fill, so many have to be turned down, or told that we are booked up. It is hard having to tell folks year after year, that we are unable to put them up on the deck. Folks that arre taking the time to e-mail me, and offer to play. I wish I could have a spot for all of them. I wish I could give them all an opportunity to play in front of the hundreds of fine fans that venture to French Lake every Sunday in the summertime. Because, these truly, are the best fans I have ever come across. 

Many folks ask me why it is, that we start the shows in July, and not earlier. The reason for that, is because there is a balance that I have to try and keep. A balance between music, Weber's Deck, family, and work. Often times, this is very tough. I have a wonderful woman in my life, that I will be marrying in August of 2013, and she has two kids. Kids that like to go camping, and go to the lake, and enjoy the things that everyone esle gets to enjoy in the summertime. I reserve the first half of the summer, to provide that to them, without having to worry about my obligations to the shows. Summertime is also our "busy" time at work, as we get many hail storms, and tornadoes that damages vehicles. I tend to work a lot of overtime, especially in the first half of the summer. It is a challenge, and sometimes overwhelming to just try and balance family life, and work, without having shows. I think anyone can understand this. Especially anyone with a family.

Absolutely.  So, when considering bands for Webers Deck what are you looking for?  Is your decision simply based on your personal taste or are their other requirements? 

There is not really any sort of requirement, other than it having to be a band that does mostly original music. Really, if I dig the band, and I think that the crowd that we draw will dig the band, that is usually all it takes. One requirement of the bands, is that they respect the fact that this has been built into a family friendly show, and that profanity is kept to an absolute minimum. Also, the band must be respectful of our fans, and us as well. I don't deal well with primadonna's either. Thankfully, we haven't had any. 

 We try to treat the bands that come to perform for us well. We try to provide good food (thanks to Whiskey Pete, our local BBQ chef), provide drink, and if they need it, a place to crash. We try to treat the bands that come to visit more like friends, and family than just performers coming to play.

You've had Left Lane Cruiser, Black Diamond Heavies, Charlie Parr, Tom Vandenavond, Scissormen, Ten Foot Polecats, Smokestack and The Foothill Fury, Shilo Brown. Who else? 

Wow. The list is pretty huge. We have had bands from all over the country. Along with those that you already mentioned, we have had Bob Wootton (Johnny Cash's longtime lead guitarist), Joe & Vicki Price, Peewee Moore, Possessed By Paul James (Konrad Wert), Larry And His Flask, The Calamity Cubes, Willy Tea, The Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit, Cletus Got Shot, Bernie King & The Guilty Pleasures, Chad Wiles, Drew Peterson, 40 Watt Bulb, Six Mile Grove, Mississippi Gabe Carter, Go Long Mule, Crankshaft, Brian Cagle, and many other great, amazing bands that have traveled from near and far.

All shows are no-guarantee, donation only ($5 suggested).  How does that work out?  Are you able to break even?  I understand all proceeds go to the bands? 

So far, it has seemed to work out OK. We suggest a $5 donation, and of those donations, it all get's split up at the end of the day, and ALL of the money is given to the musicians. It has never equaled out to be $5 per person though, given our count. It usually averages out to right around $3 per person. We never want to obligate folks to have to put money in the bucket. 

 One of the goals out here, is to understand that times are tough. The economy truly sucks, and many folks do not go out anymore, especially to see music, because of the costs that are involved. A typical night going out consists of gas money to get there, a cover charge, dinner, drinks, babysitter costs, etc. A couple could easily spend over $100 in just one night to go out and see a live band. We would just like to see $5 per person, and allow folks to bring their own drinks. 

 Kids are always free, and we strongly encourage folks to bring their kids out to spend the day. I think it is important for kids to be exposed to music, especially original music. On any given Sunday, there are 30-50 kids running around the yard. Some throwing water baloons, some playing with toys, some sitting in front of the stage watching the music. Once in awhile, a kid will jump up and start dancing in front of the band. As far as breaking even- that has never happened. We try, and strive to provide a venue where folk won't go broke to be able to go out. For 4 hours on a Sunday, folks can spend a relatively small amount of money, and really enjoy themselves. As well as be able to meet like minded, kind folks to socialize with. 

 There are costs involved, that I have taken on as basically a "cost of doing business". I have invested roughly $10,000 in a PA system over the past few years, purchased a porta-potty, upkeep, electric bills, etc. These are all things that I pull out of my pocket to buy for the sake of being able to have these shows. I have to put additional insurance on the property, due to the amount of people that come out. This is a cost that I take the brunt of, but over the past few years, many of the fans have stepped up, and donated money to help pay for the insurance costs. On average, the fans have paid for over half of the insurance costs each year, and it really helps. That bill is a pretty big nut to crack on my own, and I am so grateful for those that help by donating just to make these shows possible. It shows me that the shows are important to many folks. They take ownership in a sense, and really help to keep the shows going. I have many fine folks come out each Sunday for no pay, to volunteer to help. Help set up, put garbages out, get coolers set up for the musicians with drinks, clean up after the show etc. People like Chad Wiles, Tyler Martin, my family, Jerry Raabi, Whiskey Pete. These people come out every Sunday, to help set up for the show. They stay late to help clean up, and put everything away. Without these folks, these shows would not be possible. I am so grateful for these people, and it would be nearly impossible to be able to pay them back for all that they do.

How have your (few) neighbors and the town responded to having this influx of people? I know Chris Johnson had a heck of a time putting together the first couple Deep Blues Festivals because of concerns from locals worried about noise and attracting the notorious "bad element" that comes with outdoor music concerts.

Living in such a small town, you would think that it might be an issue. In our little town, we have wonderful neighbors. The Lantto's. They also own the one small convenience store/gas station that is directly across the street from us. I know, that the influx of hundreds of people each Sunday, helps their business by bringing more people in the door. Be it to fill their gas tanks, buy ice, snacks, pop, etc. The Lantto's have been gracious enough to allow us the use of a 5 acre field for parking. They come out every Sunday to enjoy the music, and truly are wonderful neighbors. I guess I have never recieved a complaint yet. It is a pretty mellow, laid back community. 

It seems on most Sundays, I can look back at the crowd, and usually see most of my neighbors sitting out there in a lawnchair enjoying the music. This really makes me feel good, as I see it as a support system from those that are closest to me. These folks are embracing something that is bringing recognition to a town that normally is just driven through. A town that literally if you blink, you would never know you drove through it. I find it VERY important to shop, and support local businesses. We have several surrounding our little community. Lantto's Store, French Lake Butcher Shop, Charlie Kaskinen septic, the Bajari's that own Windy Hill Auto Parts, Oak Realty of Annandale, French Lake Auto Parts, Russell's Bar in Annandale. All of these businesses give us a huge support system, and have all helped immensly in making these shows possible. Be it through support, donations, help. I try to promote, and support the businesses that show us support.

The stage is just the deck on your house.  Seems like I heard mention of a barn you were working on?

Yes, the stage is just the deck on the back of my home, out the patio door. The end railing has been removed, and placed in my garage for safe keeping. It usually goes right back on the deck after the shows, before the snow flies. We had a friend with a barn near my home. He had mentioned that we could use it to have a show in, so Chad Wiles wired it, our friend Josh Stanley built a stage, and we invited some friends. We had The Calamity Cubes (Brook, Kody, and Joey), Shilo Brown (Bloody Ol' Mule), Brian Cagle, Willy Tea, Tom VandenAvond, Drew Peterson, Chad Wiles, Bernie King and his wife Julie, Chris Laumb, Brady Perl, and Rachael Resist come out and play tunes for us all night. It was more of an "Invite only, songwriters session in the barn". We had some good friends travel quite a ways for it. Our friends the Petermans came down from Winnipeg, and Carry May came in from Vancouver to spend the week with us. It turned into one of those nights. One of those shows. The kind that you could probably never replicate, no matter how hard you try. Just a "magical" air surrounding the place, and the people. The finest musicians (in my opinion) all gathered in one place, brought back to what it used to be. Songs in a barn. It was also a stop on the way for Willy Tea & Tom VandenAvond's tour project called "Searching For Guy Clark's Kitchen". They filmed the show, and our friend Tommy The Beard recorded it. 

 Turns out, that someone, at some point in the night, stole something out of the landowners home. I found out about it that next Monday, and decided that we would no longer have shows there. I have an obligation of responsibility whenever I have shows, and this really shocked me that someone would have stolen something. The landowner was very forgiving, and we have yet to find out what was stolen, or who may have done it, but it really destroyed me for quite some time. I was ready to say "screw it", and just stop having shows of any sort. If I couldn't trust the people that I invited to this show, then who could I trust? How could I possibly trust hundreds of people at my home for Weber's Deck? After losing sleep for weeks over the whole ordeal, I guess I just kind of decided that it was an isolated incident, and that I just need to be wary of folks, yet, still hold the faith that the people that come to my shows are honest. I have also made a decision to not organize and put together shows where I don't have total responsibility over whatever may happen. Again, I have an inherent obligation of responsibility towards anything that might happen, and I don't want anyone to have to carry that burden on their shoulders. 

 My goal in the future is to eventually build, or move an old barn on to a piece of property. Make it so that it can be heated in the winter time, so that we can carry on these shows throughout the winter each year. That would be my dream.

Do you offer any beverages or food concession? Bayport BBQ needs a mobile unit. 

 Bayport DOES need a mobile unit!! Chris Johnson does one HELL of a job there with his food. Man, now you got my mouth watering, and me hankering for a trip down there!! 

 Due to insurance reasons, I cannot offer food or beer for sale at Weber's Deck. Usually on the first show, and last show of the season, I pick up a whole hog, and my buddy Whiskey Pete, who has kind of become the "king of the hogroast", comes over, and smokes a hog in his hogroaster. He donates all of his time. He always does a real nice job. We just put some tables out by the hog, invite folks to bring something to share on a "potluck" type basis, and take donations to help pay for the hog, charcoal, paper plates, forks, etc. People seem to love it. I think home done BBQ always goes well with a show like this. 

 Schell's Brewery that brews the finest beer on earth (Grain Belt) sponsors, and donates beer to the musicians each year. We try to make the musicians comfortable, and do whatever we can to make their experience out here enjoyable as well. Sometimes, this means sitting back, and having a few beers while they listen to the other bands either before, or after their set. This can easily add up to an additional $40 a week in expenses out of my pocket. So, I e-mailed the folks at Schell's, and they offered to provide free Grain Belt to the musicians for the year. It really took a financial weight off my shoulders, as it was easily $160 a month for us to cover. Schell's is also a local Minnesota brewery, and we like to keep things local out here. Local realtor Steve Bruggeman, who owns Oak Realty of Annandale also donates all the cases of water, ice, and a big cooler that we need throughout the summer. Oak Realty has really been very supportive of us, and they truly appreciate the "small town feel" that Weber's Deck seems to capture.

Where is Webers Deck located in relation to Minneapolis? 

Weber's Deck is in French Lake, MN. Right in the center of the state. It is about 50 miles west of Minneapolis, and about 30 miles South of St. Cloud.

Who do you have scheduled for this summer's round of shows? 

So far, in no particular order: Tom VandenAvond, 4 On The Floor, The Calamity Cubes, Crankshaft & The Gear Grinders, The Harmed Brothers, Husky Burnette, Mississippi Gabe Carter, Chris Laumb, Charlie Roth, Peewee Moore, Teague Alexy, The Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank, Drew Landry, Westbound, Joe & Vicki Price, The Scissormen, Bernie King & The Guilty Pleasures, Davis Coen, Jeff Ray & Hurricane Harold, Jay Lang, No Man String Band, Bloody Ol' Mule (Shilo Brown), Rusted Revolver, Chad Wiles, Go Long Mule, Matt Ray & Those Damn Horses. There are some others that I am just awaiting confirmation on as well. So, this list will have some folks added to it. That is just a tentative list so far for the year. 

Anything anybody else needs to know about Webers Deck? 

We truly try our hardest to put together shows, that not only the crowd can enjoy, but hopefully the musicians can enjoy as well. I have no interest whatsoever to see any profit out of this. Heck, one of these days it would be nice to just break even!! I can honestly say, that I just love seeing folks bring their kids out. Their parents, and grandparents. People of all kinds. Hippies, bikers, farm folks. 
 It feels good to be able to see people come together for this. And to be able to put the bands that I love in front of these people, and maybe, just maybe, turn a couple more folks into fans. There are a lot of people that put a lot of their time into this to help out. People that I will likely never be able to pay back what I owe them of their time, and effort. People that are more than happy just being told thanks. I have met so many good people while doing this. People that have turned into friends. Hell, people that have turned into family. It isn't me that makes this happen. It is the volunteers, the musicians, the fans. The people willing to donate, and support. These are the people that make Weber's Deck work. 

 I feel privelaged to just be able to put my name on this. Who knows when, why, or how it will all end. I don't think I will ever let go of my love of the music. The love of putting on a great show will never go away either. Hopefully I will be able to help put together shows when I am an old fart. Hopefully people keep coming. Until then, I will just keep doing what I can. That is all anyone can ask, right?

Damn straight. Thanks for doing this Q n' A, Casey. 
I hope y'all have a nice summer! 
 Thanks man!! I appreciate the "interview", and being able to possibly open some folks' eyes to what we are trying to do. Hopefully be a model for other folks throughout the country.

Sidi Touré - Ni See Ay Ga Done | Video Feature

Again the sounds of North Western Africa, and more specifically the Sahel region in Mali in particular here, bleed out into the world's musical vocabulary. This time it is Sidi Touré who is stepping out and shedding light on the beautiful heritage and roots of real blues music. "Ni See Ay Ga Done" offers an energetic look into the acoustic folk of the region. Guitars strum and creating a weave of complex picking patterns, the pitter patter of percussive elements float in the background while Touré's voice comes out front and center leading the listener through it all.

The video in all it's highly saturated color creates a blurry montage of Touré's homeland. Through all the beauty and exotic (at least to these American eyes) landscapes and architecture the region seems to stand at a dichotomy of vast introspection and deeply communal living. A way of life made out of necessity rather than some idyllic vision of escapism and romance. This fact is driven home when we are able to address to the true horrors that northern Mali and Touré's home country are facing. Severe drought, revolution, and extremist political and religious thought have dominated Mali's northern country forcing even the longtime Tuareg inhabitants who have been engaged in a decades long conflict with the government over creating a sovereign state to enter into an even fiercer battle with Islamist extremists vying for control of the area. A sad state of affairs and one that does not aide the plight of the local people in such a time of hardship.

Sidi Touré's second full-length album Koïma is available now via Thrill Jockey.

Gustavo Dudamel, let us be numinous...

The phenomena that is El Sistema, the Venezuelan 'system' that introduces young kids to playing musical instruments in an orchestral, classical music community which lands up changing their and their families lives has been well documented. Now a good few years since its inception by Maestro José Antonio Abreu, the orchestra has removed the word Youth from it's name and has become the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela (SBSOV). Along with the world renown and highly respected conductor, Gustavo Dudamel, the combination is a powerful force that bucks the traditional enclave within the classical music world.

Even if you have the T-Shirt, watched the videos, seen the Prom broadcasts, nothing can prepare you for the experience of seeing them in action live, it is totally overwhelming, the impact it had on me is still fresh and imprinted in my consciousness. There is so much more to say and I will endeavour to explain more in due course, but the overall impact is one of an intense spiritual and worshipful moment that captivates everyone in the room. Performers, conductor and audience find themselves caught up in unison, a rare and numinously transformative place.

Whilst the orchestra's appearance in 2007 won hearts with robust performances of Bernstein and Latin composers, this recent concert in June 2012 depicted above demonstrated their ability to perform principally European works with astonishing sublimity.

However, for me the moment occurs right at the end...

Move the time bar to 1hr46mins45s, the start point for the encore, humbly introduced by Gustavo, Sir Edward Elgar's Nimrod. Then enjoy the performance, again, totally sublime, and wait to see what happens right at the end of the piece. There is a full 28 seconds of silence, a pin drop pause, a selah, before any applause starts.

Everyone is caught up in the extraordinary moment and it is so clear to see the effect it has had on orchestra and conductor. What is notable that neither Elgar's nod to his buddy Jaegar nor the subsequent notion of the piece being so linked to Churchill's funeral were anywhere in the ether, this is a new and transcendent interpretation that only comes with fresh ears and eyes...

...we have so much to learn!


TiJUANA HERCULES Play The Almanack Of Bad Luck

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Photo of Tijuana Hercules stolen from the brilliant Joni Kat Anderson.
It sums up the band nicely - Heads down and rollin'.
Mr. Johnson told me about Tijuana Hercules a few months ago.  They're one of those bands that have so much cool stuff happening that for me at least, I had to take small bites to get in to them. I'm still crackin'. They're deceptive. So simple and yet....you take a look at the band photo I posted and probably think "Huh? Looks like some olde dudes makin' some kind of racket. So?" You'd be half-right. It's a racket and clatter, blather and smoke. It's Hasil Adkins vs Flat Duo Jets with Captain Beefheart's horn section and Zoot Horn Rollo as referee. It's dank & doped-up voo-doo era Dr. John vs Rocket From The Crypt doing Bored and 5'1" Iggy. 

Get some!
Tijuana Hercules is led by a primatavist Georgian named John Forbes who acts as Master of Ceremonies, singer, cartoonist, twelve-string guitarist, songster and testifier.  Forbes straps himself with anywhere from one to fourteen players playing horns, keys, sometimes a couple drummers, and most anything else they can get ahold of to wail on. It's one hell of a sound.  Free and primal, dirty blues-based, it's pure bottled smokey amber and the criminal sin of knowing the one your with.  It's the soulful Romweberian sound of Hasil's country hunchin'. It's The Stooges covering early Tom Waits, all the while blasting thru with a sometimes shamboling, sometimes Don Garlits vs Shirley Cha-Cha Muldowney lowered and louvered rat rod of souped-up fully-blown custom rock and blues with rusted chrome sidepipes. 

Y'all need this.
I got mine on rootbeer brown vinyl.
Twelve tracks recorded live (but for horns and some backing vocals) on the band's own Black Pisces Records label out of Chicago. The Almanack Of Bad Luck rips, roars, boogies and howls its blues-style racket like it's going out of style.  
 Don't let it.

Tijuana Hercules have three products available:
Almanack Of Bad Luck - cd/vinyl
When The Moon Comes Up Wild (ep) $5
Tijuana Hercules - cd
Fightin'Off The Evil Eye/The Undertaker Cancelled - 7"

You can contact them HERE.

New Singles: A Sunshine State of Mind by The Soul of John Black

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John Bigham dba The Soul Of John Black is doing exactly what i've been talking  about to people for years. Don't release an album and leave it at that. An album is the last thing you should want to be doing. Release singles.

That's all we have time for. I'm rarely going to sit down and listen to any band for 60-75 minutes. I bet you're the same way. So, why not deliver singles? A cool colored vinyl 45 w/free download would be perfect. Or a collection of digital singles, as JB is doing, released between now and late fall. Two songs per month. You have a chance to really, actually listen to the songs for a change, while waiting for the next months single. Plus, the artist cannot slack. Delivered two songs at a time, there's no room for filler. Make it special. Win/Win. Two songs for a buck seventy-five in any digital format? Why not?
 But, i'd pay more for a vinyl 7" w/download. Just sayin'. If y'all want to last in the game you have got to get creative and bring on the new birth of the cool. Welcome to the future. Join us.

Let's get to the music. 

JB's new single hits off with Lemonade. Three-minutes and twenty-seconds of taut, molten funk-jam extolling the joys of squeeezing those lemons all night long
The B side is the type of mid-tempo thang that JB is so good at. Summertime Thang is a sweet and delicious, smoooth, super pop soul confection that reps the olde school respectfully without dressing up for it. The song simmers with longing for summer lovin' "after making so much love through the winter." Steamy, baby. 

If The Soul Of John Black can keep up this level of goodness from hit it to quit it, A Sunshine State Of Mind will be his best set yet. Rock the two streams below then throw JB some $ummer lovin'. Support the artists you love. You both deserve it.

BONUS: Quick clip of JB w/Nikka Costa paying tribute to Chuck Brown:

Samara Lubelski - Wavelength | Track Feature

Samara Lubelski seems to do no wrong. Whether she's behind the board helping engineer and record some classic recordings by any number of fantastic "underground" groups such as Black Dice or Oneida to name just a couple or in the limelight with her own extensive body of work solo and with her previous group Hall of Fame there just always seems to be something there. The right blend of gentle, melodic folk and bits of all of psychedelic noise seep into everything she has a hand in.

"Wavelength", taken from Samara's upcoming album of the same name, stands out in her catalogue as one of the most upbeat fast tempo songs she has yet to release with any of her previous albums or projects. Yes the floral guitar passages remain but it's as if she's had a strong cup of coffee before setting out on this work. It suits her too, the instrumental track soars into the ethers of space and time before returning home bringing with it a small gift from the universe straight to your home speaker system.

Samara Lubelski's Wavelength will be available via De Stijl Records this July 24th.

Tin Horses - American Radiance | Album Feature

This is some Rock N Roll stuff right here, capitalized in all it's glory. Ramshackle to a tea and with a total unpretentious attitude that can catch you off guard if you're not looking out. Tin Horses hailing from Philadelphia, PA let their guitars blaze and their classic flags fly high. Coming strong out of the gate with tracks such as "Amphetamine" & "You Took Care of Me While I Was Dyin" showcasing some touching moments of narrative story telling that seems to be quickly vanishing or being obscured in the current musical landscape.

It may be worth mentioning that the group share main man Kiel Everett with the dirge fueled rockers Purling Hiss. Where that project usually tends towards an overblown fury that takes in hard psychedelia and noise-rock to great affect Everett and the rest of Tin Horses set out on a dusty road of americana rock. A more restrained Crazy Horse come to mind with Everett's charming nasal drawl keeping everything in focus and the guitars keeping everything moving.

Tin Horses American Radiance is available now on CD & free download on their bandcamp.

TiNQi8 - Lap Rider Steel

My English pal Hayley turned me on to this French dude named Oliver who performs as a One-Man Band called TiNQi8 (we believe pron: tin-qu-weet). Check out this sick, gorgeous guitar::

In Memoriam, Pete King, missed, never forgotten

Friend, brother, soulmate, kindred spirit... Pete was all these and much more. The song claims 'a good heart... is hard to find', yet the word 'good' serves insufficient justice to what an amazing person Pete was. Thoughtful, kind, generous, quick witted and humorous yet he was also one who knew his own mind, taking key decisions with confidence.

And PK (in After The Fire lingo) was, of course, a sublimely brilliant drummer. I can still recall a couple of shows where the rest of us turned round and watched in amazement as he completed a seemingly impossible fill that he'd already embarked upon!

Despite being such a strong and super fit individual it was to be cancer that was his undoing. Strangely, at an early ZipcodeS gig in 1983, when a close friend of ATF already in terminal decline from the same disease arrived in a wheelchair, PK confided in me that he foresaw himself landing up in the same state. Naturally, I dismissed it at the time, now that prophetic remark is a dark ghost in my memory bank.

He was the baby in After The Fire and we all looked out for PK as our younger brother. Yet with his stint depping in ELO and later as a full member of top flight German band BAP, he landed up becoming the most successful musician of us all.

Personally, I miss him dreadfully and I am well aware I am not alone. Conversations with close friends and family regularly land up remembering him. Furthermore BAP nobly braved the potential emotional black hole by recording their deeply personal tribute, as above.

When our post funeral posse stopped off for some sea air by Sheringham waterfront 25 years ago I felt this moment when Pete whizzed past nearby 'up there', just for a split second. And I had this overwhelming sensation that he longed for us to delight in his new incarnation rather than suffer the grief of our loss...