His songs have interested me for years thanks to Jorma Kaukonen faithful renditions. But I didn’t know anything about the person behind those songs.
I learned that Rev. Gary Davis rose from abject poverty in North Carolina and that he was nearly blind from birth. He taught himself how to play the guitar and to improvise songs. He got married and eventually moved to New York. He was a hardy soul who survived on the streets of Harlem as a musician. He taught guitar in order to make a living. He provided lessons right up until his death at age 76 in 1972. Amongst his star pupils were Dave Van Ronk, David Bromberg, Bob Weir, Roy Book Binder, and Stefan Grossman. Woody Mann who was his student for four years serves as co-producer and responsible for the music for Harlem Street Singer.
Blind Gary Davis was a purveyor of the Piedmont Blues which refers to a guitar style known as the Piedmont fingerstyle. It is characterized by a fingerpicking approach in which a regular, alternating thumb bass string rhythmic pattern supports a syncopated melody using the treble strings generally picked with the fore-finger, occasionally others.
His versatility as a musician allowed him to create the intersection of blues, folk, and gospel. His mastery of each idiom truly stood him apart.
The folk revival of the 1960s jettisoned Davis’s career. He performed at the Newport Folk Festival. Peter, Paul and Mary recorded his version of “Samson and Delilah“, also known as “If I Had My Way”.
Reverend Gary Davis who never had any children of his own, proudly claimed these guitar students as his sons. Thankfully for you and I they honor his tutelage by paying it forward.
A new documentary capturing the final concert of the 40th anniversary Patti Smith Horses worldwide tour has been announced. Horses: Patti Smith and her Band was directed by Steven Sebring and executive produced by Jimmy Iovine, and it will make its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 23. Footage for the documentary was shot at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles in early 2016.
It includes intimate backstage footage and features Patti Smith and her band, Lenny Kaye, Jay Dee Daugherty, Tony Shanahan, and Jack Petruzzelli, joined by guitarist Jackson Smith and Flea.
The film will be followed by a live performance by Smith and her band at the Beacon Theatre on Monday, April 23, 7 p.m.
Horses: Patti Smith and her Band documentary will be released exclusively on Apple Music at a later date.
Steven Sebring is a long time friend of Patti’s who previously directed Patti Smith: Dream of Life a 2008 documentary film.
My quest to discover more about the roots of Americana music has led me to explore the sound and artistry of Doug Sahm. He started as the founder and leader of the Sir Douglas Quintet who had a huge hit in 1965, “She’s About A Mover” that I recall witnessing on NBC’s Hullabaloo a musical variety show (1965-66).
His legend in Austin, Texas grew from there. He was a major influence on many other musician’s careers.
I have a thing for Tex-Mex music. I really enjoy the supergroup, the Texas Tornados that began with Doug Sahm, Augie Meyers, Freddy Fender, and Flaco Jimenez. As Fender once said, “You’ve heard of New Kids on the Block? We’re the Old Guys in the Street.”
Once this music gets in your bloodstream it never lets go of ya.
The award-winning documentary tells the story of a profound, essential, and, until now, missing chapter in the history of American music: the Indigenous influence. Featuring music icons Charley Patton, Mildred Bailey, Link Wray, Jimi Hendrix, Jesse Ed Davis, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Robbie Robertson, Randy Castillo, and others, RUMBLE shows how these talented Native musicians helped shape the soundtracks of our lives.
One of the most influential music pieces of all time is “Rumble”, the 1958 rock power chord by Shawnee rock guitarist and singer/songwriter Link Wray. Wray, who’s heavily featured in the film, was recently nominated for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018. The first song to use distortion and feedback, it was the only instrumental single to be banned from radio for fear it would incite violence.
Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World is now available to buy or rent:
The DELUXE PACKAGE only available here (limited distribution) gets you both the rental of the feature-length film and the SPECIAL DIGITAL EXTRAS material as well as two folders of images for your enjoyment!!! One folder has eight portraits of Storm taken by StormStudios photographer Rupert Truman on their various adventures together – traveling by train through the Rockies from Chicago to San Francisco, on a beach in Capetown for a cover shoot, the volcanic landscape of Lanzarote where the cover for Audioslave first record was shot, and more! Also included are two poster designs that were made for the film for the first screening of the film at South By Southwest and Storm’s own design for a screening of the film at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Downloadable and printable for your wall!!!!
The Grammy 2018 Nominations were announced today for the 60th Grammy Awards to take place at Madison Square Garden. They will air January 28th at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.
This category caught my eye.
Best Music Film:
One More Time With Feeling — Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds Long Strange Trip — (The Grateful Dead) The Defiant Ones — (Various Artists) Soundbreaking— (Various Artists)
Two Trains Runnin’ — (Various Artists)
I have seen three of the five films (marked in bold) this year. I have yet to process Nick Cave after trying several times to listen to him and his band on Spotify and Apple Music. Perhaps when I see the One More Time With Feeling documentary I will get the video/audio syntax I need to appreciate him better. Adds this film to my to-do list.
Being an active blues historian I was surprised to have not read about Two Trains Runnin’until today. I am eager to see this documentary as soon as its distribution widens.
I vividly recall experiencing the Pink Floyd concert documentary, “Pink Floyd:Live At Pompeii” in the early 70’s. It was a feast for the eyes and senses which I found transfixing.
45 years after Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour filmed ‘Live At Pompeii’ in the legendary Roman Amphitheatre there, he returned for two spectacular shows in July 2016. The performances were the first-ever rock concerts for an audience in the stone Roman amphitheater, and, for two nights only, the 2,600-strong crowd stood exactly where gladiators would have fought in the first century AD.
‘David Gilmour Live At Pompeii’ is an audio-visual spectacle, featuring lasers, pyrotechnics and a huge circular screen on which specially-created films complement selected songs, but paramount above all is the astonishing music and stellar performances.