Pete & Maura Kennedy
At well over a million miles of roadwork, including two stints as members of Nanci Griffith’s Blue Moon Orchestra, Pete and Maura Kennedy show no signs of slowing down either on tour or in the creative realm.
Originally based in Austin, Texas, they spent a few years in the Washington DC area before moving to the East Village in New York City, where they have been based for most of the last two decades. The Kennedys are known nationwide as the hosts of the late lamented Dharma Café program on Sirius Satellite Radio, and on Broadway, they are regular cast members of Theatre Within’s annual tribute to John Lennon — working in that capacity with Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Jackson Browne, Cyndi Lauper and a host of others.
and check out in books:
Tone, Twang & Taste: A Guitar Memoir, by Pete Kennedy
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Band of Heathens
Performance Video — Heaven Help Us All
When The Band of Heathens decided to dub their sixth studio album of original material Stranger (its first since 2017’s Duende), the veteran band, formed in Austin, TX nearly 15 years ago, had no idea how prophetic that title would turn out to be. Although the name references the famed existential Albert Camus novel and Robert Heinlein’s sci-fi classic Stranger in a Strange Land, it also touches on the “strangers” who make up the band’s loyal fan base, who supported the band during this period with all touring canceled.
As co-founder Ed Jurdi acknowledges, it is certainly an unusual time to release a new album. “The strangest,” he says. “Maybe no time stranger. Since we started, there have been sweeping, revolutionary changes in the music business, but, in this global pandemic, we’re just a microcosm.”
“We’re really fortunate that we have been able to turn directly to our fan base during the pandemic,” adds fellow co-founder Gordy Quist. “The last few months we’ve spent four nights a week live-streaming personal private concerts to fans, and one night a week publicly live-streaming with the whole band Zooming in from their respective homes in California, Texas, North Carolina and Tennessee. At first it seemed very strange until
these walls started coming down and we realized how connected we are by the fabric of music.”
Extending the metaphor of Stranger even further. The Band of Heathens traveled to another city, Portland, OR, with a brand-new producer, Tucker Martine [The Decemberists, My Morning Jacket, Modest Mouse, Camera Obscura], and the result is something different – a more airy, intimate atmosphere, with added emphasis on songcraft and intricate arrangements set in a spacious sonic landscape that reinvents the band’s sound. These are songs stripped of pretense, but teeming with the emotion borne of personal experience, as has been The Band of Heathens’ method from the very start. Stranger moves off into a new place, but still echoes the group’s artful songwriting and multi-layered narrative observations.
The Stranger was released in 2020 and is a top ten roots rock album riding high in the charts.Post Views: 2,291
Willy Porter is a contemporary American rock musician and singer-songwriter from Mequon, Wisconsin. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. In April
Willy Porter Biography
by Richard Skelly – from Allmusic.com
Like Greg Brown, John Hammond, Leo Kottke, Stephen Fearing, Richard Shindell, Kelly Joe Phelps, and so many others, Willy Porter is often at his strongest as a solo act. He does work with a band periodically, but given the economics of touring in recent years, he seems to perform more frequently accompanying himself with guitar and mandolin. Porter honed his chops the natural way, busking across Europe and playing every little coffee house and dive bar on both sides of the Mississippi. He’s a veteran performer who takes his audiences with him on the journey. He elicits a rare kind of communication between artist and audience, mostly because he’s able to read his audiences so well.
Porter was raised near Milwaukee, and his first big breaks were playing theater-sized shows there and in Madison. As could be expected from someone from this part of the country, there’s an element of blues in Porter’s singing and songwriting and in most of his live shows, although he’s best thought of as a contemporary singer/songwriter, straight out of the world of folk music. He began playing viola, a notoriously difficult instrument to master, in his youth, but found he lacked the discipline for classical music as a career path. He had a revelation in his teens when he found Leo Kottke’s album, “6 & 12 String Guitar.” Kottke‘s playing opened up new vistas for Porter, who began playing guitar after dropping his viola studies.
As the occasion or tour dictates, you can catch Porter solo or with a backing band of veterans from Wisconsin.Post Views: 90
Eric Brace (and Last Train Home)
Eric Brace runs Red Beet Records and makes music on his own, with Last Train Home and as a trio with Peter Cooper and Thomm Jutz. In 2003, he founded the label and he and his band, Last Train Home moved to East Nashville from the Washington DC area. Brace had been a journalist at the Washington Post and had run the Top Records label.
Eric returns to the DC area with some frequency, playing clubs where he built his loyal following and participating, as in the embedded video, in numerous BandhouseGigs productions, including the recent live stream “From BandHouse to Your House.”Post Views: 1,945