Saturday, December 15, 2007

musicians who have influenced me, been my role models, my mentors, my guiding spirits - in no particular order (part 1):

margot leverett, my younger sister, made it in new york and europe, at the top of her game, as a klezmer clarinetist. think carefully about what you want, she told some students here one time when she was visiting. you can do it. she put every ounce of her expressive ability into her clarinet, and you can hear it. every whine, laugh, moan, cut, rag, nag, loving smother, etc., that i heard as a child- it's right there.

phil ajioka and his partner tom albanese, may have the partner's name wrong, a couple of blues players in iowa in the seventies. they called themselves mudcat- phil lived in my house. iowans, 95% white, would blink on hearing blues from a japanese-american (from hollywood) slide player and an italian-new jersian harmonica player, but the music was excellent. the desire to play fiddle was born in me when i could hear things banjos couldn't play. for years they played up iowa, wore it out, & left. too bad for iowa.

chrissie hynde who is from my hometown of cleveland (or nearby) and not ashamed of it, and decided, rock is what we do, in the anchor of the rust belt, & i can do it as well as anyone. you can be proud of a hometown, even if it has a complex about itself. pretenders- a good name for a band, too.

scotty hayward, kalimbaman, plays african thumb piano, in the heart of iowa, has ten kids, two more than me, and rocks. one of the first guys to get me to hear african music, more about that to come.

john hartford, followed his spirit, sang about what he loved, steamboats; went to nashville and made it, but came back to the river to go up and down the river playing dinky towns like murphysboro, where i heard him once before he died. could fiddle and sing at the same time, but also made music with mouth, lips, feet, various extremities, giving the sound of a soul orchestra virtually every time he played. wrote dozens, hundreds of songs, gentle on my mind, one of the best i know of.

linda ronstadt, cashed in her pop fame and did canciones de mi padre, on my list this season. my own padre wasn't much of a singer, but i've heard scottish and quebecois bands that must have touched something on my mother's side, one year i went to the winnipeg folk festival, quite by chance and liked the way they used "folk" to mean everything from american r&b, pete seeger to the tannahill weavers & ma tante alys.

robert hoyt, made his own cd (listen to "this star"), may have given up music, don't know, cd looks a little like mine would, if i made it today, which reminds me, got a book and calendar to print, & it's snowin' like a dog.

more to come. i do this for regina rodriguez, who's a great singer, a blogger, and in a funk about music. hope i'll find some that reach y'all, i have still about twenty more, maybe. don't give up.


Blogger J-Funk said...

Did I ever tell you that D's dad's band almost went on tour with Linda Ronstadt? I need to have a listen to her.

I like your list! I feel inspired. I would put YOU on my list.

10:19 AM  

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