Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Common Folk Music has moved to Wordpress

I've decided to move Common Folk Music to Wordpress since Blogger no longer meets my needs and is getting more difficult for me to work and post with constant error messages. I will continue to keep this site open for archival purposes, but for new posts you can find them at www.commonfolkmusic.wordpress.com. Thanks for you support while at this address and I look forward to having you at my new site.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Phil Cook & His Feat - Hungry Mother Blues

Megafaun member, Phil Cook is standing out and alone on his new album, Hungry Mother Blues. A completely instrumental record, Cook pays homage and shows reverence to a musical heritage by playing country-blues style guitar, resonator, and banjo. His musical awareness and tasteful compositions shine as he plays a single instrument with a relaxed passion and a personal message all the while tapping out time with his Feat . Each track on Hungry Mother Blues is dedicated to someone in Cook's life, whether it be a friend, a bandmate, or his unborn child and acts as a soulful, countrified instrumental love letter to these special people.

Hungry Mother Blues was recorded in a single day in the back room of Cook's North Carolina home during a rare ice storm. Unlike his 2009 recording which was taped during a violent thunderstorm, this record bares no sign of the weather. Instead, Cook's love for music and loved ones emanates through the songs providing the album with a warm and friendly vibe.

Opening with the breezy and melodic "Frazee, Minnesota," the album moves into other brilliant and artful tunes, each possessing a character of its own, like the people they have been written for.  The folk banjo in "Waiting 'Round the Oven Buns" is playful while the dobro work on "Lament and Lullabye" is graceful and gentle. There's added drama and purpose in the the bluesy resonator on "Ballad of a Hungry Mother" and a confidence can be found in "Last Steam Engine Train," a tribute to John Fahey. Ending on a melancholy note with "The Jensens," Hungry Mother Blues is a wonderful celebration of life and people through music. It's a great casual listen. Lasting a total of 20 minutes, the album is perfect for a summer afternoon spent on the porch sipping lemonade.

Stream & Purchase Hungry Mother Blues via bandcamp

06 - Ballad Of A Hungry Mother - Phil Cook and His Feat

Sunday, July 17, 2011

For Your Sunday Afternoon Viewing Pleasure: Phil Ochs - "The Highwayman"

Today, on "For Your Sunday Viewing Pleasure," I've decided to go old-school folk with Phil Ochs performing his rendition of my favorite ballad, "The Highwayman," written by Alfred Noyes.

Set in 18th century England, the narrative tells the story of a highwayman (a thief), who in love with the innkeeper's daughter, Bess, is betrayed to the authorities by the jealous stableman and escapes the ambush when Bess gives her life to warn him. Then, upon learning of her death, the highwayman avenges Bess' death only to be shot. However, death couldn't keep the lovers apart and on the "still of a winter's night" the lovers meet again. 

The ballad's vivid imagery and repetition, and Ochs' fast fingerpicking conveys a sense of both urgency and danger. And, though, this version has missing verses, Ochs still created an absolutely beautiful and haunting song. It brings a tear to my eye each time.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sean Siegfried - Backwoods

Sean Siegfried is folk guitarist from the United Kingdom who has been influenced by the work of Bert Jansch, Nick Drake, John Fahey and Dave Evans. After spending three years in the film industry, Siegfried has developed the skill of editing as well as the ability to create mood with just a six-string acoustic guitar.  His debut album, Backwoods, is a very short collection of six, self-penned solo guitar instrumentals which were written and recorded during the early months of 2011 in rural Devon. Mixing classical and contemporary guitar styles, Backwoods is theatric and melodic in a deeply calming manner.

Stream and Purchase Backwoods via bandcamp

Frederick Squire - Frederick Squire Sings Shenandoah and Other Popular Hits

Frederick Squire Sings Shenandoah and Other Popular Hits is the second album from the elusive Canadian folk singer-songwriter. Released shortly after Squire's 2010 debut March 12, the album was simply recorded with Squire sitting in a chair with two microphones around as he played the guitar, pump organ and sang. 

Frederick Squire Sings begins with the obscure and classic folk song, "Shenandoah," which dates back to the early 19th century, and continuing with the dusty sound up to the closing folk instrumental, "Theme From a Small Town." With deep vocals that slightly rise above a hush, Squire's voice has a way to make even the heaviest of subjects easier, and the album, a way to transport the listener to a quiet, sepia toned world where floorboards creak, the screen door squeaks, and wind gently blows through an open window.  

05 All Things Past Serve To Guide You On Your Way - Frederick Squire by commonfolkmusic

Pickering Pick - Tiger Balm

Pickering Pick's newest album, Tiger Balm, was released via Yer Bird Records on June 21. A collection of beautiful ballads enhanced by Sam Pickering Pick's innate understanding of music and his way with words.

Originally from the United Kingdom, Sam has been living in the United States for eight years and now calls Sacramento, California home. And, it's his English roots that may have helped him perfect these modern day ballads. As his faint English accent drifts amidst the soft acoustic guitar, simple melodies, and poetic lyrics, you're drawn into his personal world of gentle emotions becoming intimately connected to Pickering Pick and the album.

Purchase Tiger Balm
Yer Bird Records' Website

Pickering Pick - "Like A River" by Yer Bird Records

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mark Jungers - More Like a Good Dog Than a Bad Cat

Mark Jungers' new album, More Like a Good Dog Than a Bad Cat, is unadulterated Americana. A rootsy collection of tracks about a dead dog, coming of age, and love, Jungers went without digitally editing the record giving it a natural, free-flowing feel. Showcasing Jungers' songwriting talents, More Like a Good Dog has Jungers writing or co-writing all but one song on the disc, the vintage, bluesy rocker "Heel to Toe," which was written by Phil Stevens. He also receives help from superior songwriters Owen Temple on "Can't Take it With You" and Adam Carroll on "It's All You" and "Swinging in the Wind." Another well known Texan, Susan Gibson, who wrote the hit "Wide Open Spaces" lends her vocals on "Riverdown" and "Tired of Being Lonely," which Carroll also makes a vocal contribution. Opening with an infectious gospel inspired "Show Me a Sign," moving into the twangy "Riverdown," and ending with the witty "Swinging in the Wind," More Like a Good Dog Than a Bad Cat is a seamless album from front to back.

02 Riverdown - Mark Jungers by commonfolkmusic