Tag Archives: Dave Van Ronk

The Night Folk Owl – Willie Ames

12 Mar

Willie Ames @ Whisky A Go-Go - 20th Annual Los Angeles Music Awards voting party - by JAMES IRWIN PHOTOGRAPHY

Willie Ames has toured all 50 United States, distributed 35,000 CDs to the public, and won several solo artist awards including the Solo Artist of the Year in the 20th Annual Los Angeles Music Awards and National Solo Artist of the Year and performer in the Phoenix Music Awards 2011.

So, yeah, more people should know about this folk guitarist/banjoist/singer/songwriter. Ames has been playing guitar since he was five years old, and, at 18 decided to pursue music professionally. He added a banjo to his repertoire at 23.

Ames plays a distinctive style of classic folk music that focuses on heavier percussion, reverberated noise, and a guitar/banjo style that combines the flavor of early Dylan and Dave Van Ronk with heavier folk artists like Amos Lee. Ames then adds a banjo to the mix, and, instead of falling into the bluegrass banjo trap, the music has an edge that sets him apart from other folk musicians. Listening to Ames’ music is fit with unconscious toe-tapping and head-nodding. The beats are almost funky. The sound is multifaceted like a bean dip (light guacamole on top and heavy beans on the bottom). Gosh, I just compared music to a bean dip. If that’s not a sign to introduce a song, I don’t know what is.

“Night Owl,” the title track on the album, perfectly represents what I mentioned above. The beat is authentic. The echoed sounds are reminiscent of a dark night in a deep forest. Ames’ voice reminds me of the Holy Modal Rounders (only slightly), a folk duo from the Lower East Side in the 60s who released an excellent version of “Hesitation Blues.” I hate to be so simplistic, but the song is just cool. I like listening to it.

“Stumbling Home” is certainly lighter. The banjo rhythm is catchy and constant. It’s a great song to listen to if you want to unwind. It relaxed me.

Check out more of Willie Ames at his website, Facebook, and Twitter

Dave Van Ronk Movie – Reznor TV Show – Best Albums of 2011, What was left out?

27 Jun

Coen Brothers and Dave Van Ronk

The Coen Brothers have embarked on a new movie project that has its roots firmly ensconced in the 1960’s Greenwich Village folk movement. And if you are familiar with the 1960’s folk movement in the lower east side (or if you simply read the words above the picture) you know that the movie has to be related to Dave Van Ronk, the Mayor of MacDougal Street, whose classic style of acoustic blues was inspirational. Van Ronk was known as the village’s friendly uncle and he provided friendship to up-and-coming artists like Phil Ochs, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell.

The Coen Brothers are obviously into blues music. “O Brother, Where Art Thou,” featured the tradition folk/blues piece “Man of Constant Sorrow.” Van Ronk, who unfortunately passed away in 2002, was extremely respected and talented, but still remains a cult-ish figure who deserves more acclaim than he currently has. I am very much looking forward to the project, which at this time has no release date, and I hope that the movie will help raise Van Ronk’s stock and get more people listening to his great music.


Jim Uhls to Write Reznor’s HBO “Year Zero” Script

Jim Uhls, of Fight Club fame, will write the script for Trent Reznor‘s “Year Zero” HBO mini-series that is based off of the 2007 Nine Inch Nails apocalyptic concept album of the same name.

“Year Zero” is set in 2022 and, to be frank, the sh*t has hit the fan. The album was apt criticism of the Bush Years and U.S. Government Policies that Reznor and NIN disagree with. “Year Zero” has already been morphed into a video game.

NIN promoted the album in creative ways prior to its release. At concerts, for example, the band left mysterious USB drives with exclusive material for fans to randomly find. Maybe Reznor has a few things up his sleeve for the mini-series. There is no set date for production, but with a script-writer on the case it can’t be too far away.


SPIN Releases Their Top 25 of 2011 So Far

SPIN has released their Top 25 albums of 2011 So Far list, an annual mid-year event for numerous music sources. I will copy and paste their list below:

Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
Bon Iver – Bon Iver, Bon Iver
Big K.R.I.T. – Return Of 4eva
Arctic Monkeys – Suck It And See
Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee Part Two
James Blake – James Blake
Adele – 21
Fucked Up – David Comes To Life
Elbow – Build A Rocket Boys!
TV On The Radio – Nine Types Of Light
DJ Quik – The Book Of David
Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo
tUnE-yArDs – w h o k i l l
The Strokes – Angles
Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes
Smith Westerns – Dye It Blonde
Panda Bear – Tomboy
Lady Gaga – Born This Way
The Weeknd – House Of Balloons
EMA – Past Life Martyred Saints
Yuck – Yuck
Alela Diane – Alela Diane& Wild Divine

What do you think? Seems like a pretty fair list. Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, Panda Bear. It’s 25 albums, so it is difficult to narrow down. I do see at least two glaring excluded albums.

I would have added in Cut Copy’s Zonoscope and Toro Y Moi’s Underneath The Pine, two solid February releases. I feel like Cut Copy’s synth-pop and Toro Y Moi’s chillwave deserve mention. And you can probably take out some of the commercial rap and dubstep.

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