Dreaming of Sunny Days and Music Festivals | Culture & Leisure


Warm weather is not far away, which means music festival season is coming soon. Check out this week’s “Festival Alerts” section below for information on the Rhythm & Roots Festival here in Rhode Island and the Solid Sound Festival taking place in Massachusetts.

While new studio releases are just starting to arrive, Ear Bliss continues to focus on album reissues with two terrific ones this week, one from pop songwriter Marshall Crenshaw and another a collection of recordings from the mid-1970s of little-known outlaw country artist Loney Hutchins. Marshall Crenshaw’s album #447 was first released in 1999. With the explosion of vinyl, Crenshaw felt it was time to release an updated version of it on vinyl for the very first time. Having been a fan of the original article, it’s amazing how well this album has aged, which pays tribute to Crenshaw’s ability to create songs of timeless quality and #447 is full of them. He’s joined this week in the Ear Bliss spotlight by a collection of outlaw 1970s country from an artist you’ve probably never heard of in Loney Hutchins. Buried Loot, Demos from the House of Cash and Outlaw Era, ’73-’78 features unreleased recordings presented for the first time from hours and hours of tapes hidden over the years by Hutchins, most of which are fully produced demo recordings made for Johnny Cash when Hutchins ran the House of Cash publishing catalog. It’s quite the snapshot. We’ll take a look.

Marshal Crenshaw


Shiny-Tone/Megaforce Recordings

Who can forget hit songs like “Someday, Someway”, “Cynical Girl” and “Whenever You’re on My Mind”. The made-for-summer pop songs are fast and dirty, and they all come from Marshall Crenshaw’s self-titled 1982 debut album. These songs, along with his narrow frame and glasses, had critics calling Crenshaw a modern-day Buddy Holly. (As a side note, Crenshaw would coincidentally star as Buddy Holly in Ritchie Valens’ 1987 biopic La Bamba.) A man whose star first shone as a cast member of the Broadway hit Beatlemania, Crenshaw turned it into a solo recording career. The mega-success of this first album was fleeting as Crenshaw on subsequent albums and singles would never reach such heights. Not that the talent waned in the years that followed and especially as was proven in the mid-1990s and early 1990s by the three studio albums Crenshaw made and released for independent label Razor & Tie. Having reclaimed the rights to these albums and looking to seize the moment of the recent vinyl boom, Crenshaw created his own label, Shiny-Tone Records, with the aim of releasing revised editions of these classic albums on vinyl, CD and formats. digital. . Crenshaw says, “I love that phonograph records are popular again. They were shunned by the music industry when I was recording for Razor & Tie, but now they’re back! The campaign began with the 2020 re-release of Miracle of Science from 1996 and now continues with a revised version of its #447 album originally released in 1999 and available again with some bonus tracks, to boot! From his performance to the infectious and immediately appealing songs and melodies to the musicality (Crenshaw is backed by like-minded bandmates Brad Jones, Bill Lloyd, Greg Leisz, Andy York and former E Street Band member David Sancious) and production, he is arguably his finest moment with classics from the Crenshaw canon such as “Television Light,” “Tell Me All About It” and the loving beaut “TMD.” The album was indicative at that time of Crenshaw’s career from a seasoned vet at his artistic peak knowing exactly what he wants to do music on his own terms while calling all the shots. As for those bonus tracks, they’re some new Crenshaw songs, “Will of the Wind” and “Santa Fe,” and represent the first all-new material he’s recorded since 2016. Label them cherry on top. the cake . Frankly, #447 sounds as fresh and vibrant today as it did over two decades ago. Recommended. Visit www.marshallcrenshaw.com.

Loney Hutchin

Buried Loot, House of Cash and Outlaw era demos, ’73-’78

Appalachian Record Co.

While songwriting was his dream job, for aspiring singer Loney Hutchins, selling mobile homes in and around the Nashville area was his real job. Hoping to launch her songwriting articles, it began with a meeting with June Carter Cash in 1972, in the driveway of Johnny’s estate, she and her husband, where Hutchins had gone to present some of her songs to their publishing group House of Cash. Luckily, Hutchins and Carter discovered that they had similarities, each growing up in the rural country of southwestern Virginia and eastern Tennessee, not far from each other, and even frequenting the same school. It was just the break Hutchins needed to get a demo of his songs to Cash himself who, loving what he was hearing, would sign Hutchins to their publishing house House of Cash. Hutchins would go on to record countless demos for Cash’s publishing business, not to mention running the House of Cash publishing catalog for a period in the 1970s. This leads us to the new Buried Loot compilation, Demos from the House of Cash and Outlaw Era, ’73-’78. It brings together 24 unreleased Hutchins recordings taken from more than 80 hours of tape that Hutchins had hidden. The real prize is that these are not just simple demo recordings, but more importantly full-fledged productions performed by Hutchins accompanied by such in-demand session players of the time as Lloyd Green, Kenny Malone, DJ Fontana, etc . The songs and music come from a variety of writers, including Cash himself, and are representative of a turbulent era in country music, the “outlaw” movement as coined by the late l country music writer Hazel Smith (whose never-before-heard song “Stoney Creek” is included in the collection). It was a period when the genre was influenced by everything from (Gram) Parsons-esque country rock to byrdsy folk rock. including, of course, many of the great honky tonk hardcore troubadours.The collection represents a priceless snapshot of an important era in country music, not to mention an artist you wonder what might have been if these songs in his voice had passed the demo stage. https://loneyhutchins.country/.



The annual Rhythm & Roots Music-Dance-Food Festival just announced that tickets for the event will go on sale February 28. Rhythm & Roots will take place Labor Day weekend (September 2-4) at its usual beautiful and spacious venue. at Ninigret Park in Charlestown, RI As in years past, the festival will once again attract musicians from a diverse mix of Cajun, Zydeco, blues, country, folk and many other forms of roots music. New this year will be three distinct musical themes each day on the main stage. Friday night will feature an evening of New Orleans music. Saturday on the main stage will be a tribute to Texas music and Sunday will feature Women in Roots music. The festival program will be announced soon.


Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival slated for May 27-29 at its usual venue on the grounds of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) in North Adams, MA has just announced its lineup and it’s an eclectic lineup of talent coming from a range of musical genres, as well as comedy and theatrical arts. Frankly, few festivals, if any, can offer such diverse programming as Solid Sound. Headlining, of course, the group Wilco itself, which will headline the first two evenings of the festival. Other headliners include Sylvan Esso, the hugely popular Japanese breakfast, legendary Texas singer/songwriter Terry Allen & The Panhandle Mystery Band, Jeff Tweedy & Friends, the Marshall Allen-led Sun Ra Arkestra and mike watt + the missingmen. The undercard is equally strong and diverse, including Hand Habits (founded by guitarist/songwriter Meg Duffy), jazz artist Angel Bat Dawid, rapper Wiki, Copenhagen-based punk band Iceage, Sam Evian, NNAM , Cut Worms, Canadian folk singer Le Ren, Nels Cline: Consentrik Quartet, Autumn Defense, On Fillmore with Finnish pop singer Jonna Tervomaa, longtime Chicago rocker Eleventh Dream Day, Mess Esque, Mikael Jorgensen, Liam Kazar, Tuomo & Markus and the Story Pirates podcast team. Three-day weekend passes are on sale and nearly sold out, so act fast if you plan to attend. All tickets include admission to the festival as well as full access to the MASS MoCA Galleries. Visit www.solidsoundfestival.com for tickets and information.


COVID-related restrictions are still in place at many venues, so please check ahead for more information. Beginning in and around South County, the Prince Dean Ford tribute band and The Beautiful Ones perform Saturday night at the Courthouse Center for the Arts in West Kingston. Blues performs at Pump House Music Works on Kingstown Road in Peace Dale with a sister program featuring the Gary Cummings Band and Crossroad Blues while Sunday is the ‘1st Sunday Jazz’ program from 5pm. It’s a weekend of blues at the Knickerbocker Music Center in Westerly (35 Railroad Ave) that kicks off Friday night with Wooly Mammoth’s show. The New England Winter Blues Tour arrives at the Knick on Sunday night and features several artists including headliners Luther “Guitar Junior” Johnson and Curtis Salgado with Sonya Rae Taylor and The Wicked Lo-Down also headlining. The music starts at 7 p.m. Up North, Sugar Ray & The Blue Tones bring the real blues and R&B to Chan’s Restaurant in Woonsocket (267 Main Street) on Friday nights. Singer Shawnn Montiero is in the house of egg rolls and jazz on Saturday night. Acoustic supergroup The Mike Block Trio are sure to dazzle at Cumberland’s Blackstone River Theater on Saturday night. Tribute weekends continue at the Stadium Theater in Woonsocket with the Doobie Brothers Takin’ It to the Streets tribute act on Friday nights and the John Denver tribute act Chris Collins & The Boulder Canyon Band the Saturday. Coming up next Thursday night is the Blackstone Valley High School Jazz Concert. Steely Dan tribute band Hey Nineteen performs at the Met at Pawtucket on Friday night. On Saturday night, young guitar wizard Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, who starred in the Broadway musical School of Rock, comes to the Met. Askew in Providence (150 Chestnut Street) presents the Sunday evening River Bend East Songwriters Festival. Waxahatchee with opener Madi Diaz will perform Wednesday night at the Columbus Theater (270 Broadway). Finally, the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River presents Tim Reynolds & TR3 on Friday nights. Next Thursday, the always amazing James Hunter Six.

Dan Ferguson is a freelance music writer and host of The Boudin Barndance, which airs Thursday nights from 6-9 p.m. on WRIU-FM 90.3.


Comments are closed.