By Alice Winship
Stories of the Sea Contest
There are always some songs along with the poetry at the National Fisherman’s Annual Stories of the Sea. This year, the contest will be on Wednesday, May 8 at 8:00 pm. The site is one of Seattle’s maritime taverns, the Highliner Pub & Grill at Fishermen’s Terminal. The public is welcome to join the fishing community to hear some tall tales and authentic sea experiences. The Seattle Maritime Festival will continue with tugboat races on Elliot Bay on Saturday, May 11.
Maritime Music at Folklife
The Northwest Folklife Festival, May 24-27, will continue its tradition of a Maritime Showcase on Saturday afternoon, May 25, emceed by Dan Roberts. Performing in the Showcase will be Broadside and the Handsome Cabin Boys, a new trio of Dan Roberts, Matthew Moeller and Tom Rawson called Baggywrinkles, the Great Sanger & Didele, Dan Maher, North By West, and Shanghaied on the Willamette. The Showcase will run from 3 to 6 pm, followed by a Pub Sing from 6 to 7 pm.
Mary Garvey will be singing some of her songs at a Fisher Poets Showcase on Saturday evening, May 25, from 6:30 to 7:30 pm.
Welcome to May and the beginning of the spring and summer music season. This month will host the Seattle Folk Life Festival at the Seattle Center for four days of music and dance. See the article for full details. It’s a great way to take in the culture of our city and experience that vast diversity of our folk culture.
Throughout the next four months you’ll have the opportunity to attend many local, regional, and statewide festivals and events we’ve come to know and love. All are filled with arts and crafts, music, and great food for all to experience. Read more
by Laurin Gaudinier
Tylan held her CD release concert at Empty Sea Studios. “Tylan” is Tylan Greenstein, a singer/ songwriter who recorded 5 studio albums and toured for 10 years in the folk-pop quartet Girlyman. She then decided to record a solo acoustic CD entitled “One True Thing.”
Empty Sea Studios is a Phinney Ridge-area recording studio that has been in business for almost 4 years, and hosts concerts as well as its primary business of recording CDs. The studio’s name is actually a play on words: its owner is Michael T. Connolly, whose initials are MTC (pronounced Empty Sea). It serves as an intimate, cozy concert venue seating perhaps 35 or so. Joe Misiuda and I were seated front row center and could see everything that transpired on stage.
Tylan came on stage and chatted with the audience a few minutes about the recording of her solo CD, recorded at Empty Sea; she also noted that she was unused to being at the studio with full house watching. She started her set with “Empire” from the CD, played on a Larrivee acoustic cutaway that was tuned to open D (which she maintained throughout the concert). Partner and band mate Ingrid Elizabeth then joined her on stand-up bass for a track called “Over the Rhine”. The song was written in Atlanta (where Tylan was originally from, before a recent move to northern California). Michael Connolly then joined the duo on keyboards for “Vigil”. Tylan played an electric Epiphone on this song & several others; though it was a soft song, the electric guitar worked well and her finger picking, though simple was very clean. That was followed by “Fool Me Again,” a song about her dog “Kali” and several others from the CD, including a cover of an old Ace of Base tune “I Saw the Sign”. My favorite was “Already Fine”. On the CD, this song features Indigo Girl Amy Ray on backup vocals; Michael sang backup vocals for the concert and did a fine job with them. He also did a fine job on accordion. The concert closed with “Survivor”, a Destiny’s Child/Beyoncé tune.
Tylan is a very good songwriter with the gift of melodies that have unexpected, interesting changes that nevertheless hold together well, a very difficult balance to pull off. Many if not most of her song lyrics were angst-ridden and most were of about the same tempo. Her vocals were at times beautiful, at other times I thought they had that slightly over-wrought, sing-from-the-throat quality that seems so popular with young performers these days. Some of that may be a generational difference.
All in all, though, a very interesting debut CD from a young singer/songwriter who shows a lot of promise as a solo artist. Empty Sea Studio is small yet personal venue. All the seats have a clear view to the stage and the connection with the artist or group is a great experience. I suggest going to a show and see for your self.
See Tylan’s interview with Joseph Misiuda in the May issue.
Laurin Gaudinier is a singer / songwriter living in Seattle, WA.
by Percy Hilo
If life is about enjoying ourselves in a constructive and positive manner and spreading joy wherever we go then The Tallboys have discovered the key to eternal happiness. We’re not talking high spirituality here but simply the ability to feel a passion from within and transmit it to those of us who are fortunate to cross their path. Many’s the time I’ve walked through the Pike Market feeling rather ordinary or less at the time and upon hearing some combination of Tallboy members playing their infectious oldtime music I’d perk up physically and emotionally and all would be well for the time being. This has also occurred at festivals, concerts and such and has been experienced by countless other souls as well. Making people feel good is a huge public service and The Tallboys provide it whenever they’re around.
But that’s not the only reason they’re important players on the contemporary music scene. In the late 70′s and early 80′s there was an explosion of oldtime bands, singers of traditional folk songs and the like and those with any interest in these cultures were being constantly entertained with concerts, festivals and endless jams that would last long into the night. Everybody was in a band, forming one, attending events and so forth. Well, those days are long gone and these musics are rarely played these days. But every culture needs to be constantly kept alive, and this is where The Tallboys come in. They play their oldtime and country music out of a deep love and respect for it, but they simultaneously let the world know that this is a healthy, vital and beautiful culture that keeps on keeping on because the music merits it.
So where did this all begin for The Tallboys? Well first off they’re not all tall and not all boys (more on that later). In 2003 banjo player Charlie Beck, fiddler Joe Fulton, bassist John Hurd, mandolin player Paul McGowen and guitarist Rob Adesso came together over bluegrass but were soon moved by the feeling of oldtime music and eventually made the switch. In 2005 Adesso and McGowen left in an amicable fashion and Charmaine Slaven joined the band on rhythm guitar and flat footing (more on that later) and soon became one of the boys in the best possible way. When Joe Fulton moved away in 2010 WB Reid replaced him on fiddle, and that’s the current band, but not completely, because Joe visits the Northwest frequently and is included whenever he’s available (A band with no major feuds and occasional membership. How often do we hear of such a thing?). Then when they expanded into an amplified country band last year (while continuing with the acoustic group) they added drummer Cahalen Morrison and switched Charlie to mostly dobro and WB to mainly electric guitar (but that fiddle doesn’t disappear completely). Now they can be found entertaining lovers of both these traditional and valuable forms at a variety of venues and events and in a variety of locations (and even a tour of Europe is in the talking stages). This is fitting because this music is appreciated by some people everywhere and in fact, the group hails from states across the country before migrating to the Northwest Corner where they found their true physical home with all of us and their musical home with roots music and each other.
So now we know about them, but what about the music? Well, as to the acoustic band, they’re simply infectious and irresistible. Charlie’s lightning fast riffs on banjo along with the remarkably adept fiddles of WB and Joe bring those oldtime fiddle tunes (and songs) to life in a way that makes them as fresh as when they were first made up as legendary mountain music long before there was anything to record them on. And Charmaine on guitar and John on bass provide the tight rhythm that keeps it all flowing in the best possible way. They share the singing and both leads and harmonies relate directly to that bygone era while coming fully alive in the present. But that’s not all! Charmaine dances to a number of tunes in a style she refers to as flat footing (also known as clogging, buck dancing, etc.) and the rhythm and feeling adds immensely to the magic of the music and total atmosphere. And it’s important to note that in a show business sense there’s nothing special about this dancing, and that’s part of it’s charm. Charmaine infuses the form with the simple dignity and presence that has always been the trademark of oldtime music and so makes it an equal part of the sound rather than some ultra showmanship. This overall combination has satisfied many an audience and explains why the band is in constant demand.
And speaking of dance, these fiddle tunes are in fact, and have always been dance tunes, and you can square dance to them at the Tractor Tavern on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month (April 8th and 22nd, etc.) as has been happening for awhile. There are other opportunities as well, such as April 21st when Charmaine calls for the Portland Sunday Square Dance at 3PM. You can keep up with all of this at www.thetallboys.com. And as to her flat footing, she’ll be joining other like dancers at Folklife on Sunday, May 26th for a presentation of Motley Feet which should be a panic, and later on the same day will play with Charlie as the duo Squirrel Butter; A slimmed down and wonderful version of their beloved oldtime music. So make a day of it for the right price (Of course you’ll want to make a donation at the gate to help keep Folklife alive, right?). In addition to all this the boys in some form are at Brewgrass on May 11th from 5-9PM and the West Seattle Bee Garden event on May 19th at noon. So much fine music, so little time.
As to The Tallboys Country Band, They plug in and offer an entirely different repertoire that consists of mostly classics of the country genre (an occasional original tossed in that fits perfectly) and are performed with the same uniform excellence as the acoustic group. Charlie is up front on dobro and he’s an ace, WB brings his diverse talents to the electric guitar, and Charmaine, John and Calahen Morrison on drums make a rhythm section that’s hard to beat. They all share the singing and again as in the oldtime band, the music is beautiful, the feeling is genuine and the audience is up and dancing; This time couples in swing and related styles in a free for all with no caller. Having 2 styles of artistry and entertainment provides the band with a wider universe of expression and allows them to fit into many more venues and satisfy a variety of audiences in concert, dance, festival or street settings. If you’re lucky enough of turned on the oldtime/country scene enough you may get to be part of it all.
You can contact The Tallboys at www.thetallboys.com or www.squirrelbutter.com or www.oldtimeseattle.com for schedules and other information. You can also email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and she’ll get right back to you. They have excellent recordings for sale and are looking to complete their new one soon, so when you see them you can then take them home with you. I’ve done it and it’s more than worth the expense. Having a band that brings some of our countries most historical and meaningful music to us in an enjoyable and danceable modern format is a blessing indeed and it’s only fitting that we take some time out of our busy and often confused lives to lighten up a little walk (or dance) the path with them.
All comments welcome: Percy Hilo, 206-784-0378, email@example.com
1 2 ›