Baltimore’s Andy Cooke and Tim are now busy writing songs for their Sci-Fi Prog Rock project … with the working title Cuckoo Gene. Will it have a gatefold sleeve? Will it be a double concept album? Will the songs last at least 20 minutes? Oh yeah – probably!
Andy has recently released Black Light, a new Doom Metal album under the moniker of ‘Wizrds’, which we have been rocking out to at Big City Towers. You can listen to samples of tracks from Black Light here: https://wizrds.bandcamp.com/releases
We got a nice message from Chrissy Crowley who we’ve known since Tim booked her at the Vancouver Celtic festival back in the late noughties.
“Some really nice people wrote some really nice stuff about the new record 🙂 Read the full review with links below. Can’t thank Penguin Eggs/Tim Readman enough for the positive words.”
In case you missed it Tim’s review is below … now go and buy the album!!!!
PENGUIN EGGS MAGAZINE
“This is the second album from this Cape Breton supergroup. They’ve lost one fiddler since their debut and haven’t changed their name to reflect their diminished number. No matter, because there’s nothing else that has diminished in any way. Quite the reverse, in fact—this is a walloping good set from these young lions of East Coast trad.
There are five songs and seven instrumental tunes on Rove, all wonderfully engineered and mixed by Dave Gunning. I’m really happy to hear them increase the singing this time around. Rachel Davis and Darren McMullen both have fine voices, and McMullen’s take on Peter Gabriel’s Solsbury Hill was a very pleasant surprise. The purity of Davis’s vocals shines on Down the Road.
Instrumentally, few can match these folks. Jason Roach, who is at his thunderous best on the fast and furious numbers, gives fine accompaniment to the superb fiddling of Davis and Chrissie Crowley. McMullen plays guitar, cello, bouzouki, mandolin, mandola, banjo, whistle, and flute—his choices of instrument perfectly complementing the rest of the band on every track.
There are plenty of reels, jigs, and strathspeys as you’d expect, as well as a surprise addition of a Dave Brubeck tune. That’s Three To Get Ready played by four, in a band called five in Gaelic. What’s not to like? Get it while it’s hot!”
This article in Vancouver’s Georgia Straight caught our eye recently … mentioning Fear of Drinking alumnus Allison Russell.
Some of us spend our lives forever trying to recapture some kind of golden age—and if that’s what’s going on with Amy Helm, you can hardly blame her for trying. Especially since it’s not so much her star-studded upbringing that she most treasures, but her memories of a funky barn on her dad’s upstate New York property.
Helm’s father, of course, was Levon Helm, the Band’s charismatic and universally beloved drummer, singer, and mandolinist. Her mother, Libby Titus, is an underrated lyricist who was once Burt Bacharach’s songwriting partner. And Helm’s stepfather, for almost 30 years, has been Steely Dan main man Donald Fagen.
Award shows, movie premieres, private jets: Helm’s known them all. But when asked about her upbringing, the 46-year-old singer immediately zeroes in on the Midnight Rambles that Levon liked to organize on his Woodstock farm.
“I can certainly say that listening to ‘Black Friday’, sung by Donald and played by the Ramble band with my dad’s backbeat on it, was one of the cooler things that I’ve ever heard,” she says fondly, on the line from a Portland, Oregon, tour stop. “It was pretty great, I gotta tell you. It was just greasy enough.”
And while the avowed template for the new and as-yet-untitled album that Helm has just finished recording is Motel Shot, Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett’s warts-and-all impression of a postgig jam session with Leon Russell, Joe Cocker, John Hartford, and Gram Parsons, the spirit of the Ramble was very much present in the studio.
“The intention of the record was to sort of create a sound that sounded like community, that sounded like a whole bunch of people hanging out in a room making music—very live, very spontaneous,” Helm says. “The centrepiece of the album is a lot of keyboards, and lots and lots of vocals. I actually featured a singer who you may be familiar with named Ali Russell, from a band called Birds of Chicago, and another fantastic singer who I work with a lot named Adam Minkoff, and Ali’s husband, JT Nero. The three of them were my choir, so a lot of the songs have that sound as their centre.
Allison had previously messaged Tim to say she’d been jamming with Donald. Now we know how that came to pass. Small world!
Novel News From Jez Lowe
THE DILLEN DOLL – first novel and new CD from Jez Low
We’re pleased to let you know that Jez’s first novel, entitled “The Dillen Doll” will be published next month by Badapple Books in the UK. The scoop from Jez’s site is:
A new album of traditional folk songs, also titled “The Dillen Doll”, will be released by Tantobie Records to coincide with the book.
The novel is set at the turn of the nineteenth century, and brings together characters from various folk songs of the period, centrally a woman called Dolly Coxon, who is mentioned, albeit obliquely, in the well-known song from Newcastle Upon Tyne, “Do Li A”. This is her story, as imagined by Jez, going some way to explain why an impoverished woman from the Tyne quayside should have been celebrated in a song that has survived for over two hundred years.
The song itself is one of “around fifteen” that have been fashioned into a suite of songs to reflect the narrative and evoke the musical background of the tale. The album features The Bad Pennies, plus Rachel Hamer and Benny Graham on backing vocals, and with a cover painting by Kari MacLeod.
Track titles are as follows – THE WAGGON WAY / BENWELL LASS / BROOM BEZZOMS / FILL THE TANKARD / MARKET DAY / BLIND WILLIE / BYKER HILL / FOLLOW THE HORSES / TENDER / KEEL LAD / LUMLEY / BOBBY SHAFTO / SALTY SHIELDS / SAIR FAIL’D / DO LI A. Other songs and tunes are referenced throughout the continuous piece.
Watch www.jezlowe.com to find out when the book and the album will be available – mail-order facilities will shortly be set up for advance ordering through that website.
November 2017…And We Are Still Going Blue
We continue to get a tremendous response to our request for fans to send snaps of themselves with the cover of Go Blue for us to post on social media. There’s a new selection of photos below for your pleasure. As long as you keep sending the photos we’ll keep posting them!