Commercial Appeal:

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Good morning in Memphis, where the trolleys are coming back and you don’t have to travel south for gumbo, but first …

“Sun Records,” the CMT series which may already be the most significant television series made both in and about Memphis, debuted last night. The first of The 9:01’s weekly recaps:

Episode Title:  “706 Union Ave.,” the address of Sam Phillips’ Memphis Recording Service, later to become Sun Studio.

Plot Synopsis: The opening episode of “Sun Records” sets up four parallel tracks: Family man Sam Phillips (Chad Michael Murray), recently relocated to Memphis from Alabama, finds a little space on Union Avenue to set up his “Memphis Recording Service,” and makes his first connections in the local music scene, including finding a kindred spirit who happens to have the same last name in the form of wildman disk jockey Dewey Phillips (Keir O’Donnell).

Meanwhile, a young Johnny Cash (Kevin Fonteyne) broods on a Dyess, Arkansas, dirt farm, dreaming of escaping to Detroit or Memphis, while a young Elvis Presley (Drake Milligan) starts to find himself in Memphis, dreaming of even more: “How about New York? How about Hollywood? There’s a big ole world out there, Trix. There ain’t nothing in Memphis,” he tells girlfriend Trixie Dean (played by AlexAnn Hopkins, seemingly a fictionalized version of Elvis’ real high school girlfriend Dixie Locke).

A fourth plot strand follows carny Tom Parker (Billy Gardell) as he moves into the world of music promotion as the manager of country singer Eddy Arnold (Trevor Donovan).

Read more here. 

 

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Sun Records: EXCLUSIVE Swingin’ in His Skivvies! See Chad Michael Murray Have a Risky Business Moment

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In an exclusive sneak peek at Thursday’s Sun Records, Murray gives Cruise’s Risky Business underwear moment a run for its money.

Murray, 35, plays artist Sam Phillips — a husband and father devoted to music — in the new CMT series.

“When did you get in?” Sam’s wife, Becky (Jennifer Holland), asks when she finds him on the downstairs couch early in the morning, clearly not knowing that he just walked through the door and is pretending to be asleep. “Why didn’t you come to bed?”

“I didn’t want to wake you,” Sam responds.

But now that he is “awake,” Sam is ready to dance, despite being told by the doctor to “take it easy,” according to his wife.

“This is what’s going to get me right,” he says as he loads the record onto the record player and starts showing off his dance moves.

And did we forget to mention that he’s dancing in his boxers and socks?

Though his son, Knox (Chase Wainscott), and his wife are clearly entertained by his rhythm, uptight Mrs. McCluskey (Lucy Catharine Haskill) is not convinced when she arrives at the door to take Knox to school.

“Morning, Nadine,” Sam says to Mrs. McCluskey, who is evidently frazzled at seeing Sam breaking it down — in his boxers! “Now I do believe you’re speechless. Is this a first?”

We’re speechless too, Nadine.

Sun Records airs Thursdays (10 p.m. ET) on CMT.  Learn more here.

Common Fence Music presents Grammy-winning artist Dom Flemons

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PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — Common Fence Music will present Grammy-winning artist and founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Dom Flemons, in concert.

The concert will be held Saturday, March 4, at 8 p.m. Doors will open at 7 p.m. The concert will take place at the Common Fence Point Hall, 933 Anthony Road.

Tickets to the show are $30 in advance, $33 at the door. Tickets and information may be obtained at www.CommonFencemusic.org, or at www.BrownPaperTickets.com by searching Common Fence Music. Tickets will also be available for purchase at the door.

This performance will mark Mr. Flemons’ first performance at Common Fence Music as well as the first concert of Common Fence Music’s spring 2017 season – the 24th for the organization and the first to be curated by its new artistic director, Erin Young.

Self-dubbed the “American Songster,” Dom Flemons is a modern-day scholar, educator and interpreter of American, and especially African-American, old-time folk music traditions. Read more heredomflemons-press-photo-1617-w-file-info--777x437.jpg

The collective traditional song versus the individual original tune: The Example of the American Songster By Reem Kelani

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In an old building which looks more like a family house than an official headquarters in Camden, north London, you can find field recordings of old English folk songs which were documented by the British musicologist Cecil Sharp (1859- 1924), after whom the building was named. The official name of the establishment is the English Folk Dance and Song Society; it houses a library of musical recordings and books, as well as various performance halls.1

Cecil Sharp did much to preserve English folk music, which is still ignored by many Britons; they seemingly prefer to listen to Western Classical music, pop or “World Music”, the latter almost wholly a colonialist offshoot (but that’s for another discussion).

This article is based on a concert I attended in Cecil Sharp House by the African- American singer and musicologist, Dom Flemons. He was born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1982.2 For the most part, the audience seemed to comprise British lefties, researchers in folkloric music, performers of political protest songs, and ranging in age from 50 – 90 years. These admittedly over-hasty observations might give an insight into the narrative of the songs which Dom Flemons was about to sing.

The American Songster, as Flemons titles himself, entered carrying some small bones in his hands. They reminded me of what we used to see in American cartoons: African characters with large bones through their noses, grotesquely fat lips, and singing the Blues in a style more reminiscent of comedy than tragedy (even though the songs were more properly full of the sadness of the downtrodden and the pain of the defiant, not the victim’s whimper). These films were produced in the 1930s and 1940s during the days of official segregation in the US, before the era of political correctness, which avoids referring to the other in a derogatory way. What matters to me here is the humanist aspect more than what is ‘politically correct’, in the eyes of the white man.

Before he began to sing, Flemons started to play the bones, one in each hand, in fast complex rhythms which grabbed the audience’s eyes almost before their ears. Even for me, as a woman from the East, what ensued was a process of re-adjustment (of ideas and attitudes belonging to the West and the East, both of which are imbued with the colonial story as manifested in the racist undertones of many Hollywood cartoons and films).4

1 http://www.cecilsharphouse.org
2 https://theamericansongster.com
3 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gH4ivOyO0PQ 4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEyAvDKqCuQ

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Dom Flemons visits Orange Correctional Center

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February 23, 2016, Hillsborough NC:
 
To commemorate the donation of bluegrass instruments to “The Never Ready Band”, composed of inmates at Orange Correctional Center in Hillsborough NC, grammy award winner and  Music Maker Relief Foundation board member,  visited the honor grade prison yesterday.  It was an inspirational session of song, community, conviviality and education, marking the conjunction of bluegrass music and black history month.  The educational event was organized by Simone, teacher of an ongoing writing workshop at the correctional center.  The event was supported by Orange Prison Ministries and Tofu Dave of WCOM Community Radio, and the instruments donated by the Music Maker Relief Foundation.
 
Music Maker Relief Foundation  in Hillsborough NC, a 501c3 non-profit, was founded to preserve the musical traditions of the South by directly supporting the musicians who make it, ensuring their voices will not be silenced by poverty and time. Music Maker will give future generations access to their heritage through documentation and performance programs that build knowledge and appreciation of America’s musical traditions.  Contact:www.musicmaker.org411@musicmaker.org
 
WCOM is a non profit community radio station in Chapel Hill and Carrboro NC.  The mission at WCOM is to educate, inspire, and entertain the diverse populations of Carrboro, Chapel Hill and nearby areas. We cultivate local music and facilitate the exchange of cultural and intellectual ideas, with particular regard for those who are overlooked or under-represented by other media outlets.  We provide a space for media access and education by providing equipment and training to our community.  Contact:  Tofu Dave Bellin, Programming Director, wcom@davidbellin.com
 
Dom Flemons  is a Grammy Award winning musician, singer-songwriter, and slam poet.  In his recent solo album Prospect Hill (2014), Flemons drew from a wide range of styles, including ragtime, Piedmont blues, spirituals, southern traditional music, string band music, fife and drum music, and  jug-band music.  In 2005, Flemons co-found the Carolina Chocolate Drops, an African-American string band that won a Grammy for its 2010 album Genuine Negro Jig.  Today, he tours throughout the United States and internationally as “The American Songster. In February 2016, Dom performed at Carnegie Hall for a Tribute to LeadBelly. In September 2016, Dom performed at the opening ceremonies for the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC.  More information: www.americansongster.com
 
Alamance-Orange Prison Ministry is a 501c-3 which exists to provide and promote spiritual comfort and growth to the men assigned to Orange Correctional Center through services rendered by a full-time community funded Chaplain. The Board of the Ministry is responsible for giving guidance and financial support so that the Chaplain can carry out his/her duties.
The Ministry strives to better prepare OCC residents with skills, abilities and motivation to successfully reintegrate into their communities and families upon release and, where possible, provide support and encouragement to those receiving them. Information: aoprisonministry.wordpress.com
 
Links to photographs follow (Dom Flemons with Orange Prison Ministries Chaplain Love, Dom Flemons with Simone, Dom Flemons with Simone and Tofu Dave)
 

AMERICAN ROOTS MUSIC FROM THE BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS SPOTLIGHTED IN “DAVID HOLT’S STATE OF MUSIC” SEASON 2

AMERICAN ROOTS MUSIC FROM THE BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS

SPOTLIGHTED IN “DAVID HOLT’S STATE OF MUSIC” SEASON 2 

·        Series Explores Rich Musical Legacy from Southeast U.S.

·        Eight Episodes to Air on PBS from April 8, 2017 (check local listings) 

February 23, 2017– In the second season of David Holts State of Music, four-time Grammy winner David Holt introduces viewers to some amazing modern masters of American folk, bluegrass, country and gospel music. The season, consisting of seven 30-minute episodes and one 60-minute episode, will begin airing on PBS in April, May and June (check local listings). The original David Holts State of Music received a 2015 Emmy nomination in the category “Documentary-Cultural” for the mid-south region.

David Holts State of Music, Season Two was filmed on location throughout the mostly rural landscapes that nurture this organically American music. Featured in Season Two are a 19th-century textile mill near Burlington, NC, once owned by David’s distant ancestors; an historic court house in Hendersonville, a general store in the Prospect Hill community, and a beautiful farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains that once belonged to the family of Woody Platt, guitarist and singer with the Steep Canyon Rangers. The series includes whole songs by, and interview with, it’s talented performers.

The season’s final episode is a one-hour stage performance reuniting David with artists from the first season including breakout star Rhiannon Giddens, multi-faceted musician and ballad singer Josh Goforth, African-American gospel torch bearers the Branchettes, and bluegrass supergroup Balsam Range.

“This series really highlights the diversity of American traditional music and the performers who are drawn to it from different directions,” says host David Holt. “From a veteran like Doyle Lawson, who in his youth studied with the great Jimmy Martin, to a young, gifted female performer like Amythyst Kiah, who learns from the Internet. The depth of heart, soul, and talent revealed in this season’s music is bound to amaze viewers!”

All episodes, music, photography and more information is available at www.DavidHoltTV.org and http://pressroom.pbs.org/Programs/d/DAVID-HOLT-Season-2.aspx 

A five-minute preview is at: https://vimeo.com/185562062

Season Two Featured Artists:

Steep Canyon Rangers, the progressive bluegrass band that got its break touring with comedian Steve Martin; the Swiss-born Kruger Brothers, virtuosos on banjo and guitar; the young band Mipso, all recent students at UNC-Chapel Hill; bluegrass legend Doyle Lawson and his band Quicksilver; powerhouse vocalist Amythyst Kiah; famous guitar-maker Wayne Henderson with bluegrass pianist Jeff Little; Dom Flemons, a founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops; the Unity Choir of St. John AME Zion Church; and Alice Gerrard, grand-dame of bluegrass women, performing with fiddler Rayna Gellert and singer-songwriter Laurelyn Dossett.

About David Holt:

David Holt previously hosted the UNC-TV/PBS series Folkways that took viewers through the Southern mountains visiting traditional craftsmen and musicians. He also served as host of The Nashville NetworkFire on the MountainCelebration Express and American Music Shop. He was a frequent guest on Hee Haw, Nashville Now and The Grand Ole Opry. David was cast as a musician in the popular Coen Brothers film, O Brother Where Art Thou. He also hosted Riverwalk Jazz for Public Radio International and the Emmy award-winning series Great Scenic Railway Journeys on public television. In 2002, David Holt and Doc Watson won two Grammy Awards for Best Traditional Folk Recording for Legacy, a three-CD collection of songs and stories reflecting Doc Watsons life in music. Doc and David toured together from 1998 until Docs death in 2012. More information can be found at davidholt.com.