harmonica

The Jam Stampede Remembers Ron “Pigpen” McKernan

The Jam Stampede remembers Pigpen and will do a healthy dose of Pigpen on the day of his birthday, September 8. Plenty of Dead tunes will abound and we do one more spin around the sun for Pig.

Starting a rock band was actually Ron McKernan's idea, and he was its first front man, delivering stinging harmonica, keyboards, and beautiful blues vocals in the early years of the Warlocks/Grateful Dead. Nicknamed "Pigpen" for his funky approach to life and sanitation, he was born into a family that was generally conventional, except for the fact that his (Caucasian) father was an R & B disc jockey. And that sound put Pig's life on the rails of the blues from the time he was 12. Liquor, Lightnin' Hopkins, the harmonica and some barbecue - it was an unusual life for a white kid from San Carlos, but it was Pig's life.

--

Mexicali Live

Show Date: September 8, 2011

Tickets : $8.00 in advance

Doors: 6:00pm

Show: 8:00pm

Band website

201-833-0011

1409 Queen Anne Road

Teaneck, NJ 07666

The Fabulous Thunderbirds to play Greeley Blues Festival

For over thirty years, The Fabulous Thunderbirds have been the quintessential American band. The group's distinctive and powerful sound, influenced by a diversity of musical styles, manifested itself into a unique musical hybrid via such barnburners as “Tuff Enuff” and “Wrap It Up.”

Founding member Kim Wilson spearheads the group as it evolves into its newest incarnation. “We started as a straight blues band.” vocalist and harmonica player Wilson says. “We now incorporate a mixture of a lot of different styles. We're an American music band and we're higher energy than ever before.” The Fabulous Thunderbirds features Jay Moeller on drums, Johnny Moeller and Mike Keller on guitar, and Randy Bermudes on bass.


Wilson’s musical talents have garnered him multiple Blues Awards and Grammy Nominations. The Blues Foundation 2008 blues Music Awards named Wilson "Instrumentalist - Harmonica" category.  In 2006, he was named “Contemporary Blues Male Artist of the Year” in 2006, and “Lookin’ for Trouble!” was named Blues Song of the Year in 2004. Wilson has contributed to the work of many other great artists such as the legendary Muddy Waters (who called him his “son”), contemporary artist Bonnie Raitt, guitar legends Stevie Ray Vaughn and brother Jimmy Vaughn, and Martin Scorsese’s movie “The Blues." With his current movie project “Cadillac Records,” Wilson continues to focus on the music he loves.

With over 20 albums recorded and millions sold, Kim Wilson and The Fabulous Thunderbirds tour the world performing their own unique style of music. Ranging from pop anthems like “Powerful Stuff” which was featured in the Tom Cruise movie “Cocktail," to the low down blues of "Chicago," this brand of honest music brings fans back time and again.

Having shared the stage with The Rolling Stones, Joe Cocker, Carlos Santana and blues legends BB King and Buddy Guy and countless others, The Fabulous Thunderbirds continue to tour Europe and the North America, bringing more great music to their fans worldwide.



The Fabulous Thunderbirds will be playing the Greeley Blues Festival, at the Island Grove Arena, 425 North 15th Ave., in Greeley, on June 12 at  7:25 PM.



The Festival runs June 11 and 12, and tickets are  $25 in advance, $30 at the gate.  There are also limited prefered seating passes available for $50. Children under 12 are admitted for free.  For more information, please call 970-356-5000. Call the Chamber at 800-449-3866 for booster packet phone orders.  The web site is http://greeleybluesjam.wordpress.com/.

Turbine and Mason Jar Records team up for live release Sounds in the Hall

Breaking through the proverbial glass ceiling of the improvisational rock scene proves no easy feat for young bands. Burgeoning musicians lumped in the dare we say it, jamband realm, need to successfully marry a deep high-quality catalog of material, whimsical stage presence, diverse writing chops, virtuoso instrumentation, and a calendar containing upwards of 200 shows per year. Correction, breaking through the glass ceiling of the improvisational rock scene is damn near impossible.

But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, and Brooklyn’s Turbine would like to submit their CV. On their first official live release, Sounds in the Hall, as they have over the course of 8 songs checked off every single one of the preceding prerequisites. Comprised of carefully hand-picked selections of both Turbine classics and newer material, Sounds in the Hall covers all the bases, but the clear differentiating factor that sets Turbine far above the masses is their amazing penchant for writing memorable and distinctive songs across a variety of sounds and genres.

Just running through the eight song track list, Turbine touches on a bonafide hit-single in waiting “Blackout Song,” the slow summer groove akin to the Grateful Dead “Eddy From the Sea,” a thick extended funk jam on “Behind These Walls” that stretches all way to cow funk-era 1997, blazing bluegrass chops on Maritime Rag, and a handful of tunes that highlight the remarkable vocals and smoking harmonica leads.

Having played a seemingly infinite number of shows over the past couple of years, the Turbine boys took a lot of time in selecting their finest renditions of the material on Sound from the Halls, as described by guitarist and harmonica player Ryan Rightmire.

“There were so many factors in selecting the songs. Being that this is our first official live album, we wanted to include songs from our two studio albums as well as feature some unreleased ones. In the end, half the album is made up of unreleased tracks. Listening back to the performances, it was hard to ignore the energy of the big shows. Bonnaroo and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival brought out some great moments, so they are well represented. As for a specific memory, at one point during “Stand Down” I played the harmonica with a balloon, and you can hear the crowd erupt mid-song. It’s those mid-song responses that always tell us things are going well.”

It bears highlighting that Turbine’s Ryan Rightmire incorporates the harmonica like it’s never been used in a rock context. Not only does he employ some trickery like playing with a balloon, but it’s not uncommon to hear him layer on some effects and turn his harp into a synth-laden rhythm instrument. Alternatively, he possesses to chops to play it clean and go toe-to-toe with John Popper and perhaps remain the last man standing. While it’s probably not wise for the bands’ publicity to start entering them into fights, these guys are pretty scrappy so keep your guard up, Popper.

Turbine is by no means any one trick pony either, guitarist Jeremy Hilliard plays law-running lead guitar and cranks out definitive melodies throughout  his lead playing as well as helping shape Turbine’s wide reaching sound with his song-writing talents. Bassist Justin Kimmel and drummer Octavio Salman hold down the low post like Abdul-Jabar, as both are trained musicians with the ability to run the offense and take over the game at any moment.

Sometimes these things just feel meant to be; when Turbine showed up to perform their show at Bonnaroo, from which three of these tracks were taken, they found a bit of encouraging irony. “There was a giant wind turbine spinning next to the stage. As of matter of fact, it powered our entire show including all of the recording equipment. We made the announcement that this was the first turbine-powered Turbine concert. I kept expecting the songs to speed up every time a gust of wind made it spin faster.”

Taking the name from the lyrics of one the album’s highlight tracks, “Behind These Walls,” Sounds in the Hall evokes a sense of the live experience the overall feel for this tour, which included some big venues. We can only hope that with the help of a successfully release, that the halls will keep growing and the sounds will just keep getting better.

In support of the album, Turbine will host a record release party on May 22nd at the Mercury Lounge in New York City (with the Brew).

Listen to Turbine sing "Blackout Song"

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Sounds in the Hall Tracklist:

Eddy the Sea – Telluride Bluegrass Festival, CO

War of 9161 (The Pledge) – Breckenridge, CO

Invited – Bonnaroo, TN

Behind These Walls – Boulder, CO

Doing to Me – Bonnaroo, TN

Stand Down – Bonnaroo, TN

Maritime Rag – Telluride Bluegrass Festival, CO

Blackout Song – Breckenridge, CO

HOWARD LEVY HARMONICA SCHOOL

The Howard Levy Harmonica School online has appreciatively received a warm and enthusiastic response from the harmonica playing community and student base from around the world.  The Howard Levy Harmonica School, an online video-exchange-based learning site for harmonica players created by ArtistWorks, is led by Howard Levy, arguably the world’s most prominent harmonica master. The nature of this innovative school is its appeal to players from novice to virtuoso. The range of music taught includes Blues, Jazz, Folk, World Music and more, with technical instruction in bending, overblowing, developing speed, and basic music theory to help students be able to play well in all these styles. A person can enroll in the “HLHS” a beginner, and can learn and improve rapidly to become an advanced player. The HLHS has hundreds of pre-recorded HD video lessons, with more added each week. In addition to video exchange interaction with Howard, students participate in a very active and supportive online community and help each other advance in their playing as well. Launched in December 2009, the HLHS has experienced a surge of new student enrollment and the support of top industry leaders and media.

Hohner USA has embraced the program with an exclusive offer of a “Special 20” harmonica (valued at $47) to new student members, a promotion kicking off this month, and a significant article appeared on Harmonica411.com, offering an overview of the Howard Levy Harmonica School and an in-depth look at Howard’s technique and approach to playing. The breaking news of this one-of-a-kind learning platform from the man universally acknowledged as the world’s most advanced diatonic harmonica player has landed students from all around the USA and Canada, as well as many international students from South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

HLHS students learn by video exchange with Howard Levy, submitting clips of their playing to Howard for his review. Howard then provides a personalized video response to the student offering guidance on mastering the lesson. The exchange between teacher and student are permanently recorded and paired on the site for the entire Harmonica School to learn from, and breaks new ground in learning a musical instrument online. Renata Yambaeva is a new student based in Russia who enrolled last month and shares, “I really like this format. The lessons are helpful, interesting and pleasant. Howard found right length of a lesson - about five minutes, it’s the perfect time. And I really appreciate Howard's sense of humor, the lessons never bore!” Tapan Bhatt, an India-based student who is also the Secretary of the Harmonica Club of Gujarat respectfully notes, “I feel I am late by many years in learning from Mr. Levy. In true spirits, I am extremely enjoying the lessons.”

“It is clear that the ArtistWorks platform is redefining online visual education,” says David Butler, ArtistWorks CEO, “the video exchange format enables worldwide student enrollment, allowing Master Class-level teaching to reach harmonica enthusiasts of all types, in all countries. The additional support of leading harmonica market contributors only reaffirms the necessity and interest of the harmonica education curriculum.”

The recent addition of “New Tune Fridays” to the HLHS presents students with one or more new song lessons with backing tracks, with a message of encouragement to try different playing techniques over it. This effort cheers students on and inspires them to play something new each week in addition to their regular lessons. Learn a new tune this Friday at the Howard Levy Harmonica School online.

The Harmonica411.com Artist Interview with Howard Levy can be viewed here.

About Artistworks:

The ArtistWorks online visual education format allows virtuoso musicians to “Teach the World” by presenting their full method, technique or curriculum in HD video to subscribing students of their sites. Simple webcams are used by the students to submit videos to the Artist through the site, for critique and guidance if they want personalized instruction. The Artists manage the video flow by using the Video Management System created and owned by ArtistWorks, Inc. (patent pending). Regardless of whether or not students participate in exchanging videos with the Artist, these “Video Exchanges” are posted for all subscribing students to learn from. This groundbreaking use of video exchange for the instruction of musical instruments has been implemented at Jimmy Bruno Guitar Institute, the Qbert Skratch University, Andreas Oberg Guitar Universe, Peery Piano Online, Tony Trischka School of Banjo and Howard Levy Harmonica School. Learn more at www.ArtistWorks.com.

Flecktones' Howard Levy to Launch Online Harmonica School

Grammy® Award winner Howard Levy is thrilled to announce he has partnered with online video exchange pioneers, ArtistWorks, Inc. The team will be launching The Howard Levy Harmonica School (HLHS) later this month– the first ever online portal that will teach harmonica to students around the world. Levy is widely known as a founding member of the Flecktones. He has also performed and recorded with Kenny Loggins, Dolly Parton, Bobby McFerrin, Paul Simon, John Prine, and many others.  Through his partnership with ArtistWorks, Inc., Levy integrates years of experience as a player and educator with their innovative video teaching technology.

Howard Levy is the world’s most advanced diatonic harmonica player.  He developed a fully chromatic style on the standard 10-hole diatonic and revolutionized harmonica playing, taking the instrument into uncharted territory. As a music educator, he has taught countless students and has been a guest lecturer on his craft at colleges and universities around the world including Harvard, Berklee College of Music, Dartmouth College and Northwestern University.  Howard Levy plays Hohner harmonicas.

The HLHS is a self-paced program for any skill level or style preference and provides personal video exchange lessons online. Levy’s comprehensive video curriculum is categorized from beginner to advanced lessons in a variety of styles including jazz, blues, folk, rock and more. Using a webcam, students record themselves practicing and submit the video for Levy’s personalized critique. Either through video or written response, students get direct feedback from Levy and these one-on-one Master Classes are then posted to the HLHS Exchange Center for all students in the community to learn from.  The Howard Levy Harmonica School is launching late November 2009.

ArtistWorks, Inc. is a Napa, California company is the leader in creating video-based instructional subscription websites. This groundbreaking technology has been implemented at Qbert Skratch University, Andreas Oberg Guitar Universe, the Jimmy Bruno Guitar Institute, Peery Piano Online and the Tony Trischka school of banjo.