Archive for October 2010

Interview with Jake from The Cangelosi Cards

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

The Cangelosi Cards

On today’s show I speak with the bandleader, guitarist and banjoist from The Cangelosi Cards, Jake Sanders.  Here’s what I said about the Cards several years, ago and I stand by this statement now:

“The Cangelosi Cards are one of the best bands I’ve seen anywhere. They have a great live show, perfect for dancing! I envy any one who has not yet seen them because you now have the chance to see them for the first time! They keep it strictly real, playing traditional Old Time style jazz, but continue to see at as a living tradition- and as such bring in influences from ‘outside’ the cannon, such as country, blues, and early popular music. Tamar is an amazing singer and the level of musicianship is brilliant, bring your dancing shoes.”

Jake catches us up on what The Cards have been up to, including tours of Europe and Asia, a studio album and a brand new EP.  Definitely worth picking up their records, great stuff!  Check them out at .
The Cangelosi Cards

[Giant polaroid of The Cards taken by Aperture Magazine!]

Lomax’s Southern Journey Reissued!

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

“People were saying that Southern folk song was dead, that the land that had produced American jazz, the blues, the spirituals, the mountain ballads and the work songs had gone sterile.” –Alan Lomax, 1960.

Happily, Alan Lomax’s 1959-1960 field recordings from the American South have been reissued on stunning LPs by Mississippi Records out of Portland, OR.  The reissue was currated by Down Home Radio friend Nathan Salsburg over at the Alan Lomax Archive/Association for Cultural Equity.  For more information, check out the blog entry at Root Hog Or Die, and be sure to check out Nathan’s awesome online radio show of the same name at

Here’s a bit of what Nathan had to say about the reissue.  Read more on his blog entry at

“Without delving into the twists and turns of the most highly specialized folkloric record business or indulging in musings about its current strange renaissance and the stranger counter-cultural moment from whence it comes, I’m pleased to say that the season of my tenth year with Alan Lomax’s archive also marks the release of five new LPs commemorating Lomax’s most famous field-recording trip: what he called his “Southern Journey” of 1959 and 1960. Production for a commemorative series began exactly a year ago, after I met Eric Isaacson of Portland, Oregon’s Mississippi Records – one of the principals in the unlikely vanguard of the vernacular music LP resurgence – at a panel discussion put on as part of Asheville’s fine Harvest Records’ fifth anniversary festival. While Harvest was turning five, the Southern Journey turned 50, yet there was not a whisper regarding it anywhere (outside of a season-long tribute series in Belgium, put on by the noble Herman Hulsens and the Ancienne Belgique). Adding insult to injury was the fact that not a single release of Southern Journey material was currently in print…” READ MORE

A Visit with Joe Thompson

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

[Photos by E. Smith]

On a beautiful day in early June my band The Dust Busters paid a visit to the home of Joe and Polly Thompson.  Joe Thompson is 91 and lives outside of Mebane, NC.  He has been playing fiddle since he was 5 years old, way back in 1923 and is perhaps the very last traditionally schooled African-American fiddler in the world. Joe is a World War II veteran and is long retired from his job at a furniture factory.  He continues to play music at home and at gigs including taking his music to Carnegie Hall in New York City, the National Folk Festival and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and the International Music Festival in Brisbane, Australia.  In 2007 Joe Thompson was honored with the National Heritage Fellowship award from the National Endowment for the Arts.  The Carolina Chocolate Drops have spent a lot of time with Joe and have learned a lot from him.  They continue to present many of his tunes in their performances.  We met Joe at the 2nd Black Banjo Gathering, held in Boone, NC in March of this year.

Joe Thompson with The Dust Busters Joe Thompson with The Dust Busters

We sat around the Thompson’s picnic table in the field behind their house and played a number of tunes as Joe recalled his musical family and his upbringing.  Joe and Polly were tremendously nice and hospitable and we were really touched and honored to spend time with them.  Here are some excerpts from the long afternoon that we spent at the Thompson’s home.

Big thanks go to Joe and Polly’s friend Larry Vellani for bringing us to their home that day, and a shout out goes to our friend Steve Kruger who joined us with his banjo and guitar.

Here’s the songs we played that you’ll hear on this recording:

I Shall Not be Moved
John Henry
Dona Got a Ramblin’ Mind
Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad
Lights in Valley
Georgia Buck
Molly Put the Kettle On
Ladies on the Steamboat
Molly Put the Kettle On
I’ve Got Oil in my Vessel
Careless Love

More photos below:

And don’t forget to check out our friends at the Old Time Herald – lots of great articles, reviews and more!