Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bettye LaVette | Uncharted Waters

Any of Bettye LaVette's talents would be enough for one entertainer -her soulful, smoldering vocals, her all-at-once commanding AND playful on-stage presence, her honesty about her hard luck past -but as it is all together in one extraordinary singer, it's a mighty powerful experience to be on the receiving end of one of her performances, whether it's live or on record. For the last nine years of her over-50- year career, she has been working her way into the lives of many who never knew her and some who had forgotten about her, with outstanding recent albums like I've Got My Own Hell To Raise and The Scene Of the Crime. Now, the A Change Is Gonna Come EP has been released exclusively on iTunes, and she re-visits her 1970's stage and nightclub repetoire for a 6-song run through some soul and jazz classics. Check out a few of her songs, plus new tunes by Delbert McClinton, Kate Taylor and David Gray on the latest mvyradio Uncharted Waters.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Remembering Maynard Silva

I can still hear Maynard's voice, his raspy, booming speaking voice in my head --"Baaahhrbra, how r' ya?" I can still feel his presence. He sat in this very room, the production room at mvy many times and we talked about his music, other people's music, his life, Buddhism, art, the Vineyard, whatever. He was never at a loss for words. Maynard passed away on July 16th, 2008, and all who knew him are thinking back over the moments that we shared with him.

Maynard introduced me to the I Ching, the classic Chinese text used over the centuries for divination. One of his many gifts to me. That would have been about 1992. At the same time, I was in a band with Maynard for a short while and we had some fun.

One cold day in December of 2007 I was in Boston to do some Christmas shopping and called Maynard on my cell phone because we hadn't talked in a while. I was parked on Newbury St. and he and I spoke for a couple of hours, me on my cell phone in the car and Maynard back home on the Vineyard, comparing notes about our bouts with cancer.

Laurel Redington and I went out for dinner in March of 2008, just four months before Maynard would succumb to cancer, and with tears in her eyes, Laurel told me that Maynard was not doing well. We were both so sad and tried to cheer each other up. After dinner, I went home and did the only thing that I thought I could do to help Maynard, and wrote a song, which included three Buddhist mantras that I hoped would eventually reach his ears and stay with him when the time came for him to leave this world. I wanted to ease and somehow bless the passage in whatever small way that I could. I recorded the song in April in Florida and Maynard heard it in June. A gift to a friend who we all love so much. Here's Maynard's song.

Laurel did a wonderful tribute to Maynard with Maynard's wife Basia on the air today and shares it and her love for Maynard on her blog Positive Underground.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Uncharted Waters | Piers Faccini

From the very first sounds of gentle guitar finger picking, the tone is set and the heart is won. Peaceful, folky, bluesy soul is the answer. Piers Faccini stole away in Cevennes in the south of France to make Two Grains of Sand, his third solo album. The quiet and determined pace of this record is so easy to step to. The sound washes over you and takes you to a place that sounds old and new at the same time. Listen to Peirs, Moby, The Avett Brothers and more new music on the latest mvyradio Uncharted Waters .

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Amy Speace Speaks

With just seconds to spare, singer-songwriter Amy Speace and guitarist and producer Jim Mastro made the boat from Woods Hole to the Vineyard and found their way to mvyradio to sit in with me during The Lunch Hour on Tuesday. It takes lots of effort to journey to this island, and good luck to make the boat you're aiming for, but as Jim said "Riding the boat sure beats sitting in a taxi going to a radio interview in New York!" Amy's new album "The Killer in Me" has been playing in my car cd player for the past few weeks and it was great to hear first hand about the making of the album. With a great storytelling gift and a clear-as-a-bell voice that can quickly become husky-as-a-big-summer-wind, Amy Speace speaks to the music lover in me. Listen to Amy's mvyradio inteview/performance!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sierra Leone's Refugee Allstars at Nectars

Martha's Vineyard loves music and loves to dance! And for over 30 years we have all done a lot of listening and shakin' inside a building with a tin roof at the airport in Edgartown. On Monday, the club (originally The Hot Tin Roof, then Outerland) officially opened, this time around as Nectars, with the absolutely mesmerizing Sierra Leone Refugee Allstars and the dance floor was alive once again! Their music is the "positive response" to horrific civil war that took place from 1991-2002 and forced them from their homes in Sierra Leone to live as refugees in The Republic of Guinea. Knowing the story of their struggle makes the experience of their music one for the heart as well as the ears and the feet. Watch the documentary trailer:

Carly Simon | A new album, a new fashion statement and a happy birthday

Carly celebrated her birthday on the air with us at mvy last Thursday. Dressed to the nines and thrilled about her new recording project, the stop at the station was her only planned activity for the day. Carly is wrapping up the recording of some of her classic songs, all in new settings and arrangements. Ben Taylor - "my son!"- she said as if still suprised at the fact, is the producer. She had three watches on her wrist, down from the seven she wore the night before, and thus introduced the world to the latest fashion statement. Listen to Carly, a new song, and a "Happy Birthday" duet with Carly and me in the mvyradio Archives.