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One of my favorite people to have worked with over the years in New England radio is a woman named Jane Laier. Jane was a passionate music radio DJ, very knowledgeable about the artists she cared about, and – without trying to be – very funny! Sometimes I hear her voice talking about lyrics. She once told me, “I…am a lyric freak.” I, on the other hand, have never been a lyric freak. How I admired the people in high school who knew the lyrics to songs. I had a hard time even understanding the words in the songs I heard on the radio.
Maybe that’s why when I do notice a lyric, it’s as though it comes out and grabs me. And I hold on to it.
My friend Jane once pointed out a Nick Lowe song called “Mary Provost.” The first two lines manage to describe all you need to know about Mary Provost’s entire life. What an amazing skill for a writer.
I thought of that song the first time I saw Susan Cattaneo play at a little club in Union Square, Somerville about five years ago. She performed a song called “Whiskey Into Tears” (not to be confused with her song “I’m Worth The Whiskey”). The first line of the song has eight words. The way she delivered them…I got it. The line just came out and whacked me upside the emotional solar plexus. I took a drink…then it took me. My imagination got with the program, so to speak, and filled in the rest ahead of the following line. Eight words that described a character’s rise and fall, struggles, and…hopefully…redemption. All in eight words. That skill blows me away. Read More…
Hi, my name is Dave and I have a problem. Actually I have many, but I’m talking about my paper problem. Specifically magazines. I just can’t throw them out. I just can’t let go of any of ‘em. Not even the computer magazine that announced the latest thing from Apple: the Mac +. I have stacks of Hemmings Motor News (The Bible of the Old Car Hobby) dating back decades. I don’t know why, at this point in time, I’d really need to know the average selling price of a ’56 Morris Minor in 1972, but I still can’t recycle them. Read More…
I just wanted to take a second and say thank you to everyone who’s been listening and supporting WUMB! We’re not out of Winter quite yet but nevertheless we’re looking forward to Spring. We have a LOT of exciting things happening behind the scenes at WUMB and I’d like to share some of what’s taking place:
Guest Mix. You might remember Guest Mix from years back at WUMB. It was a really terrific show where musicians and industry folk were able to play Guest DJ and play songs that inspired them to get into music, what they’re currently listening to, songs they wish they’d written etc. Over the years I’ve heard many of you ask about potentially bringing it back. Because of your support for WUMB, we were able to hire a part time producer to work specifically on this show and the good news is that we’re almost there! I can’t give you an exact time table of when Guest Mix will be ready to launch but I expect sometime in April you’ll find out. Read More…
I finally succumbed and took an Amazon Prime Membership. Not for the free 2-Day shipping but for the videos. I wanted to see the show they produced based on the Harry Bosch novels. And who could resist Transparent, which not only stars Jeffrey Tambor but was created by Jill Soloway, sister of song-writer Faith Soloway.
Over all, I found the whole “Prime Video” thing a little hard to navigate, and was, perhaps, overcome by the sheer amount of things available. If you have found yourself in the same situation, let me offer a couple of suggestions. OK, three to be exact: A performance film, A music documentary, and a “movie” movie.
The Broken Circle Breakdown is a film from Belgium, which revolves around a bluegrass band. No I didn’t know that American bluegrass was big in Belgium either, but apparently it is, at least enough so that it features in a movie. The plot is a bit of a soap opera. Love story, child dying of cancer, etc., but the warm relationship among the band members make it worth seeing. There is also the music, which is amazing. It’s all performed by the cast so when you see them playing, it’s them that you’re hearing. The movie was filmed in Dutch and is only available with English subtitles. This is not a problem for two reasons: all the songs are in English, and there isn’t much dialog. They tend to follow the old theater adage “Show, don’t tell.” Speaking of that, there is some skin and sex in the movie, which means you probably don’t want to watch it with your kids, your parents or both. Read More…
Have you taken a close look at WUMB’s program schedule lately? We are serving up the same 24/7 slate of folk, blues, roots, Americana and world music you’ve come to expect, but there have also been some exciting additions and changes.
Monday – Friday, Brendan Hogan is now the host of The Morning Show, filling the hours from 6-10 AM with a great mix of music, commentary and a variety of special features. Dave Palmater takes over at 10 and keeps the music flowing until 3 PM with a different special feature every weekday at noon. From 3 PM to 7 PM Albert O. takes us through the afternoon rush, and Jess Phaneuf provides the soundtrack to your evening from 7-10 PM. The nationally syndicated World Café follows from 10 PM to midnight, and the WUMB Music Mix takes us through the night from midnight until 6 AM. Read More…
Every Saturday from noon to 2:00 PM, Patrick Coman presents Local Folk, featuring musicians who call the New England area home. Each week Patrick serves up a sampling of the region’s best folk, roots, blues and Americana. And Patrick can tell you why he is perfectly positioned to find and have access to these artists: “As a proud Boston-based musician and former booker/sound engineer/musician wrangler at local venues like Club Passim, Johnny D’s, Atwood’s, and the New England Americana Festival, I keep my ear to the ground for some of the best up-and-coming performers from throughout the rich New England music community.” Patrick also brings much more to Local Folk than recorded music: “In addition to live in-studio performances and in-depth looks at the music scene in the region’s music hubs, we also look back on famous artists who got their start right here in New England with our weekly “Hometown Heroes” segment.”
As a performer, Patrick plays “the reds and blues.” Merging bluesy barroom shuffles with the red dirt of his native Oklahoma, he has garnered fans for his upbeat and contemporary take on traditional American music. He also founded and presents “For the Sake of the Song,” a concert series in which regional artists pair songs by their greatest influence with their own original work. You can read more about Patrick on his website, and on his WUMB Announcers page.
Whether you want to learn more about the artists who call New England home or you like to celebrate the musicians who frequent your favorite local haunts, tune in to 91.9 FM each week to get an earful of Local Folk, or listen online at wumb.org.
Recently some of you have asked me, “Where have you been?” Thanks very much! Actually, even though I have not been on the air as much, I have not gone anywhere. In the last couple months I have moved into more of a production role at the station. Perhaps you’ve noticed my voice on a few more promotional spots on WUMB; sometimes on many more promo spots. We had a lot of things going on in February… Read More…
When someone occasionally asks me “what’s the best part of your job?”, I always answer them honestly with “I get my hands on new music before anyone else!”. Usually WUMB will receive albums well ahead of release dates by weeks and sometimes even months. Not long ago (think 2014) Lucinda Williams released a double album titled Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone. It was an incredibly bold album that showcased her amazing songwriting while also showcasing her skills as an independent songwriter. Yes, you heard correctly…Lucinda Williams started her own record label Highway 20 Records. Having built a reputation that has been perceived as occasionally combative in the studio, Lucinda started this label with the intent of putting her own material without a major label having an opinion.
The results are intriguing. Not even two years later Lucinda is back with yet another double album, the appropriately titled Ghosts of Highway 20. What does that title reflect? Does it mean they’re songs that previously didn’t make the cut? Hardly. The album is spread out over two discs but only total 14 songs. What she demonstrates on the record is the ability to draw out a song without being self-indulgent. The average length is probably somewhere in the 5:30 range. Some songs are normal length, some reach the 12:00 mark.
This isn’t the kind of album you’ll constantly be tapping your foot to, but I think is a great demonstration of an artist who is confident enough not to care. It’s a tremendous record to have in the car or perhaps at home with headphones on. Sink in, listen, and dig deep.
We’ll be playing more tracks from this gorgeous album starting this week and you can purchase it starting February 5th.