Les McCann 1935-2023
Hats off to the spirit of the great Les McCann, my boyhood music teacher, cheerleader and the first professional musician I knew. He was and remains my inspiration to pursuing a life of recording, composing, arranging, performing, and taking risks with like-minded musicians. His legacy not only includes his wonderful solo work (check out the seminal “Compared to What”) but also bandleading and producing for artists like Roberta Flack and Sam Cooke's boyhood pal Lou Rawls. If you are new to Les' music, you have a wonderful career to dive into. The NewYorkTimes obit is a great place to start. Thank you, Les.
PB & Fats at the Kennedy Center
Fats Kaplin and I had the pleasure of performing live at the John F. Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage. The hour long set includes songs drawn from nearly every album of the WPAB's heapin' catalog (Well, not everything. We only had an hour). Watch the whole darn thing and get a sneak peak at the new album coming in 2024. Also, check out our attempt to teach folk music history for the Chelesa Michigan Library District series Song to Table and doing our Catskills-worthy act for the Catskills Art Society.
Pick up the WPABs latest album Light Sensitive at our Mercantile. Recorded live in the studio in Nashville, the Lp was produced with Dennis Crouch and features the redoubtable WPA Ballclub with guests Robyn Hitchcock, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Amy Rigby, and Luther Dickinson. The Nashville Scene placed it in their Best of 2020 issue.
Read the great reviews by American Songwriter and No Depression and enjoy the videos for Love Came Back directed by Henry Burch and The Tell shot by legendary photographer Jim Herrington. Plus, the pandemic-nervous-breakdown version of the Gershwin classic “Summertime” featuring Chloe Feoranzo and directed by Liz Tormes.
MISS THE MISSISSIPPI
Fans of the album Meridian Rising should check out Episode 1 of Ken Burns' Country Music documentary now showing on NPT Passport featuring the amazing tale of Jimmie Rodgers. Until a major JR documentary comes along, this will serve as the best introduction to the strange and miraculous tale of the vagabond turned proto rock star who set a new course for American music.
Meridian Rising imagines the life of Rodgers as a musical memoir and features a bevy of JR fans from all walks of music including Fats Kaplin, Billy Bragg, Jon Langford of the Mekons, Tim O'Brien, William Tyler, Nashville Cat Richard Bennett, Garry Tallent of the E Street Band and more. Stream it at Rolling Stone, read the NPR feature, and visit our tent shows below where all is revealed.