COMUSIC REVIEW: CABIN SESSIONS – “Back to Compton”

Back to Compton Vol5 the fourth CdCabin Sessions have always been somewhat of an enigma within Columbia’s music scene. Where most artist begin playing live before recording, CS began as a one-off project with some local songwriters that was recorded just to hear how it sounded. From those first songs getting played to friends, the local collective emerged as a band in its own right with three CDs released and a number of live shows (limited due to family and other obligations). After a fourth session was shelved for a number of reasons, it appeared the future was in question, However, they eventually returned to Compton, AR (the site of the first session) and emerged with their fourth album.
Vol5: Back to Compton finds the group’s blend of country, folk, and indie pop harnessed in the vibe of each songwriter, starting with the introspective pop of “When the War (Within You Ends).” Along the way, the songs move the listener on a (mostly) acoustic journey through country (“The Grip,”), folk (“Slow Moving Cold Front”) and blues (“Tom Cat Blues”) and onwards with aural landscapes painted with blends of acoustic guitars and assorted percussion while peppered with slide guitar, banjo, and lush harmonies in many songs. All leading up to the loose feeling blend of country and folk “When It All Goes Wrong,” which closes out the disc. While the recording vibe is far from slick, the rough hued charm is what makes Cabin Sessions what it is on disc.
Back to Compton finds Cabin Sessions at an interesting point. While no longer a one time project, it began as, the band has created music that reveals a variety of moods while complimentary the individual songwriter. It will be interesting to see what they do in the future.

Art in the Park 2012

Perfect weather. Color everywhere. Great food. That sums up our day at Art in the Park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

***Photographs by Isabelle Heintz and Susan Heintz.

Southern Culture on the Skids

What are you thinking about doing this weekend? Some live music? Maybe something different for a change? How about a band that’s been around since 1983? Or one that aims to combine high and low culture (moonshine martini, anyone…)? Or one that plays swamp pop? Or surf? Or R & B? Or rockabilly? Or a crazy combo of all those styles with a punk edge?

How about a show that Rolling Stone magazine calls “a hell-raising rock & roll party”? Or a show where, if you are quick, you can catch some fried chicken thrown from the stage?  Or maybe you’d like to go to an outdoor show because the weather is so beautiful?  Maybe you need a family-friendly event where the children can run around blowing bubbles while you laze next to your dream date?

Or maybe you’d like to see a band whose current LP has something to do with zombies? Or maybe one whose music has been featured in a hit movie like Beavis and Butt-head Do America?  Or a band that will let you dance on stage and share their bounty of banana pudding when your energy starts to flag?

Of course I am now going to tell you how to get all that and more.*  I’m not a tease.

Southern Culture on the Skids.  Saturday at Kemper Park in Boonville.

The show is part of the Pedaler’s Jamboree line-up.  Those not riding on the Jamboree can attend the show by getting tickets ($20) at Kemper Park starting at 3 pm on Saturday.  I’ll be there dressed in orange, a perfect target for some chicken.

SCOTS, as we like to call the band, consists of Rick Miller (guitar, vocals), Mary Huff (bass guitar, vocals), and Dave Hartman (drums).  I spoke to Drummer Dave about everything but music.  Here is some of that conversation:

How did you come to discover that “the people want chicken”?

We were in Harrisonburg, VA, playing near the front door of a tiny club to eleven disinterested people.  A guy wandered in off the street and stole our chicken dinner from the side of the stage while we were playing.  We looked over and saw him dancing with a piece of chicken in his mouth. Rick said, “If you’re gonna dance with our chicken, you need to be on stage.” Suddenly the eleven people became interested, and the rest is a Trivial Pursuit answer (really – Pop Culture Edition).

How’s the chicken cannon coming along?

Still in development. We’re modeling it after the design of the Go-Nuts Snack-A-Pult™. Really.

Who would portray the band members in SCOTS: The Movie?

Harry Dean StantonNed Beatty, and Katey Sagal.

If Elvis were alive, what SCOTS song would he cover?

Carve that Possum.

Have you actually roasted a pig on stage or is that just a dream?

Are you kidding? That takes 24 hours and the hardest part isn’t staying awake – it’s not getting too drunk to eat.

If SCOTS threw Jello along with the chicken and banana pudding, what flavor would it be?

Lime flavor with 7-Up, just like at the family reunions.

What advice would you give your younger band self?

No Little Debbie snack cakes or leftover chicken after 2 am!

Ever play a bicycle event?  How do you feel about Spandex?

Don’t know anything about Spandex, but Rick’s down with the Sans-A-Belt™.  Now, if they’d invent a product called “Spam-dex”….

*The more that I promised?  It’s Hella Go-Go, because it isn’t a dance party without Hella Go-Go!  Not only do these gals wear awesome dresses, they get down in the crowd and boogie.  If anyone is up to the challenge of getting tired cyclists to get up and shake it, it’s Hella Go-Go.

The entire Kemper Park main stage line-up: Carry Nation & The Speakeasy (6:15), The Hipnecks (7:30), Burn Circus (8:45), Southern Culture on the Skids with Hella Go-Go (9:00), The Wildcat Daddies (10:45–acoustic).  See you there!

Dirtfoot: Coming to CoMo

Off Track Events is bringing the gypsy punk country grumble boogie band Dirtfoot to town for the Pedaler’s Jamboree on May 26th and 27th.  The word on the street and the trail is that this is the one band not to miss.  They expect audience interaction, even handing out homemade bean cans to round out the band members’ guitar, banjo, bass, saxophone, drums and miscellaneous percussion instruments.

Dirtfoot is winning awards left and right.  They will be playing two shows at the Jamboree, and I plan to get there early to get my bean can.

Dirtfoot’s J Bratlie spoke with me from Shreveport, Lousiana:

Gypsy punk country grumble boogie? It sounds like all the odd people in my high school class got together and formed a cult.

Gypsy Punk Country Grumble Boogie was coined by a local writer who did one of our first reviews. He managed to sum up our sound so well that it stuck, and we’ve been running with it ever since. It’s not an intentional sound; we don’t try to write for a certain genre.  It just comes out purely primal, from the gut. Everyone says we sound familiar, but not like any other band or any style. We’ve been called Alt Country, Swamp Rock…hell, Les Claypool said we sound like a Southern version of Gogol Bordello, but not so Eastern European.

The story goes that God brought the first two band members together with one of His acts on one of His special days. Do you feel like you would be letting Him down if you didn’t continue to make music?

We do feel that a tornado, which brought myself and Matt together, is a fitting backdrop for the beginnings of the band. We formed on the same front porch of the reconstructed house, with numerous musicians sitting in and playing. Cool thing was, we weren’t trying to form a band, we just liked jamming, and if we really liked what somebody brought, they became permanent.

Was the house rebuilt while the band was forming?

The house was rebuilt by Matt and his family. They came out from west TX, and in a few weekends the house was better than ever. This happened in April 2000. Matt and I met right after the storm and basically started jamming immediately. The banjo I ended up playing was actually sitting in the corner of his house, and I saw it for the first time while examining the damage.

What’s with the bean cans?

The bean cans were a happy accident. We had a junk percussion player before we had a drummer, and homemade shakers were part of the rig. It seems like every show we were passing out the percussion to the folks, and it just kinda stuck. Now it really does help the crowd become the 7th member of the band.

Speaking of unusual instruments, how does one play a rubber chicken?

Ah, the rubber chicken… It is but one of our many accents that our percussionist, Daniel Breithaupt, has at his disposal. It was heavily featured in our song “Break My Bones” until, unfortunately, the chicken lost its voice a year or so ago. We’ve also had squealing pigs, horns, sirens and other fun things to make the necessary noises.

Is Dirtfoot acoustic or plugged in?

We are mostly acoustic. Our bassist plays his upright through an amp and does alternate with an electric bass. Matt and I both run our instruments through pedals to “play” with the sounds. Matt has also added an electric guitar recently, so you never know how it will morph and change.

 

You shot your video for “Cast My Plans” at the Wade Correctional Facility in Homer, LA, and it is fantastic! How did that project come about?

Well, that actually started with a music video.  We were approached by Jonathan Rothell, a film editor from California who wanted to make a music video of our song “Cast My Plans.”  He had the whole basic concept of the video: we are all thugs and you see us committing our crimes and getting caught. At the end of the video, the band forms in prison and we play in front of the inmates.

It seemed easier to actually go to a prison for the filming rather than attempting to build sets, costumes, etc, so we contacted the local prisons for help. Wade Correctional was very interested. We quickly decided that if we are going to go to a real prison and shoot ourselves in front of real inmates, then we should actually play a show. And if we’re going to play a show and we have cameras available, we should record that.

Then we reached out to our friend William Sadler, who we met playing a wrap party for the movie The Mist, to play our warden. At this point the buzz began to build about the project, and we had a whole crew of people who actually work for the movie industry in Shreveport volunteering for our video.

We then had a documentary crew put together to film the whole process, making the video, recording the live performance and put it all together in a sweet documentary “Making of the Cast My Plans Video.”  Of course the project had ballooned out of our small budget quickly. We decided to use a 35mm film camera to shoot the video to give it that “look,” which of course meant the extra expense of film processing. We also had to get Mr Sadler from New York to Louisiana for the shooting. We decided we had to come up with a way to fund this project, so we set up a Kickstarter campaign.

We set out to raise $10,000 in 30 days and spread the word mainly online: facebook, website, etc.  Well, we were very surprised by the quick response and actually hit our goal in 20 days.  So, after a little prodding from some of our die hards, we decided to up our goal. If we hit $15,000, we would print a special run of vinyl as well. On day 30, we had raised $16,200 and were blown away by the response.  So, needless to say, we spent all the money on making the best album, DVD and vinyl that we could. We have at least 175 people to thank for that one!

 

I’ve read that your audiences should expect an “aerobic workout of their bodies and ears” at every show. You sound like the perfect band for bicyclists. Have you ever played a bicycling event?

The Pedaler’s Jamboree is our first bicycling event. We’ve played many shows with folks riding around on bikes, but never for a bike-specific event. We are really looking forward to the shows, and we have good friends in Columbia too. It’ll be like a mini vacation.

If Dirtfoot were a meal, what dish would each member be?

Hmm…not sure what meal we’d be.  Being from Louisiana, a lot of folks compare us to a gumbo: lots of different flavors blended together to make something new.

I guess individual members:
Daniel – Spice. He definitely gives the music some zing.
Scotty – The sauce.
Nathan – Mystery spice. He gives that flavor that can’t be identified but rides underneath everything else.
Lane – Vegetables, good and hearty.
J – Some type of meat, like crawfish and sausage.
Matt – Meat. With a little gristle.

**Photographs curtesy of Dirtfoot.

CoMo Music: A Conversation with The Hipnecks

The Hipnecks, a Columbia-based band that has been around in one form or another since 2004, is playing a Pedaler’s Jamboree kick-off concert tonight at the Blue Note. I cornered one Hipneck, Pat Kay (banjo, harmonica, guitar, vocals), for a conversation this week. 

Photo by Kevin Dingman, 2011.

 You call your sound jambalya?

A reporter once called it “jambalaya” because of all the influences we gave her when describing our music. There are lots of ingredients, some seemingly dislike, that all seem to come together just how we want it. I think we may have overwhelmed her when listing the ‘ingredients’ of our sound.

‘Sound.’ Ours has changed quite a bit since then…but not too far. Lately I only feel a minor degree of difficulty explaining that we’re not what most folks would call a rock band because we tote around mandolins, banjos, fiddles, harmonicas, etc. However, we’re not a bluegrass band either. We have drums, driving electric guitar, keys…and we’re pretty loud. You can call it an attempt to avoid being labeled a country band, if you like…but to be honest we feel that we’re all of those, and yet none of those at the same time. I overheard someone call it “country-fried rock & roll” one time…and I think that serves us pretty well.

I like “country-fried rock & roll”. I think that you should go with that. I like “trash can Americana” too, but the country-fried term describes it better.  Since we are using cooking terms to describe music…imagine that The Hipnecks is a meal…what would each member be?

Ooh –thats’ a good one… I’ll have to ‘digest’ that for a while to answer that in a way that’s insightful to everyone’s contributions, musically.

I would be a rib eye steak (with too much salt).
Harrison would be BBQ ribs.

Danny would be a sirloin steak.
Bryan would be a BBQ pork steak.

Molly would be apples and brie.
We would guest musician in a loaded baked potato for a show.

It doesn’t work… but it works.


That’s a lot of meat! I like Molly best, for sure.  The Hipnecks is a great name. Did you really let an audience choose it?


True story. “Hipneck” was a term former Hipnecks vocalist/guitarist Scott Anderson and I coined one night to agree to disagree on the description of a friend of ours.  Scott said, “He’s a total hippie.” I said, “No way dude, he’s a redneck through and through.” We argued about as long as it took us to reach the end of the driveway at the old band house, and I finally said, “Fine, he’s a… hipneck.” Oddly, we both said “hipneck” in unison. The name kinda stuck in my head after that.

We were in the process of changing the name before we released our first album, Just Another Fine Day, because our name at the time was ‘Farmhouse’ (a tip of the hat to the farm my family owns outside of California, Missouri, where we currently host our annual shindig called ‘Barnout’). Unbeknownst to me at the time of choosing that name, it is also the name of a popular Phish song and a college fraternity as well. To minimize confusion, we decided it was best to land firmly on a new name, because after the album released we were going to be stuck with it forever. We narrowed it down to “The Hipnecks,” “Farmacy,” and another I can’t recall at the moment.

We were unable to agree on which. I decided it was best to leave it up to our current fans at the final show preceding the album release. It was at The Tap Room, in Fulton, Missouri, where we played our first show and maintained a regular weekly residency for years. Armed with a human applause-o-meter (our friend Peter), we let the crowd vote by applause before we started our final set of the night, thus starting the show under one name and ending under another.

Are there any impending decisions that this Friday’s audience can help you with? Anyone need to name a baby?

Haha–no.  Not yet anyway.

The rest of The Hipnecks are:  Zach Harrison (guitar, vocals), Danny Carroll (drums, sinks, trashcans & other household items, vocals), Bryan Kay (bass, vocals), and Molly Healey (fiddle, cello, vocals). 

You can catch them tonight at the Blue Note and/or the last weekend of May at the Pedaler’s Jamboree.

CoMo Art: Sparky’s Totally Awesome Collection

I knew of Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream before I moved to Columbia (thanks to the great cicada ice cream coverage of 2011), but I didn’t know of the art. Due to the great misfortune of a diet that is supposed to be dairy-free, it took me a long time to discover the treasure that is Sparky’s art collection. 

One day I cheated on the diet, got some chocolate hazelnut, and stood staring at the walls. Art! Wonderful, strange, weird, what-were-they-thinking art! Scott Southwick described his collection and his views on what some people insist on calling bad art at Columbia’s 20/20 event of February. (Are all 20/20 speakers this entertaining?)

How can art be bad when it makes me smile?  When it makes me wonder what in the world is going on in the painting…or in the head of the artist?  When it entertains me on every visit?  When I see works akin to my son’s collection of alien paintings?  Great art.  Great collection.

 

 

 

 

 

 Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream is located at 21 S. 9th St.  Have fun!

CoMusic Review: Photos from Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin on The Missouri Theatre Center for The Arts patio

That may be a record setting post title. Maybe I should have gone with SSLYBY @ The MO Theatre. After a late night of thesis writing in the coffee shop Tuesday, I just happened to see the show advertised on the theater marquee as I walked past. I didn’t even know the theater had a patio, so the fact they were holding a show on it definitely intrigued me. It didn’t hurt that I think SSLYBY is one of the most underrated bands performing today (ignore the fact that their debut Broom was the love child of just about every music blog except Pitchfork).

SSLYBY played well, plus had a strong showing of super fans standing in front, singing along with every song. Unfortunately, the mix was way off and even with the extra help the vocals were muddy and sometimes absent. John Robert Cardwell and Phillip Dickey often trade vocals or interweave them throughout a song. Since the mic at the drum set was turned down so low, it seemed like one singer was giving the silent treatment to the other. Plus, the patio’s geometry really lends itself better to a wine and cheese function with a jazz band than a crowded rock show. But for what it’s worth, SSLYBY played well, the crowd was into it, and it’s hard to beat a night of music with your friends under the warm Missouri sky.

CoMo Art: The Riback Mural

Soon after settling into my remodeled house in Columbia, I embarked on a quest to find a product that would clear my 1972 drains of long, teenaged hair and the products used to keep it all beautiful. My journey eventually took me to Riback Supply Company where I found not only the needed product, but something very surprising: art covering the walls in the two-story office space.

"The Hephaestus"

The Riback Pipe and Steel Company headquarters was completed in 1963.  Company president Harold Riback, surely a kindred spirit of mine, looked at the bare walls of the new showroom and knew that they needed some kind of art.

Riback originally planned a contest for college students, but eventually decided to commission Sidney Larson, head of the art department at Christian College (now Columbia College) to create the mural.* 

"The Temples at Karnack"

Riback was a generous supporter of the arts and believed that art should be seen everywhere, not just in museums and galleries.  He has been quoted as saying, “If art and culture are appreciated by the average person, why restrict it to the museums?  Why not bring it into the market place where it can be enjoyed on a daily basis?”

"A Greek Named Hero"

 The Riback Mural illustrates the history and social influence of the products of the plumbing industry and consists of fifteen painted panels and three metal sculptures.  The large sculpture is ten feet tall, while the others are each six feet tall; all are made with copper and brass bar and plate.

"Leonardo da Vinci"

The artist did all of the research for the paintings, the first in the series showing prehistoric man while the final painting, titled “6,000 Years Later,” depicts modern times.  Paintings not shown or mentioned in this article include  (in chronological order)  The Palace at Knossis; The Indus Civilization; The Baths of Dioclesian; Hebrew Ritual Bath; Sauna or Turkish Bath, Your Choice; France, Late 18th Century; The Village Blacksmith; and Home, Sweet Home.

"The Black Death"

The metal sculptures are especially striking and stand in the corners as if guarding the art.  Viewed from below, they seem smaller than they are.  I haven’t seen anything else like them in Columbia.

"Saturday Night Bath Time"

The mural and sculptures were finished in 1969.  Sidney Larson stated, “Harold Riback’s support for the project reflected not only his desire for making his building distinctive, but also his continuing determination to provide the community with works of art offering pleasure and education for future generations.”  The Riback Supply Company, located at 2412 Business Loop 70 East, welcomes visitors to view the art on weekdays from 8-5.  They also provide a booklet that covers the history of the project and includes in-depth information on each work. 

"The Hand Maiden"

*Although the work does not fit the traditional definition of a mural, that is how the artist has named it.

CoMo Art: Artrageous Friday

House of Vansickle Spring Art Fashion Fusion

House of Vansickle Spring Art Fashion Fusion

The studio of PJ Allen-Thomas at Orr Street Studios.

The studio of Chris Frederick at Orr Street Studios.

Gorrilla art created by Smithton Middle School students.

Original art was on display everywhere, even on feet.

Grand opening reception at Grindstone Lithography Workshop.

Grindstone Lithography Workshop.

Ben Chlapek custom coloring prints at Perlow-Stevens Gallery.

Busker Ian Meyer with his Mike Sleadd temporary art tattoo at PS Gallery.

Colleen R. with her Mike Sleadd temporary art tattoo at PS Gallery.

Dinner and Movie Nights at Centro Latino

Centro Latino is holding spring dinner and movie nights as part of their health literacy program. The dinners look delicious–fresh, hardy, plant-based fare. The films are the sort that prompt much discussion and reflection.


Friday 4-27-2012 @ 6pm FORKS OVER KNIVES: Forks Over Knives examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting animal-based and processed foods.

Saturday 4-28-2012 @ 6pm REVERSING THE IRREVERSIBLE: While traveling around the United States and Canada teaching about the raw food lifestyle, Valya Boutenko has encountered many individuals who improved their health naturally. Inspired by their stories, Valya decided to film some of the most amazing turn-arounds and to share them with the rest of the world.

Sunday 4-29-2012 @ 6pm HOLLISTIC WELLNESS for the HipHop Generation: This film is dedicated to all of those who are willing to thug, ride and freedom fight against the mind, body and soul sickness that we have internalized. This film is represented in three parts; mind, body and spirit/soul. Each being a vessel to motivate and inform the youth about the importance of liberating their minds, cells and stomachs from the clutches of disease. Before we can change and affect the world, we must first affect and change ourselves.

Friday 5-4-2012 @ 6pm THE POWER OF COMMUNITY: When Cuba lost access to Soviet oil in the early 1990’s the country faced an immediate crisis – feeding the population – and an ongoing challenge: how to create a new low-energy society. Cuba transitioned from large, fossil-fuel intensive farming to small, less energy intensive organic farms and urban gardens, and from a highly industrial society to a more sustainable one.

The movie/dinner nights are being held at Centro Latino, 609 N. Garth St. in the Comedor Popular (People’s Diner). A ten dollar donation is suggested.  I am particularly interested in the last two films; maybe I’ll see you there.