Sad to say, despite our geeky cred, my usage of FB has been a little skewiff. Over the years we have created multiple pages etc etc so we got all clever and consolidated them by combining three pages and swapping an account to a page and O NOES WHAT HAS I DONE???
I am pretty down on FB for rolling up the drawbridge and limiting who can view my posts etc unless we pay to play. Yeah that's right Zuckerberg. I put it to you that everyone going to one social media site is the equivalent of everyone using Hotmail for email. It surely is a temporary aberration. Like Yahoo. Like America Online. Like Myspace.
Long live social media, down with evil overlords.
One day the Internet will right itself and join me in rejecting the turning of a free mechanism for communication into a cyber toll road.
Meanwhile, I'll post a new FB link as soon as I figure out WTF.
Big weekend ahead. 3 shows. Friday at Newtown with the wonderful Blues Angels
Saturday night at the Royal Hotel Bondi
and Sunday at the Bondi Icebergs
Sometimes, surrounding events bring insightful observations from Artists.
This is not one of those times.
Back at the Bald Rock Hotel on Saturday night from 8:30.
I've been led to believe there will be a lot of Carlingford folks at the show on Sat.
Should be a fine night.
The Curious Assembly
Stormcellar opens our August 23rd festival and they have just released a brand new blues and roots CD to kick off their US tour. Hailing from Sydney, Australia, these guys are superb musicians with a great roots sound! Featuring Michael Barry on harp and vocals, Paul Read and Michael Rosenthal on guitars, Theo Wanders on drums and the revolving deputy bass section, this is a band that keeps getting tighter and tighter in their musical approach.
The CD opens to “On The Low Low,” a song with a distinctive attitude. A driving but moderately slow blues that talks about what we do on our own time is only our own business. The tune grinds to the beat and Barry’s harp bleats out in guttural fashion. “Slipping Through These Blues” is what I’d call a somewhat ethereal TV theme song sort of blues. It’s got that smooth sound that chic TV show theme sorts have with a little mean slide guitar and some reggae laid over it. Very cool and very interesting, and then Barry comes in for a harp solo that is like a robust version of “Once Upon a Time In the West” and that haunting Enrico Moriconi sound. I loved it. Mandolin time comes next with “Queen Above The Oceans.” A short and effective folky tune, it has some pretty mandolin and accordion on top of the fiddle and acoustic guitar. The boys go to the country with guest Jo Fitzgerald adding her vocals harmonies to Mike’s lead on “Put On Your Sunhat Sweet Adeline.” Sweet finger picking and harp work make this a song that you might hear on a Delta or Australian front porch. “Dirty Work” brings us to a repackaging of a Steely Dan song into a driving blues rock. Using Fagan and Beckers lyrics, the boys add their own music and it really is pretty nicely done. The guitar blazes and the vocals are strident here.
“Downward Bound” offers up some traditional, dirty, low down driving blues licks. The harp and guitar are sweet as Barry guts out the vocals and deliver s great song that moves along and gets you wanting to dance. In “Cry For You” the band gives us a short, folky number with a stark approach. The acoustic guitar and vocals stand alone and the ballad is offered up quite effectively for our consumption. They follow the stark ballad with a bit more robust ballad called “Twice Shy Girl” which breaks out into a rocking number after about a 90 seconds and then they revert for the end to the more subdued approach. Interesting and cool! “Travelling Song” features mandolin and has a country twang with vocals and harp. The boys tried t get a live sound in the studio and I think they achieved that quite well. “Give Me Something I Want” is a very bluesy cut where the central theme is, “If you can’t give me something I want, give me something I need.” I don’t think that need much explanation. Stinging guitar work here that blends with the harp, nicely done! In “Looking Glass” the boys star with harp and drums and build into it. The song is about a female musician who gives up on her beau as she gains fame and the former beau warns her, “Not to move too fast through the other side of the looking glass.” Good slide by Paul Read here and Rosie on the electric guitar also plays into another nice guitar solo that punches its’ way out here. The acoustic “Onward Traveler” is another folk song with just vocal and guitar and the band delivers another moving piece. “The Sun Shines On” Has a haunting harmonica line and a cool set of lyrics. The album ends as they reprise with a slightly expanded version of “Cry For You.”
I liked this CD a lot. It’s cool, slick and fun. It’s not completely blues, adding folk and country to the mix to make a unique and eclectic sound. Stormcellar will intrigue the listener with an ear for good music while giving something for fans of many genres to appreciate in one very well done package
Crossroads Blues Society
Field of Blues Festival http://fieldofblues.blogspot.com/
Crossroads Blues Festival at Lyran Park http://crossroadsbluesfestival.blogspot.com/
Crossroads News http://crossroadsbluessociety.blogspot.com/
Crossroads Web Site http://www.crossroadsbluessociety.com/
Human Battery recharging at it's best. A drive in the countryside. Biting cold. Green. Blue. Mountains.
We paid a visit to Lowes Mount Truffiere. Who knew there was a Truffiere near Oberon? Me! I googled it! Sue and Col let me know that there was Fungus to be had so I whisked in with Rosie and got some Truffle action happening. The joys of winter.
(Mr Wizard has pointed out that we may be the only band willing to admit we stopped for truffles whilst on tour. No wonder they play our music in France)
On the way through it mean taking some back roads near Lake Lyell and it was just what i needed to recharge the internal batteries. Ahh.
Jo joined us for the weekend and as Warwick observed, she really lifts the band. Just like the rug in The Big Lewbowski, she really ties the room together.
On Saturday night we played a packed show at Shadys where I observed the behavioural phenomenon peculiar to millennials. I have noticed a generational shift as people take pictures of themselves near the band, rather than taking pictures of the band.
I shall ponder this whilst I prepare another batch of truffled tomato soup.
MJEB's Truffled Tomato Soup
1 a cup of onion equivalent (leek, shallot, spring onion, red or brown)
3 sticks celery
2 cups of fresh tomato (I use the little medley ones in a punnet, they're sweet and you don't have to remove the skins)
2-4 cups of Canned tomatoes or Passata (tomato puree type stuff from the Italian place on the corner)
Chicken stock - 3-4 cups depending on preferred thickness
The eggs you have been storing your tuffles with (for serving)
Alors! Now we will cook!
Get yourself a nice heavy base saucepan, like one of these
You're going to start with the classic French trinity of Carrot, Celery and Onion.
Dice it all nice and finely (you'll be blending later) and dump it into a warmed saucepan with oil.
This dish is so simple it's all about the caramelisation, so you're going to need to be brave. You want the onion and celery mix to get slightly browned which means either low heat for a long time (30 min) or medium heat for 10 min but watch it like a hawk and scrape off the bottom of the pan as it caramelises. That's where all the flavour is.
Don't burn it. it will suck
Once your trinity veges are softened and browned shave some truffle in there, add a little more oil ( a splash) and fry again for a minute, then add the fresh tomatoes and cook it down. You're making a base here, a like a thick sauce, so you want to have it hot enough to cook out the water and then scrape the caramelised bits up as they form.
Add a little of the canned tomatoes, a little more oil and then repeat the process. Effectively you are trying to fry all the ingredients, including the tomato puree. use the oil sparingly to add moisture back in as the water leaves.
When you have a nice thick bubbling lava that has a goldenish colour, you can add any remaining tomato and the stock, in amounts to your preferred thickness and taste
Some people like to use a blending wand and then pass it through a sieve to give a super smooth soup. I go rustic and just use the blender.
When you're ready to serve toast some Baguette, rub a little garlic and oil across it then place your soup in a bowl and crack a fresh truffled egg (that's an egg that been stored in a box with that smelly damn mushroom) into the bowl with the soup. Make sure the soup is hot. It will poach the egg. if it doesn't or you are freaking out, nuke it in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.
Serve with the bread, some salt and pepper and get massive props from your peeps.
The deal with the truffle is that it it enhances the umami sense of the other foods, so it basically makes it taste better.
Until next time in the kitchen!
If any of you have come to a Stormcellar gig or listened to a Stormcellar song you may have noticed that MJEB, besides singing is also a harp player. Not the kind of harp that Harpo Marx played (like with strings and you sit down to pluck magic from it and look all elegant as you do so). Like this:
I mean the other kind of harp … the one that you have to blow into. For the life of me I can’t figure why they call it a harp - the former has no relation to the latter. The former requires grace and finesse. The later … well it requires breathing. And a tongue. And hands … optional if you’re Bob Dylan or Neil Young. Like this:
I do have a couple of favourite players … the late Al Wilson from Canned Heat is one. His playing on their version of Help Me is forceful:
and of course there’s Sonny Boy Williamson – a real showman …
As I was looking for a photo the other day I found this footage of MJEB warming up in one of the studios that we recorded The Curious Assembly and thought it’s worth sharing – the sound of Mike playing his harp through my amp:
And then there is this – we were at Goose Studios working on Hired Guns & Borrowed Glory (specifically Light in the Distance) and we were trying ideas out like putting the harp through some guitar effects … like this:
It didn't make the final mix but it's a great sound. Been wanting to share that for ages!
There you go – when a harp that isn’t a harp doesn’t sound like a harp neither but it sure sounds purty!