Music Maker Relief Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the true pioneers and forgotten heroes of the Blues gain recognition and meet their day-to-day needs. Our blog is dedicated to keeping the conversation about these artists alive & thriving.
Author Archive

Diggin’: Sol – Black Mattie

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Listen to Black Mattie 

Even if you are not a fan of Hip-Hop music you can still appreciate the deep grooves of this song. Robert “Wolfman” Belfour’s unmistakable moaning voice on top of  raunchy acoustic guitar lick and a sharp drumbeat makes for an incredible fusion of Blues and it’s much younger step child, Hip-Hop. (more…)

Diggin’: Lucy’s Voodoo

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Listen: Lucy’s Voodoo

When you see images of Lee Gates around the Music Maker office, you know you’re looking at a real deal, tried and true bluesman. The guy is over six feet tall, yolked up, and usually dressed in overalls. Granted, I’ve only seen photos of Lee, but I’ve heard he’s a real character in person.
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Diggin’: Bring It On Down to My House Honey

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Listen: Bring It On Down to My House Honey

Little Pink Anderson’s “Bring It On Down to My House Honey” is a song that popped out at me from our new jukebox. I’m so excited to finally meet Pink, who I’ve talked to so many times on the phone, at Music Maker’s upcoming Homecoming weekend. He lives up in South Dakota, so it’s very special that he’s able to travel to Hillsborough, NC – thanks to generous Artist Sponsor!

I’m hoping he’ll perform this jaunty tune, which I love for its fun lyrics and lively rhythm. It matches the festive atmosphere in the air here as we count down to the Homecoming and page through Tim’s book that we’ve all worked so hard on for the past year! But I’m not picky, I know whatever Pink plays at our Homecoming will be wonderful.

Enjoy!

Corinne

Diggin’: “Today I Started Loving You Again”

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Listen: Today I Started Loving You Again

Ironing Board Sam is a relentless and prolific creator. Whenever I call him or go by his house to discuss business, I have almost always interrupted a brainstorming session, home recording or invention.

When Sam went down to Huntsville, Alabama to record Double Bang! a few years ago, they recorded another album in their free time. The release is forthcoming but all of it was recorded live and features Ardie Dean on drums and Ironing Board Sam on vocals and keyboard.

The songs are classic and this particular song is a favorite, “Today I Started Loving You Again”

Enjoy!

– Aaron

Diggin’: Cary Morin’s “Sing It Louder”

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Listen: Sing It Louder

Cary Morin’s playful tune Sing it Louder can lift you up from the darkest of moods. Somehow Cary manages to make the blues lively and upbeat while still reaching deeply into the musical well. With finger-style guitar playing that I have yet to hear matched by any other guitarist and a soothing voice, Sing It Louder is also impressive in a technical sense.

Read more about Cary Morin here.

You can check out Cary’s video here!

Diggin’: Why Don’t These Young People Understand?

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Listen: Why Don’t These Young People Understand?

I’ve been so excited about the new Jukebox, and have been listening to the general playlist we have up right now. (Soon to come – curated playlists!) I love this track from Lee Gates, “Why Don’t These Young People Understand?” Lee is one whose wailing vocals I don’t often listen to, mostly because I don’t have any of his albums uploaded to my iTunes, and because Aaron (who is in charge of office music) hasn’t put him on in awhile. I do, however, talk to Lee on the phone frequently. So, when I was immersed in writing the other day and this song came on, I knew immediately it was Lee.

Lee’s pleading vocals accompany some pretty great guitar; I think you should give this a listen and find out what Lee’s question is about. Then, you can tell him what you think at the Music Maker Homecoming!

- Corinne

Stay Tuned – New Jukebox in the Works!

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 10.13.29 AMHere at the Music Maker Relief Foundation our passion is MUSIC and the people who make it. We are always looking for ways to share the incredible history that Music Maker artists continue to make through their music with YOU, and now this just got easier. We are super excited to announce that Music Maker will be getting a new jukebox!

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Diggin’: George Higgs’ “Greasy Greens”

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Listen: “Greasy Greens”

 “Well, way down South where I was born

Didn’t raise nothin’ but cotton and corn

Green tomatoes and black-eyed peas

Man, good Lord, them greasy greens…”

This groovy ode to collard greens is one of my favorites! Originally, I thought that “Greasy Greens” featured two artists, one singing and another playing harmonica. However, while the voice and harmonica do exchange the melody in a flawless call-and-response pattern, George Higgs is in fact playing both instruments at once! Despite the virtuosic nature of “Greasy Greens,” the mood remains laid-back as Higgs expresses his love for his favorite vegetable at a steady, unhurried pace. Try to resist tapping your foot along to the irresistible chugging of Higgs’ fine Piedmont-style harmonica playing—I dare you!

This is one of the tracks that will be featured on the Listener’s Circle CD I created this summer. All of the songs involve one of my favorite topics: food! That’s all for now, though– I’m getting hungry.

– Erica

Photos from Lincoln Center!

Music Maker supporter Michael Weintrob joined us for our recent performance at the Lincoln Center Out of Doors Series, where he took these amazing photographs!

Dom Flemons performs first

Dom Flemons performs first

Music Maker had the largest crowd of the night!

Music Maker had the largest crowd of the night!

Beverly "Guitar" Watkins and Tim Duffy take the stage

Beverly “Guitar” Watkins and Tim Duffy take the stage

Beverly was a huge hit!

Beverly was a huge hit!

Berk filming Beverly's performance

Berk filming Beverly’s performance

Ironing Board Sam's gold suit made it impossible for him to go anywhere after the show - everyone wanted a photo with him!

Ironing Board Sam’s gold suit made it impossible for him to go anywhere after the show – everyone wanted a photo with him!

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A beautiful day for a great show!

A beautiful day for a great show!

Diggin’: Mother Pauline and Elder James Goins’ “Nora”

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Listen: Nora

When the Goins sing together, two distinct voices declare the most incorruptible love that could ever be shared. Mother Pauline sings the melody with a nasal vibrato while Elder James punches emphasis with his rumbling tenor. The joy they take is this exchange is clear and infectious! Enjoy.

– Aaron

Diggin’: Lakota John & Kin’s “Key to the Highway”

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After a jamming show at the Southern Pines Blues Crawl and in anticipation of their upcoming performance in Durham this weekend, I just can’t seem to get Lakota John & Kin’s “Key To The Highway” out of my head. Having heard them play live for the first time a couple weekends ago, I was instantly captivated by their straightforward style of blues. In other words, there’s no playing around when they play.

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Lessons In Good Living

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I spend a lot of time on the phone these days. The conversations are varied, consisting of in-depth discussions regarding various blood pressure medications, the process of adjusting to bifocals, or anecdotes regarding doctors both good and bad. Some days, I might learn about the benefits of jumping on the trampoline, how to use cover crops to grow vegetables, or the proper method of preparing collard greens. A few weeks ago, a good 20 minutes were devoted strictly to the subject of peach cobbler. This morning, I listened, spellbound, to a story about a man who pulled his own tooth with a pair of pliers. At this point, you are probably wondering what these seemingly unrelated conversations have in common. Since May I have been in the process of conducting health surveys with Music Maker Relief Foundation-sponsored artists. These health surveys will be really helpful for MMRF programs, particularly artist services. The data I have collected will make sure we are getting the artists what they need when it comes to their health. During these health surveys, I ask a variety of health-related questions that touch on emotional health and wellness, healthcare and health insurance, diet, and much more.

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