This guy knows how to make a guitar sing … and how to write a song that sounds so timeless it could have been written 50 or 100 years ago.
Cary Morin is from the Crow Nation. He grew up in Montana, taking up firstly piano, and then guitar. “We lived out in the country, and there were no other kids around, so I had lots of time to mess around with the guitar.” Life then took him south to Colorado, where he’s been playing in bands now for the best part of 30 years. He’s still got a couple of bands that he plays in today, but he now also has a blossoming career as a solo artist. Often when an artist goes solo I feel they’re being slightly self-indulgent, they’ve lost their edge, what it was that attracted me to them in the first place. You could not say this of Cary Morin. It’s like he’s taken a hard look at himself, thought about what inspires him and how he can improve, and has pushed himself to get there.
” I started concentrating on fingerstyle blues guitar. When an old friend of mine was visiting for a few days and heard what I was doing, he suggested this style could be my new show. Another friend showed me open D tuning and that also became a big part of what I do. It was like learning to play guitar all over again and I continue to discover new chords and techniques constantly.”
These are my favourite songs from the new album Cradle to the Grave. His acoustic blues guitar playing is dazzlingly good, but bear in mind too that eight of the eleven tracks here are self-written : gentle, reflective songs about everything from fishing to the situation of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. It’s Delta blues, but Delta blues that may wander off at times towards folk or country, and that is alive to modern day issues. Altogether, a very tasty slice of American tradition.
I’m very grateful to Anne-Marie Sanderson for sending me this. And I’m mightily interested in hearing from more of you with links to songs that you or others have written which express your thoughts or feelings about living in Trump’s America. They don’t necessarily have to be protest songs, though protest songs are very welcome. Just leave a comment on this post or email me, and then sometime toward the end of 2017 I’ll put together a compilation for y’all.
Anne-Marie Sanderson – Red Giant
“It’s taken me a while to process what’s happened and what could happen as a result of November’s election. For quite some time I, like so many others, was shocked beyond belief, lost for words, lost in despair. But sometimes inspiration and hope pop up from the unlikeliest of places. In her eloquent Golden Globe acceptance speech (the one where she slams Trump without ever saying his name), Meryl Streep quoted the immortal wisdom of Carrie Fisher: “Take your broken heart and make it into art.” Such a simple turn of phrase, almost cliche, and yet it resonated so strongly with me. So, that’s what I decided to do. Although I wasn’t able to take to the streets in protest this past weekend, this song and video are my own response to Trump’s inauguration and the looming shadow of his presidency. This is my first (and perhaps not my last) protest song.”
I’ve resisted the temptation to include songs about homelessness as well. These are songs with strong lyrics and a linking theme. I understand that the Alistair Hulett and David Rovics songs are about actual historical struggles, but please do leave a comment if you have background to any of these songs. If you have similar songs that you want to share, please leave a link if you can.
Fred Hellerman – Pity the Downtrodden Landlord
Stan Kelly & Leon Rosselson – Greedy Landlord
Malvina Reynolds – The Faucets Are Dripping
Mike Rawson & Rob Rosenthal – Talking Tenant Blues
Duke Ellington & His Orchestra – Raisin’ the Rent
John Lee Hooker – House Rent Boogie
Mercy Dee Walton & Thelma Walton – Rent Man Blues
The Mersey Wreckers – Back Buchanan Street
Charlie Poole – Moving Day
Jimmy Collier – Rent Strike Blues
The Pogues – Boys From The County Hell
Public Order Act – Pay Your Rent
Alistair Hulett – Mrs. Barbour’s Army
David Rovics – Landlord
Rory McLeod – Defending Our Homes
It would be wrong of me not to give a passing mention to the recently discovered Woody Guthrie song Old Beach Haven Ain’t My Home, written when he was a tenant of Donald Trump’s father Fred Trump. Sadly no recordings exist as far as I’m aware, but we can get the gist from the lyrics : “Beach Haven looks like Heaven/Where no black ones come to roam!/No, no, no! Old Man Trump! Old Beach Haven ain’t my home!”
On Wednesday 27th January this site will pass 2 million hits.
To mark the occasion, I’m giving some free songs away. If you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org before midnight Wednesday, I’ll send you two or more songs from any country in the world of your choice. The only restriction is that it can’t be a country where you’ve ever lived.
My music of the world project is still in the works : you can read about it here – https://foreverycountryasong.wordpress.com/about/ .
… you just need to look in the right places. These guys got the rhythm and they got the blues. All from albums released in the last 12 months (a couple from December 2014, so they just qualify).
Boubacar Traoré – Hona
Malian blues. “He was the first to play Mandingo-based music on electric guitar, long before his junior, Ali Farka Touré.” In 2015 Kar Kar still has that rhythm.
Charlie Parr – Empty Out Your Pockets
Folk blues by perhaps the greatest bluesman in America today.
Dead Sara – Mr Mr
Californian blues rock, fronted by Emily Armstrong and Siouxsie Medley.
Fiona Boyes – I Done Quit
Aussie blues. “I ain’t never heard a woman finger pick a guitar like that since Memphis Minnie.” – Pinetop Perkins
Holly Golightly – As You Go Down
British blues rock, by a former protégé of Billy Childish.
Ironing Board Sam – Baby You Got It
Rhythm & blues. “This is the time when in my life it seems to be that I’m at my best because I know more on how to write music, know more how to play it, know more how to get it to the audience, know more about everything. I’m 70 years old. It took this time, you know.”
JD McPherson – Mother Of Lies
Okie blues. Getting fired from his job as a teacher “had to happen at that exact time or I wouldn’t have done it. Because I had a wife and kids. I’m not gonna tell them, ‘Hey, daddy is gonna quit his steady job just out of grad school, and I’m gonna go get in a band and play.”
The Josh Garrett Band – Goodnight, Goodnight
Southern blues. “I’m drawn to all things Louisiana, it’s my culture and I try to embrace it.”
Left Lane Cruiser – Tres Borrachos
Hard rockin’ blues. “The core group of songs on this record were written at soundchecks during a nine-month period of touring the U.S. and Europe. After a long drive, we would get to the club. Burn one down. Fuckin’ jam at soundcheck. Then we had a new tune. It went on like that for a while. This album was written entirely under the guidance and influence of marijuana. No dirty spliffs were used in the making of this record.”
Lou Shields – Little Town
Chicago blues. “Lou is a solo performing artist; he sings, plays National Guitar, Banjo and harmonica. He sits on top of a stage riser built from reclaimed materials and can reproduce that front porch sound anywhere he goes. Lou uses a bass stomp on his left foot and a broken skateboard with bottle caps nailed to it on his right foot.”
Parvathy Baul – Apon Moner Baghe
Indian blues ? The Bauls are a Bengali sect who pass down teachings, philosophy and folk music from generation to generation. Some like Parvathy choose to commit themselves to a life of asceticism, renouncing family and possessions, becoming travelling minstrels and living off alms.
The Reverend Shawn Amos – Joliet Bound
Harmonica blues. This is a Memphis Minnie song.
Seasick Steve – Barracuda 68′
Beardy blues. Cool video.
Songhoy Blues – Soubour
Malian desert blues. “Though their music bears elements of contemporary rock and hip hop, at its heart is Songhoy Blues‚ deep attachment to the homegrown songs and dances of Mali‚s Songhoy people as well as such iconic West African guitar heroes as Baba Salah and Ali Farka Touré.”
The Vaudevillian – Luke’s Blues
Canadian stringband blues. Purveyors of old-time music.
Wild Billy Childish & CTMF – What Is This False Life You’re Leading
Punk blues. “Billy Childish is an international cult figure, painter, poet and novelist. He has released over 120 independent albums and influenced a vast range of musicians from Kurt Cobain, Beck and Mudhoney, through to Jack White, The Hives, The Strypes and Kylie Minogue. ”
Many of the best drop-down-dead dance rhythms this year came from South America. Here’s a sample. Most of it’s cumbia based, but Sonora Carruseles demonstrate that there are still bands around who know their salsa.
Lagartijeando – Congo Ya
Sonido Guay Neñe – Dejala Llorar
Chico Trujillo – Malgeniosa
Señor Chancho – Momposound
Arrabalero – Kumbia Aguacero
La-33 – Te Lo Voy A Devolver
Lucho Campillo feat. Daniel Leon – Cafecito Colombiano
Magin Díaz y el Sexteto Gamerano – Yo me voy con tigo
Paito – La Cumbia Islena
Sonora Carruseles – Como Baila Micaela
Tomborato – Negra Rosa
Totó La Momposina – La Candela Viva
because the South American beats are also big in Mexico