Archive for the youtube Category

Random Weekend Post: Earthly Treasures

Posted in Scott Miller, youtube on August 8, 2009 by AmericanaPulse

No Commentary needed for this one… I give you Scott Miller.

Childsplay: Waiting for the Dawn

Posted in Aoife O'Donovan, Childsplay, Lissa Schneckenberger, youtube on August 4, 2009 by AmericanaPulse

Bob Childs is a craftsman. Whether making music himself, or making instruments for other musicians… Childs takes to his task with care. He knows that a well crafted instrument is essential to creating a well crafted tune. That’s because Bob Childs is a master luthier (maker of stringed instruments). He’s been building violins for over three decades and has been playing them for even longer.

A brief history…
Childs began playing the violin as a teenager in Maine. Whenever his instrument was in need of repair, he would take it to local luthier Ivie Mann. Mann, who was 70 at the time, developed a friendship with the young Childs and offered to take him on as his first ever student. Childs continued to learn from Mann and others until he was able to set up a luthier shop of his own. His instruments are now in high demand have been played by a wide range of musicians from symphony performers to international fiddle champions.
In 1986, Childs received an invitation to perform with a group of seven violinists in Washington DC. Childs welcomed the opportunity to get out of his workshop and perform with one of his own instruments. He accepted the invitation. Only after he said yes, did Childs learn that the assembled musicians who had issued the invitation all played instruments he had built.
Childsplay was born.
These days, Childsplay’s cast of players can include as many as two dozen professional musicians at any given time. On the band’s fifth studio recording Waiting for the Dawn, no fewer than fourteen fiddlers form the core of a powerhouse ensemble, and blend their considerable skills and diverse influences to create a stunning collection of contemporary fiddle classics.
The music itself comes from the Emerald Isles of Ireland, the foothills of the Appalachians, the frigid Canadian Coast, and even the American pop charts. Original tunes from various band members sit side by side with traditional fare from around the globe and compositions from Steve Earle (“Christmas in Washington”), U2 (“Mothers of the Disappeared”) , and Elvis Presley (“Love Me Tender”). The result is a musical world tour that incorporates a wide range of sounds and styles. Somehow, they all blend seamlessly together.
Of course, the credit for that is due largely to the players themselves. The band boasts world class fiddlers and violinists who specialize in varying disciplines from all over the globe.
Just to name a few…
Hanneke Cassel is a former U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champ with a degree from Berklee College of Music. Shelia Falls-Keohane won the All-Ireland Fiddling Championship at age fifteen and is now a part of the music faculty at Wheaton College. Bonnie Bewick is a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and has soloed with the Boston Pops. Lissa Schneckenberger is an accomplished folk singer/songwriter and a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music (more on her later this week). Bob Childs plays on the album as well.
Irish and Scottish fiddle champs, symphony members, master luthiers, singer/songwriters… and that’s not even half the band.
This recording also marks the first time Childsplay has incorporated vocals on an album. To lend a voice to the music Childs turned to Aoife O’Donovan from contemporary bluegrass group Crooked Still (more on them later this week too…). O’Donovan is a solid choice here and sounds just as much at home on the traditional “Sweet Sunny South” as she does on Bono’s “Mothers of the Disappeared.” Her soaring voice is the perfect counterpoint to the instruments that surround it.
As for the band’s namesake and raison d’ĂȘtre Bob Childs… he is the only member of the ensemble who does not make his living as professional musician. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t keep busy. Childs still produces around six violins a year from his workshop in Cambridge, MA… spending roughly 200 hours constructing each piece. He also travels with Childsplay to various shows and festivals and will occasionally use the group to put on educational workshops to expose school children to violin and fiddle music. With those two endeavors, Childs ensures that there will always be a new generation of his instruments to play, and a new generation of artists to play them.
To illustrate Childsplays’ unique sound, I’m going to share with you the opening track from Waiting for the Dawn called, “Rattling Roaring Willie/The High Drive.” The song is a medley of a traditional Canadian folk song and a Scottish reel.
I’m also going to share a youtube video I found that features a medley of U2’s “Mothers of the Disappeared” with an original song from Hanneke Cassel called “Evenstar.” Cassel is featured on the violin in this video with O’Donovan on lead vocals.
You can find out more about Childsplay at
Childsplay: Rattling Roaring Willie/The High Drive (Buy Album)

Random Weekend Post: Abigail Washburn on the Blue Plate Special

Posted in Abigail Washburn, Bela Fleck, The Sparrow Quartet, youtube on August 1, 2009 by AmericanaPulse

Here’s a clip I found of Abigail Washburn & The Sparrow Quartet performing onWDVX’s Blue Plate Special. The Blue Plate Special is a live performance that takes place every weekday at noon in downtown Knoxville. The shows are always free to the public and are broadcast live on WDVX and You can see a full schedule and link to more videos on the Blue Plate Special page at

The Sparrow Quartet is Abigail Washburn on banjo and vocals, Bela Fleck on banjo, Casey Driessen on violin, and Ben Sollee on Cello.

Random Saturday: Camera Obscura

Posted in Camera Obscura, youtube on July 25, 2009 by AmericanaPulse

Still on vacation… so just another quickie today.

Don’t be surprised when this album ends up on my Top 10 list for 2009. This is Camera Obscura with “French Navy” from the album My Maudlin Career.

Random Weekend Post: Clare Burson & Kathleen Edwards

Posted in Clare Burson, Kathleen Edwards, youtube on July 18, 2009 by AmericanaPulse

On vacation this week… but I’ll try to throw up a quick post or two if I have the time.

Here’s another weekend quickie for ya.

This one features Kathleen Edwards playing the violin with singer/songwriter Clare Burson on Burson’s “Boat of Leaves.” It’s from the show the two played together in Knoxville back in March.

I emailed back and forth a bit with Clare last week, and you’ll be pleased to know that her new album, Silver & Ash should be released in early 2010. Until then… enjoy this.

Random Weekend Post: Jenny Lewis & Triumph the Dog

Posted in jenny lewis, youtube on July 11, 2009 by AmericanaPulse

Here’s something new I’m going to try to start doing. Just a quick post with a random song or YouTube vid to get through the weekend. I don’t always have much time to post during the weekend… so these will just be quick posts with little commentary to highlight old songs that are running through my head or just something different I want to share.

We’ll start today by continuing this week’s Jenny Lewis theme. I give you Jenny and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog… live from Bonnaroo.

Birthday Notes

Posted in Birthday, jenny lewis, Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers, youtube on July 7, 2009 by AmericanaPulse

***My first several posts here don’t have time and date stamps on them for some reason… but I’m pretty sure that today (or possibly yesterday… sometime this week for sure) is the one year anniversary of A Fifty Cent Lighter & A Whiskey Buzz. Now that we’re 150+ posts and nearly 55,000 visitors into this thing, I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who has stopped by, commented, and (most importantly) enjoyed the music over the past year. Hopefully, a lot of you have found something new here that you have then gone out and purchased for your own collection.

If you have discovered a new favorite here and would like to leave a comment about it on this post, that would be great. Thanks again.

***YouTube Time!!!

As I mentioned last week, my wife and I made a road trip to Asheville to see Jenny Lewis at The Orange Peel on Thursday night. The Heartless Bastards got things rocking to start the night and really set the tone for Jenny and her crew. Jenny kept the entire room in a trance with a presence that filled the whole stage and a killer band that kept up with her at every turn.

The set was primarilly filled with music from her two solo albums Acid Tongue and Rabbit Fur Coat, with the only Rilo Kiley tune being a solo acoustic version of “Silver Lining” at the beginning of the encore. Although she played a relatively short set, it was packed with almost all of my solo favorites and made for quite an enjoyable show. Jenny also worked two brand new songs into the set which I will now share with you via YouTube. These two videos were shot in St. Louis during an earlier stop on the tour.

“Big Wave”

“Just Like Zues”

…And here’s one video from the Asheville show. It’s the solo/crowd sing along version of “Silver Lining.” Thanks to the original tapers for these videos.

***Finally, for those of you in and around Knoxville… there’s a great chance to take in a free live show later this week.

Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers will be playing as part of Old City Live Thursday night in Knoxville’s Old City. Clyne first came to prominence as the front man for The Refreshments, a pop-rock outfit from Arizona that came out of the same scene as The Gin Blossoms. The Refreshments had a few minor radio hits with “Banditos” and “Down Together” in 1996. You might also know them as the band that performs the instrumental theme for Fox’s cartoon hit King of the Hill.

Since 1999, Clyne has been fronting The Peacemakers, and band that covers a lot of the same musical ground as The Refreshments with a slightly twangier edge. That edge will be on display Thursday night in Knoxville, and you can get a taste of it here on the song “Counterclockwise” from the 2004 release Americano.

“The kids are lighting firecrackers… Boom, boom, boom!”

Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers: Counterclockwise (Buy Album)

Neko Case: Video for "People Got a Lot of Nerve"

Posted in Neko Case, youtube on March 23, 2009 by AmericanaPulse

I’m still loving the new Neko Case album Middle Cyclone. Here is the video for the lead single, “People Got a Lot of Nerve.” It is important to remember that they are called Killer whales for a reason…

One other note while I’m here…

I may not be as active here as I would like in the next few weeks. My wife and I are very close to buying our first home, and there will be many, many, many things to keep me busy over the next month or so. I will try to keep updating over that time, but it will likely be just little posts like this one for a while. I honestly have no idea how much time I’ll be able to devote to this site during the cleaning/painting/moving process that is to come.

I am more than excited to get set up in our new house, and I’m sure I’ll be back to full speed soon. I already have some big things planned for April. Just keep checking back, and I’ll try not to let things get too stale around here.

Kathleen Edwards and Clare Burson Recap

Posted in Clare Burson, Kathleen Edwards, youtube on March 18, 2009 by AmericanaPulse

As I had predicted… Friday night was a great night for music in Knoxville with Kathleen Edwards headlining a show at my new favorite Knoxville music spot, The Square Room.

Kathleen was Kathleen… which is to say she had the audience in tears with her songs and in stitches with her between song banter. My wife and I brought a couple of friends to the show who had never heard much of Kathleen’s music before, and there were more than a few tears shed at some of the more tender songs such as “Asking for Flowers.” I guess the performance was just that powerful.

Kathleen was joined on stage by her husband and guitar player Colin Cripps, and it was great to watch the two of them interact with each other as they played. They seemed to know each other’s every move and stayed in perfect harmony the whole night. It didn’t matter if they were delicately maneuvering through a heartbreaking ballad like “Scared at Night,” blasting through an up-tempo rocker like “Back to Me,” or playfully fumbling through The Outfield’s 1985 hit “Your Love” …they held the audience in the palm of their hands.

The absolute highlight of the show came toward the end of the main set when Kathleen noticed that an audience member had dozed off during one of her songs. The carnage unfolds in this youtube clip…

Thanks to BirminghamSteve for the awesome video. More from the show can be found here.

An unexpected highlight came from opening act Clare Burson. Clare is a songwriter from Western Tennessee who now makes her home in Brooklyn.

I don’t really know much more than that other than she’s been touring with Kathleen lately and has a new CD called Silver and Ash that should be released in the near future. She was handing out samplers of the upcoming album after the show. Judging by how it sounds I’ll be greatly looking forward to hearing the full disc. I couldn’t find an official release date or a link to pre-order the album… but there is a link to buy Clare’s previous recordings at the end of this post.

The songs on the album are all loosely based on the story of Clare’s Great-Grandfather. When he was 14-years-old, his parents sent him to live in South Africa so he would not have to enlist in the Jewish army. He lived what sounds like quite an amazing life and eventually he wound up in Memphis and started a family. (I hope I remember all of these details correctly).

This song is called “Baby Boy” and seems to be written from the perspective of Clare’s Great-Great Grandmother after sending her son away. The song is atmospheric and filled with heartache. I’m very glad I had the opportunity to discover this new artist last Friday night.

Clare Burson: Baby Boy (Buy music from Clare Burson)

P.S.: This week is Spring Fund Drive week at WDVX. We are a listener supported radio station, and our single greatest source of financial support is our listeners. You can help us out by pledging online at


Notes & Links

Posted in Loretta Lynn, Rob McNurlin, The Monkees, Todd Snider, youtube on March 13, 2009 by AmericanaPulse

*** Todd Snider’s new CD, The Excitement Plan, will come your way this June from Yep Roc Records. The full scoop on the album is over at Twang Nation (scroll down), but here’s the biggest thing you need to know. The album will feature a duet with none other than Loretta Lynn. It’s safe to say that I’m excited to hear their collaboration.

*** The evolution of No Depression continues. The stalwart Americana and Alt-Country (whatever that is) magazine ceased publication in its print form a few months ago and moved to an online only format. Last week, ND launched a new, community based website that seems designed to get readers more involved in the proceedings. Users can create their own profile and use it to upload photos and videos, participate in the forums, and even contribute their own blog posts to the site. There’s also a facebook-like feature that allows you “make friends” with other users. It’s still a relatively new undertaking, but something worth keeping an eye on.

*** A bit of sad news here… Former Monkee Peter Tork was recently diagnosed with a rare form of head and neck cancer called Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma. Tork underwent successful surgery last week and is now resting at home and preparing to begin radiation treatments. You should know that I hold a special affection for the music of The Monkees. Here’s hoping for a full and speedy recovery.

*** Had a comment and a couple of e-mails concerning my post on Rob McNurlin earlier this week… so I thought I’d give you another little taste of his music in this space. Here’s a youtube video of Rob with Dave Prince on guitar doing a song called “Deep Deep is the Blue.”

*** Since I already mentioned Loretta Lynn once in this post… I think I should also go ahead and mention that Saturday is Miss Loretta’s birthday. She was born in a cabin on a hill in Butcher Hollow (Holler), KY on March 14, 1934. Loretta is a hometown girl (Butcher Hollow is just outside the city limits of Paintsville, KY where I grew up) who made good. She had a ton of hits and caused more than a few controversies with her outspoken feminist lyrics in the 60’s and 70’s. Her success helped blaze the trail for every female country artist who followed. She is a Country Music Hall of Famer and truly one of the greats. Happy Birthday Loretta.

Loretta Lynn: Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind) (Buy Album)
Loretta Lynn: You Ain’t Woman Enough (Buy Album)