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written by members of WTJU Charlottesville's folk department with stuff maybe of interest to listeners to the station. This blog is not an official WTJU or UVA website. Want to leave a message about any of our programs (or us in general) that we can broadcast over the air? Call 434-218-3655, and leave a voice mail.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Carolina Chocolate Drops Walk Right In

Tuesday, January 31, 2012 ● 1 pm (est)
WTJU 91.1 FM/Streaming at wtju.net

Internationally renowned string band, the Carolina Chocolate Drops will Walk Right In to WTJU at the end of January for some live music and conversation.  Later that evening they will be performing at the Jefferson Theater in Charlottesville.

In the summer and fall of 2005, three young black musicians, Dom Flemons, Rhiannon Giddens, and Justin Robinson, made the commitment to travel to Mebane, N.C., every Thursday night to sit in the home of old-time fiddler Joe Thompson for a musical jam session. Joe was in his 80’s, a black fiddler with a short bowing style that he inherited from generations of family musicians. He had learned to play a wide ranging set of tunes sitting on the back porch with other players after a day of field work. Now he was passing those same lessons on to a new generation.

When the three students decided to form a band, they didn’t have big plans. It was mostly a tribute to Joe, a chance to bring his music back out of the house again and into dance halls and public places. They called themselves The Chocolate Drops as a tip of the hat to the Tennessee Chocolate Drops,  three black brothers Howard, Martin and Bogan Armstrong, who lit up the music scene in the 1930’s.  Within a few months, they were headlining music festivals all over the globe, and found themselves featured on MSNBC television, and in the pages of Newsweek magazine.

Justin left the Chocolate Drops in 2010, and Hubby Jenkins and Adam Matta joined the group this past year.  The band continues to perform all over the globe, including right here on WTJU!

Submitted by Peter Jones, WTJU Folk

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Railroad Earth LIVE on Sunshine Daydream

Saturday, January 21, 2012 ● 1 pm (est)
WTJU 91.1 FM/Streaming at wtju.net

Don't miss the second hour of Sunshine Daydream on January 21, when One Haven Music recording artists Railroad Earth stop by for live music and conversation before their second night of concerts at the Jefferson Theater in Charlottesville.

Railroad Earth’s music is driven by the remarkable songs of front-man, Todd Sheaffer, and is delivered with seamless arrangements and superb musicianship courtesy of all six band members. They can jam with the best of them, but they’re not a jam band. They’re bluegrass influenced, but they use drums and amplifiers (somewhat taboo in the bluegrass world). RRE bristles about being lumped into any one “scene.” Not out of animosity for any other artists: it’s just that they don’t find the labels very useful. According to fiddle player Tim Carbone, “We use unique acoustic instrumentation, but we’re definitely not a bluegrass band – so that doesn’t fit. And I think the term ‘jam band’ probably refers more to the fans than to the band. I think these fans just like live music.” When the band does elect to “comment” on a song via an extended improvisation, they really cook – and have received the approval of no less than Grateful Dead bass player Phil Lesh, who knows a thing or two about jamming.

Submitted by Peter Jones, WTJU Folk

Eilen Jewell Sits Down With Lonesome George

Cosmic American Jamboree
Thursday, January 19, 2012 ● 12-2 pm
Atlantic Weekly, Part I
Saturday, January 21, 2012 ● 8-10 am
WTJU 91.1 FM/Streaming at wtju.net

Signature Sounds artist Eilen Jewell recently sat down for an interview with Lonesome George of The Cosmic American Jamboree, and we will be airing it in advance of her concert at the Mockingbird in Staunton on Saturday, January 21.

It is the battered cassette jammed in the tape deck of the getaway car, the music Ida Lupino cues up on the roadhouse jukebox as she counts the till after close. This is Queen of the Minor Key by Eilen Jewell, a smart cookie with a heart of burnished gold and enough stories to keep even the rowdiest crowd hanging on her every word. Though its long shadows and dark corners make her kingdom feel intimate, her sovereign domain stretches as far as the imagination. Its denizens seek refuge in padded rooms, abandoned automobiles… and strong spirits. They defend their territory by any means necessary: weird voodoo, sawed-off shotguns, broken bottles.

Since her official 2006 debut, Boundary County, Jewell has surveyed a wide range of traditional musical styles, from the folk and jug band leanings of her early recordings, through an album-length homage to Loretta Lynn and the country gospel of her work with The Sacred Shakers, right up to 2009's Sea of Tears, which bristled with the electricity of '60s UK garage rock and Chicago blues. Queen of the Minor Key draws on everything from classic country (the fiddle-driven "Reckless") to early R&B (the shuffling "Hooked"), with an emphasis on sounds from the seamier side of the tracks. With dirty sax riffs and low-slung guitars, the instrumentals that bookend the album—"Radio City" and "Kalimotxo"—evoke the bump-and-grind exotica of vintage Southern California suburban saloons. Yet on the flipside, Jewell imbues slow, jazzy numbers like "I Remember You" and "Only One" with torch and tenacity that linger long past last call.

Eilen Jewell is the Queen of the Minor Key. Sad songs are her wealth and finery. Lend her your ears, and you will quickly hear why her humble subjects admire and adore her more with each passing year.

Submitted by Peter Jones, WTJU Folk

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Claire Lynch Band LIVE on Cosmic American Jamboree

Thursday, January 19 ● 1:30 pm (est)
WTJU 91.1 FM/Streaming at wtju.net

The Claire Lynch Band will stop by the Cosmic American Jamboree for some live music and conversation about their gig later that night at the Mockingbird in Staunton.

By any measure, Rounder Recording artists The Claire Lynch Band are high on the bluegrass world’s A-List, with musicians whose accolades include International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Female Vocalist of the Year and two Grammy nominations for Best Bluegrass Album (Claire); multiple award fiddle and mandolin champion (Bryan McDowell); the MerleFest Doc Watson Guitar Champion (Matt Wingate); and two time IBMA Bass Player of the Year awards (Mark Schatz).

What has been said about Claire Lynch:
"a sterling, silvery vocal presence and a gift for supple, emotional ornamentation....Lynch's talent is a diamond...gorgeous voice and sense of purpose, supported by (a) superb ensemble" --Richard Harrington, The Washington Post
"one of Nashville's most quietly important performers...gentle, nearly evangelical fervor" --The Daily News, Los Angeles, CA
"timeless" --Mojo, London
"Claire has complimented many of my records with her beautiful harmonies, but she has one of the sweetest, purest and best lead voices in the music business today. I'm so happy to see and hear her shine on her own. I love this CD and I love Claire. She's a great gal." --Dolly Parton
Submitted by Peter Jones, WTJU Folk

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Chinese New Year Celebration on Radio Tropicale

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 12-2 pm (est)
WTJU 91.1 FM/Streaming at wtju.net

Please tune in to Radio Tropicale at noon on January 18 as Bruce is joined by guests from the UVa Chinese community for a preview show on Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival.  Spring Festival falls on January 23 this year, one of the earliest dates for this movable feast which, like Carnival before Lent, comes out of a lunar calendar and is the great last celebration preceding the start of spring. 

Spring Festival is the most important festival in Chinese culture, marked by family gatherings with special food, gifts and clothing.  It lasts for 5 days in modern China, where it is also the busiest travel time of the year as people return home.  It is also celebrated wherever Chinese communities have flourished, throughout south Asia (Singapore, Australia, etc.) and across the Pacific to the US and Canada.
For more information on Chinese New Year/Spring Festival:

Four stories from current or recent Chinese students on Spring Festival

1. Jason, a Phd student in Singapore

My family is from Sichuan (Southwestern China, the earthquake province).

My earliest memory of Spring Festival is when I was about 3 or 4 year old, I had a new cotton jacket as a gift. I remembered that because that coat was heavy and my mom was almost packing me into it.

My favorite Spring Festival memory is of the whole family gathering  together to make dumpling. I’ve always been the one watching since I don’t know how to make dumplings but it was warm and fun. For me, Spring Festival is all about happiness.

For Spring Festival 2012, I will celebrate with friends here at Singapore and watch the gala*.

*Gala: On Chinese New Year’s Eve, China Central Television puts on a four-hour long program in celebration of Chinese New Year’s. Among good wishes for the new year, the program showcases Chinese culture with performances ranging from the traditional (such as Beijing Opera and pun-based comedy sketches) to the popular (celebrity performances and, recently, magic shows).

2. Qiyang, a MS Accounting student at UVa

My family is from He’nan (Central China, place of Chinese national origin).

My earliest memory of Spring Festival is the first time I got Lucky Money* from elder family members.

My favorite memory is of fireworks. We boys also played firecrackers, and it was fun to see girls screaming while we set off the firecrackers.

Spring Festival has changed because everything costs more than before. It used to be 100 RMB (15USD) for a huge box of firecrackers, but now it costs double.  Also, fireworks are now controlled by the government, so we don’t get to see it every night during the festival.

For me as a little kid, Spring Festival meant that I could stay overnight for games and eat a lot, both are not permitted by parents unless it is holiday.

I’ve been away from home for Spring Festival for five years. So I guess I will just do what’s on schedule this year - homework or job-searching.

*Lucky money: A Chinese New Year’s tradition. Children – determined by age and marriage status – are given monetary gifts from their elders, who can be anyone ranging from parents and grandparents to extended relations and friends of relations.

3. Di, a MS Commerce student at UVa

My family is from Jiangsu (a Southeastern province near Shanghai; located on Yangtze River Delta).

My earliest memory of Spring Festival is definitely Lucky Money. It was a huge amount for me but I had to kowtow* for it.

My favorite Spring Festival memory is of the Spring Festival Gala. It is the most important TV show held by China’s Central Television. The show lasts over four hours on New Years Eve and gathers the most popular stars in China. As a kid I was always excited about Spring Festival coz there’ll be very good food served during it. Now the festival for me is more of an opportunity for the whole family to gather together and share with each other our life during the past year.

For Spring Festival 2012, Commerce students will hold a party. I will put on traditional Chinese dress, cheongsam**, and perform a song.

For Spring Festival 2012, Commerce students will hold a party. I will put on traditional Chinese dress, cheongsam**, and perform a song.

*Kowtow: Also ketou. A variation on the bow and a sign of deep respect. The person performing the kowtow kneels on the ground and leans over so that his forehead touches the ground. His palms are next to his face, also touching the ground.

**Cheongsam: Also qipao. A traditional body-hugging, one-piece dress for Chinese women. It was made popular in Shanghai in the 1920’s. The male equivalent is known as the changshan, which is a long robe. In some regions, cheongsam can also refer to the male changshan.

4. Liang, a recent graduate from a Chinese university, now an engineer for PetroChina’s Nigeria branch

My family is from Guangxi Province (South China, the Autonomous Region for Zhuang nationality).

My earliest memory of Spring Festival comes from when I was 4, I took a 10h trip to my grandparents’ home for the holiday.

It is a long journey for a kid but everyone was there and there was pretty good scenery in the mountainous area.

I am from a region where several different minorities live, so there are very special Spring Festival food, including a five-color glutinous rice cake*, the colors made by vegetable juice, each standing for a different kind of blessing. It seems that Spring Festival is not as special as before because the old traditions are fading. It’s now more of a time when businessmen make money, because increasing people would like to eat out.

For this Spring Festival we will have a small party with local colleagues and introduce them to the traditions in China, and afterwards I will facetime with my families.

*Glutinous rice cake: Though translated as “cake” because of a lack of an English equivalent, no flour is used. The cake has a solid shape, but has a different texture – smooth if you touch it, but sticky once you begin to chew. It is a popular tradition to eat glutinous rice cakes because they are so sticky; and the Chinese word for “sticky,” nian, is a homonym to the Chinese word for “year,” nian. 

Submitted by Bruce Penner, WTJU Folk

Friday, January 6, 2012

Robin & Linda Williams Concert LIVE on WTJU

LIVE From Jefferson Theater on WTJU
Friday, January 6, 2012 ● 8-9 pm (est)

WTJU is delighted to announce we will be broadcasting the first set of Robin & Linda Williams and Their Fine Group's concert from Jefferson Theater LIVE this January.  In addition to airing the first set of the concert, we will also be giving away tickets for the concert to 10 lucky listeners, which will include a Meet & Greet with Robin and Linda before the concert.

For three decades now, Red House Records recording artists Robin & Linda Williams have made it their mission to perform the music that they love, "a robust blend of bluegrass, folk, old-time and acoustic country that combines wryly observant lyrics with a wide-ranging melodicism."  Today some might call it "Americana," but these two revered music masters were living and breathing this elixir 20 years before that label was turned into a radio format.  As live performers they are second to none.  Their stirring concerts have earned them a huge body of fans over the years.  They have also gained widespread national prominence on Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion," as one half of The Hopeful Gospel Quartet, as well as performing in their own right.

But as gifted songwriters, Robin and Linda have earned an even more rare honor—the devotion and deep respect of their musical peers.  The list of artists who have covered their original songs include some of the greats of country music, names like Emmylou Harris, Tom T. Hall, Tim & Mollie O'Brien, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kathy Mattea and Mary Black. It is no wonder that their writing has garnered rave reviews from the likes of Billboard, USA Today and The Washington Post.

Submitted by Peter Jones, WTJU Folk

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Bennie Dodd Stops By Folk & Beyond

Thursday, 5 January 2012 ● 5 pm
WTJU 91.1 FM/Streaming at wtju.net

Bennie Dodd will stop by Folk & Beyond this Thursday for some great live music and conversation.  Joining him for a couple tunes will be Alan Hoffman.  They will all talk about The Big Big Bennie-Fit this Saturday at Fry Springs in Charlottesville.

Bennie Dodd, local musician and singer from the tiny Nelson County village of Beech Grove, has been playing music for over thirty years, establishing a reputation as a Charlottesville classic. He has played for such acts as Tracy Byrd, Charlie Daniels and Sammy Kershaw, and can sing anything from the Doobie Brothers to the soothing songs of Vince Gill. From country to oldies and bluegrass to rock-and-roll, Bennie Dodd entertains with phenomenal talent. As a one-man show, in his popular duo act, or with his full band, Bennie captivates his audiences and provides hours of entertainment. Joining Bennie for his acoustic act are Tony Fortune on vocals and acoustic guitar; Dave Sanford on vocals, bass and saxophone; Scott Stubbs on dobro and lap steel; and Ellen Nagase on fiddle and mandolin. Bennie also lends his vocal talents to the Bennie Dodd Band and Bennie Dodd and the Bluegrass Ramblers, playing classic rock-and-roll and country. Benefitting from Bennie’s contribution, these unique and talented bands command a great crowd and come highly recommended for many types of events.

On September 18th of this past year, Bennie underwent emergency surgery for a perforated duodenal ulcer and spent a total of six days in the University of Virginia Hospital, including three in intensive care. He has been without health insurance for almost two years, and his medical bills are staggering. In addition to this, Bennie and his family are facing foreclosure and are being forced to try and sell their home and seek more affordable accommodations.

Bennie is overwhelmed by the love and affection being shown to him by Charlottesville’s musical community. Numerous members are planning a benefit for him which will feature a variety of talented musicians including Jimmy Fortune, a former member of the Statler Brothers who is now a successful solo artist in his own right. Also performing will be the Gladstones featuring Bob Girard and Charlie Pastorfield; a long-awaited reunion of the Hartwell Woody Band featuring Bennie, Jimmy, Alan Hoffman and Eddie Hall; and numerous other musicians and bands to round out the program.

Submitted by Peter Jones, WTJU Folk