Henry Saint Clair Fredericks, a.k.a. Taj Mahal, started performing in his native New England, and developed his roots- and blues-influenced performance style after moving to California and playing in bands with Ry Cooder, among others. He often shared billing with '60s rock acts at the Fillmore West, and grew into a popular attraction at folk, blues and jazz venues around the world.
Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale have contributed to roots music to an immeasurable degree throughout their careers. As songwriters and players, both solo and together, they've led bands, worked as sidemen and written great songs.
For our Sense of Place: Nashville week, we just had to showcase Luella and the Sun, which has made major fans out of Grimey's Records' Doyle Davis, other bands like Moon Taxi and NPR Music's Ann Powers.
When Kail Baxley was a kid growing up in Williston, S.C., James Brown used to challenge him to dance-offs. Baxley didn't win so much. He did better as an amateur boxer — his key to getting out of the small town and traveling to Europe and Africa.
Legendary pianist Mose Allison has appeared on Mountain Stage four times over the years — and this is his very first performance, recorded January 15, 1989. Born in Tippo, Miss. in 1927, Allison has always straddled the line between blues and jazz, never favoring one genre over the other.
For the past 37 years, Down Home Music Store has sat on a lonely block in El Cerrito, Calif. For all that time, Chris Strachwitz has stocked the store with a treasure trove of American roots music. He produced many of the records filling Down Home's bins.
Originally published on Mon April 22, 2013 3:41 pm
Grammy-winning blues-rock singer Ben Harper has made 10 studio albums over the course of his career. For his latest project, he teamed up with harmonica legend Charlie Musselwhite to release a collaborative album titled Get Up! Musselwhite, one of the few white musicians to gain exposure in the blues scene during the 1960s, has released 26 records and was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2010.
Originally published on Sun February 24, 2013 9:53 pm
A new album by bluesman Corey Harris pays tribute to one Southern neighborhood with a particularly haunted past.
Fulton Blues is named for a district in Richmond, Va., that was once home to a large number of the city's middle class African-American families. But by the 1960s, Fulton had fallen on hard times. Its scenic views of the James River and easy access to downtown made it a target for "urban renewal," as it was euphemistically called in the Virginia Statehouse. The residents of Fulton were evicted and the neighborhood was razed.
Juke-joint bluesmen Robert "Bilbo" Walker and Anthony "Big A" Sherrod know how to rock a party. Sherrod, 29, wrote the title song to the blues documentary We Juke Up In Here, while Walker (his father-in-law) is one of the most charismatic 76-year-olds you'll ever meet.