Rock News: Music's high and low notes

By JOHN SWENSON, United Press International  |  April 11, 2003 at 3:00 AM
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The French Quarter Festival, Louisiana's largest free music festival, takes place this weekend with nearly 140 live performances featured throughout the French Quarter, from Canal Street to Esplanade Avenue and from Bourbon Street to the Mississippi River. Many of the performers featured at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in two weeks will be playing for free on the 15 stages of French Quarter Fest.

Performers include such New Orleans legends as Pete Fountain, Kipori Woods, Ingrid Lucia, Joe Krown Organ Combo, the Little Freddie King Blues Band, Irvin Mayfield, Coco Robicheaux and Spiritland, the Brint Anderson Band, the Irene Sage Band, Papa Grows Funk, the Leslie Smith Band, All That, Theresa Andersson, Marva Wright, Willie Tee, Bonerama, Olympia Brass Band, Soul Rebels Brass Band, New Orleans Nightcrawlers, the Rockin' Jake Band, Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, Walter "Wolfman" Washington and the Roadmasters, Donald Harrison, Jr. Quintet, Dr. Michael White's Liberty Brass Band, Original Pin-Stripe Brass Band, Jimmy Thibodeaux, the Hackberry Ramblers, Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, John Autin, the Pfister Sisters, Washboard Chaz Blues Trio, Leigh "Little Queenie" Harris, Dukes of Dixieland, Michael Ray and the Cosmic Krewe, Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers, Wardell Quezerque Big Band, The Revealers and George Porter, Jr. and the Pardners.


San Antionio's Art Dacha at .357 Blue Star is holding a multi-media party Friday with East L.A.'s Ollin, Boxcar Satan, Los Mescaleros, DJ Robotico and DJ Rojelio. Ollin will be returning to Los Angeles Sunday for a three-month performance at the Los Angeles Music Center featuring the band's original music and the Rodarte brothers as actors and musicians in the May premier of "Chavez Ravine" by the performance group Culture Clash. Ollin has been in residence at Art Dacha at the George Yepes Studio in San Antonio since March 3. During that time the group collaborated with the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center on the musical "Beautiful Senoritas," the GCAC Teatro Program, the GCAC's Juntos En Arte Program, and performances with Will Owen-Gage and the 12-Guage Boys, Sexto Sol, Boxcar Satan, Los Mescaleros, Iguanas, and the Paladins in Austin.


W.C. Handy award winner Otis Taylor has a new album, "Truth Is Not Fiction" ready for release June 24 on Telarc Records. "Truth..." marks a significant shift in style from the minimalist, acoustic-driven approach of his previous discs to the electrified sound of the new material, which Taylor describes as "trance-blues."

"For me, in order to define truth, one must seek out the edges, and that's exactly where our music went," said Taylor. "By incorporating unusual instrumentation like cello, electric banjo, violin and mandolin, we were able to explore different textures and really stretch the music to, you know, the outer limits. That's sort of what this music is like for me."

A topical artist who draws heavily from personal experiences, Taylor delves into subjects like civil rights ("Rosa, Rosa"), the will to live ("Be My Frankenstein"), and rape ("House of the Crosses"). Taylor plays banjo, mandolin, harmonica and a range of guitars. Also on the record are guitarist Eddie Turner, cellist Ben Sollee and bassist Kenny Passarelli, who also produced the disc as well as Taylor's last two efforts, "White African" (2001) and "Respect

The Dead" (2002).


Folk music Michael Hurley will perform a rare New York show April 16 at the Knitting Factory. Hurley is one of the last remaining American rambling folk troubadours. Hoboing around the country, making music since the days Bob Dylan first set foot in New York's Gaslight club, Hurley recorded his first album for Moses Ash's Folkways label in 1964. This debut album, "First Songs," has recently been reissued on Locust Music under the "new" and originally intended title, "Blubeberry Wine." Hurley continued to release albums for both Warner Brothers and Rounder. Hurley's latest albums -- "Weatherhole" and "Sweetkorn" - show no sign of artistic decline and garnered rave reviews. While many of his contemporaries are long past their prime or have expired, Hurley's muse still is intact.


Britney Spears' failed Nyla restaurant venture left behind nearly $400,000 in unpaid bills, reports Court TV's The Smoking Gun Web site. When Nyla filed for bankruptcy, creditors including a beverage wholesaler ($864.27) and a General Motors subsidiary that built the restaurant's staircase ($101,000). Last October three creditors went to court claiming Nyla owed them more than $25,000. The bankruptcy papers identify an additional 14 creditors, including the landlord, ($72,000), Con Edison (more than $50,000) and New York State (more than $4,500 in sales tax).

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