Thursday, November 10, 2016

Introduction to the 3 bands I'll be working with in the upcoming year.

Howdy Everyone!

As Big Daddy Love is winding down from constant touring, I've been trying on different hats for the next phase of my life. Mostly I've been writing articles, creating podcasts, and helping other bands grow their careers. Out of those three, one of them feels completely natural to me--helping other bands.

I've decided to put my years of music industry experience to use by working with three groups that I'm absolutely passionate about. These three groups are similar in that they all create music on par with the best-of-the-best in today's vibrant southern music scene. The only thing separating these artists with festival headliners is how many people know about them.

That's where I come in. BDL was extremely lucky in how fast we moved up through the southeastern music scene, and I hope to use that experience to do the same with them.

Here are the three artists. Please find some time and play ALL of these videos and let me know what you think! 

Hank, Pattie, and the Current
An all-star group in every sense of the phrase, this new group out of Raleigh, NC had a huge showing at this year's IBMA festival. Boasting a wealth of three lead singers, four songwriters, and a banjo player that has turned the ear of both Bela Fleck and Jens Kruger, these guys and gal are a powerhouse group.  Keep up with them here.


The instrumental at the end of this half-set, "Sundown," is on the first ballot for Grammy nominations.



Aaron Burdett
Many of you know Aaron from the years of following BDL. Aaron has played a good number of shows with us and I've always worked hard to turn people onto his music. No Depression magazine wrote “A lot of great male voices have come from North Carolina including Eric Church, James Taylor, Randy Travis and Don Williams. With the release of 'Tinderbox,' Aaron Burdett has proven this his name needs to be added to that list.” –Rick Amburgey, No Depression
Follow Aaron here.

Here's a preview of one of his new songs he will be recording in the coming months.

Aaron Burdett - Something Out Of Nothing from Moonlight Mile Productions on Vimeo.


Kevin Maines

This guy--Holy Moly. When I first heard the music of Kevin Maines all I could think was "Why is this guy not on main stage of FloydFest?" Throughout the years of traveling around this country we've been handed dozens upon dozens of CDs. Many of them were good, a few were great, but American Hustle by Kevin Maines was the best. You can download this album for free HERE.  Do It.
Follow Kevin here.

These tracks will be on his upcoming album


Kevin called me one day and said he was going to attempt Stapleton's "Sometimes I Cry" for a studio compilation project. I said, "Good luck, but you should have a backup plan ready."  A few weeks later he sent me this. I knew his voice was good.  I didn't know it was this good.




--Brian Paul Swenk

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Ep. 14 of LBC podcast -- Calvin Ballenger

**If you're new to podcasts, check out the explanation at the bottom of the page**

Imagine getting a text from a friend saying "You're internet famous."  Then imagine finding out that it's from a viral meme that you didn't create, know nothing about, and claims that you're a Trump supporter....when you're not.

That's what happened to Texan Calvin Ballenger.

This Guy >>>>>>>


Now...imagine creating a Trump meme of a crazy-looking guy with two assault rifles that goes viral.  Now imagine crazy-looking guy with assault rifles tracking you down.

That's what happened to me.

This whole situation could have gone bad pretty quickly, but it didn't. Calvin was cool and open to talking and I was, to say the least, apologetic and conciliatory.

In this podcast, we discuss what it was like for him to become "internet famous," the current political climate, and what people on the border towns actually think about Trump's plan to build a YUGE wall.

Download from iTunes here (and subscribe in your podcasts app!)
Android phones download from Stitcher
Or stream from Soundcloud below



The picture of Calvin with two assault rifles was originally taken on the set of an independent movie he was working on called "Tejano" by up-and-coming filmmaker David Blue Garcia.

The process of creating this amazingly beautiful independent film is explained here (and it's worth your time to check it out).
Also here and here

Why I made my FIRST FEATURE FILM in my Home town from David Blue Garcia on Vimeo.


Keep up with Calvin:
Instagram
Facebook

________________________________
Thanks to our sponsor Lincoln Theatre of Raleigh, NC.
Check out their music schedule and website here.


--Brian Paul Swenk

If you enjoy, please sign the email list on the left and follow:
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***If you are new to podcasts here is a quick explanation. Podcasts are basically a recorded radio/audio show that can be downloaded and/or streamed to your phone, tablet, or computer.  If you have an iPhone, you have a podcast app on there already. Open it and search "Lonesome Banjo Chronicles." If you click "subscribe," the latest episode will download automatically when you're connected to wifi, or you can manually download any episode whenever you like. If you have any other type of phone, download the Soundcloud app, or the Stitcher App and search for Lonesome Banjo Chronicles, and you can stream from there.  Hope this helps. Thanks for the support!***

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Travers Brothership's newest release "A Way To Survive" is a powerhouse album.




Travers Brothership is experiencing their "Golden Age" says Kyle Travers, half of the twin brother team that leads this impressively soulful project. One only has to spend 10 seconds listening to their new, kickstarter fan-funded album A Way To Survive to believe him.

Boasting the wealth of four songwriters within the band, A Way To Survive takes us back decades to the golden age of rock and roll, when albums were meant to be listened to in one complete sitting. To when bands enjoyed the process of recording and used the recorded album format as a jump-off point for creativity and experimentation. To when the song was a mere starting point, and layers of instrumental interplay were recorded with both care and thoughtful intention.



A Way To Survive opens with "Hold My Name," written and sung by bassist Josh Clark. The teasingly soft bass, organ, and guitar intro lays a quick foundation for the punctuated horn lines to announce the fully realized musical experience that's about to take place. Clark's voice is on the front lines of the Southern Soul and R&B revolution taking place in today's live music scene, with singers like Paul Janeway from St Paul and The Broken Bones.

Listening to A Way To Survive, you can't escape the feeling that this album wasn't made in today's times. It was somehow unearthed from the early 70s, when vocals and song structure were as important, and many times more important, than instrumental prowess. Before prog-rock and jambands, songs were based around the other-world sense of hearing human voices work together. From The Beatles to The Doobie Brothers, you connected with those voices first, simply because the voice is universal. Travers Brothership is reminding us of this lost art.

"Time Will Slip Away," written by Eric Travers, who's primarily on drums, (they regularly switch instruments) is a funk-bass driven rocker that features their "secret weapon," Ian McIsaac, on both keys and percussion. "We didn't want to over-produce it," says Kyle Travers, "but we wanted to add some elements that took it away from the bare-bones Brothership." Half way through, the song morphs into a conga-led percussive breakdown that builds up into the inter-weaving of organ and guitar phrases. A subtle tease of the longer jams you'll find in the Travers Brothership live shows.

While many bands place their stripped down acoustic track at the end of the album, these guys made the bold choice to feature it directly in the middle of the A-side. As a counterbalance to the more complex arrangements, "The Road Interlude" is a two chord groovy meditation on the late night drives and existential adventures of band life throughout the southeastern United States.
Few albums in the last couple of decades have brought forth the spirit of Muscle Shoals as A Way To Survive does here. The guys in Travers Brothership make the complex sound simple, and have the patience and discipline to allow the simple to sound complex--a universal artistic goal that few achieve. Kyle is correct: this is their "Golden Age." All their efforts, along with recording engineer Matt Williams in his studio Eagle Room, have produced an album powerful enough to raise their sound from the southeast into the national scene. There are hundreds of great bands aiming for the major leagues, but few of them bring such a complete package as Travers Brothership. In this horse race, I've found where I'm putting my money.
Find Travers Brothership tour dates here.

Listen to the Lonesome Banjo Chronicles podcast with Kyle Travers here (for iphone) or here (for android)


--Brian Paul Swenk

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Ep. 13 of LBC Podcast -- Kyle Travers of the Travers Brothership

**If you're new to podcasts, check out the explanation at the bottom of the page**


In this episode, I catch up with Kyle Travers, one of the twin brothers that leads the Asheville based band Travers Brothership.

This is a band you're almost guaranteed to love from the moment you hear the first song. A funky, soulful, southern inspired groove that uses horn lines and 4-part harmonies with ease and playfulness.

We talk about how their dad inspired them to dive headfirst into music and how removing the ego is the best way to create great moments in the studio.

Download from iTunes here (and subscribe in your podcasts app!)
Android phones download from Stitcher
Or stream from Soundcloud below

We listen to 5 songs from their new album "A Way To Survive"
1. Hold My Name -- 14:38
2. Time Will Slip Away -- 37:37
3. Be Here Now -- 57:03
4. The Road Interlude -- 1:22:34
5. Clothes On My Back -- 1:24:25

____________________________________________________________________
This is our last week of partnering with Front Porch Fest for 2016. The festival is Sept 2-4 and my band, Big Daddy Love, will be playing Saturday evening from 7:00-8:30pm.
We want to thank them for everything and look forward to seeing everyone there this weekend!

--Brian Paul Swenk

If you enjoy, please sign the email list on the left and follow:
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***If you are new to podcasts here is a quick explanation. Podcasts are basically a recorded radio/audio show that can be downloaded and/or streamed to your phone, tablet, or computer.  If you have an iPhone, you have a podcast app on there already. Open it and search "Lonesome Banjo Chronicles." If you click "subscribe," the latest episode will download automatically when you're connected to wifi, or you can manually download any episode whenever you like. If you have any other type of phone, download the Soundcloud app, or the Stitcher App and search for Lonesome Banjo Chronicles, and you can stream from there.  Hope this helps. Thanks for the support!***

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Religious Right's Last Gasp by Kerry Walters


Kerry Walters, author of over 40 books in philosophy, theology, and history, explains how the Religious Right has usurped Christianity in its insatiable quest for power and social control. As the number of people who regularly attend church plummets, and the number of people claiming "none" for religious preference rises, we look in many directions for the causes.  The marriage of Christianity and the extreme conservatism of the Religious Right is not the lone reason, but will be seen as one of the main ones. 
  
The Religious Right's Last Gasp
--Kerry Walters
I can think of nothing that’s done more damage to American Christianity than the Religious Right. 
Despite what the movement’s prophets sanctimoniously shout from their pulpits, it’s not secular humanism, gay marriage, abortion, the ACLU, evolution, porn, or the ban against school prayer that’s most eroded Christianity in this country. 
What’s emptied churches is the unseemly ambition of Religious Right leaders like Jerry Falwell (father and son), James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Ralph Reed, and Franklin Graham to crown themselves moral police and political powerbrokers.  Make no mistake about it:  politics is the tail that wags this dog.  From Day One, the Religious Right cynically hijacked Jesus as a front man for its political agenda.  
But the Religious Right has now jettisoned any pretense to being genuinely Christian. How else to explain its embrace of a presidential candidate who’s as far from being a Christian as a starfish is from being a star?  The endorsement has the feel of a last-ditch, at-any-cost attempt to hold onto the political power the movement’s enjoyed for nearly forty years.
God willing, it’s the Religious Right’s final gasp.
I don’t say this because I’m one of those liberal Christians who, as a clerical colleague of mine hyperbolically states, “believe whatever they want to as long as it makes them feel good.”  I’m actually a pretty traditional Christian, although not, perhaps, enough of one for my conservative friends and certainly too much of one for my liberal friends.   
I subscribe to what C.S. Lewis called “mere Christianity”:  a holding fast to central doctrines, identifiable through revelation and reason, coupled with a willingness to welcome or at least hear out a wide breadth of moral, spiritual, and theological positions.  Mere Christianity embraces the humble spirit of St. Augustine’s “in necessary things unity; in uncertain things freedom; in everything charity.” 
Augustine’s counsel sticks in the craw of the Religious Right, whose leaders demand lockstep fidelity to the political goals they morph into “Christian” principles.
When challenged, the Religious Right exhibits the denunciatory spirit of the Taliban, even if it stops short of the latter’s nasty practices.  From the 1979 launch of the Moral Majority to the present day, the movement has thunderously called down God’s judgment on anyone who refuses to embrace That Old Time Religion version of Christianity it hucksters for political gain.
For all its Bible-thumping, the Religious Right shows scant respect for scripture, cherry-picking scriptural passages that best fit its social and political agenda and ignoring others. 
Both Testaments, for example, call for radical hospitality to the stranger.  The Religious Right wants to close the borders. 
Jewish and Christian Scripture obliges us to care for the orphaned, widowed, and poor.  The Religious Right despises “welfare bums.” 
The two Testaments consistently warn against the abuse of power, while offering only a handful of observations about sexual conduct.  The Religious Right obsesses over sexual morality to the point of lechery, but remains relatively silent about social injustice.
Jesus’ moral teachings in the Gospels center on nonviolent love.  The Religious Right never saw a weapons procurement bill it didn’t back.
Again and again, despite its biblical rhetoric, the Religious Right favors Caesar over God.  This arrogant doublespeak has not gone unnoticed, and it’s undermined the credibility of Christianity in America.
Because the media can’t seem to get enough of the Religious Right’s antics—after all, reportage of outrageous sectarian positions makes for good copy—thousands of otherwise thoughtful people now believe that the Religious Right and Christianity are synonymous.  Thanks to this confusion, those who otherwise might have explored the faith with open minds and hearts are repelled by it.
Moreover, national surveys routinely reveal that Millennials turn away from Christianity primarily because they’re turned off by the Religious Right’s joyless puritanism.  Data also show that a sizable portion of once-churched Christians―”nones”―leave because of the Religious Right’s splenetic intolerance and transparent politicking.
But the good news is that the tide seems to be turning. The Religious Right’s jaundiced presidential endorsement can’t but reveal the movement for what it is:  an unscrupulous political machine that has nothing to do with genuine Christianity and everything to do with lust for power.  This exposure surely numbers its days.
Now, for we mere Christians, begins the uphill work of rehabilitating the faith that the Religious Right so besmirched.
--Kerry Walters


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Friday, August 12, 2016

Ep. 12 of LBC Podcast -- Jeff Jackson, NC State Senator, 37th District

**If you're new to podcasts, check out the explanation at the bottom of the page**

Jeff Jackson in Afganistan 
In this episode, we talk with Senator Jeff Jackson of NC Senate District 37. Jeff talks about the realities of being a Democratic Senator in a state government that's beholden to far right interests and how he's fighting for an independent commission to redraw district lines to better reflect the bipartisan realities of the state.

Jeff talks about how a master's degree in philosophy and his experience as a state prosecutor make him a better senator. He also breaks down the North Carolina gubernatorial election and gives tips on finding the humanity in local politics.

Download the podcast from iTunes here (subscribe in your podcasts app on your iPhone!)
Android phones download from Stitcher
Or stream from Soundcloud below.

In the podcast, we listen to the speech Jeff gave to the general assembly about the unfairness of releasing budgets written without any minority input. If you don't listen to the full podcast, at least listen to this speech.





_________________
We want to thank our two sponsors this week:
The Photobooth: by Andy Cox Photography
This is a full-service mobile portrait studio. Unlike those other "touch-screen" boxes they offer a professional studio photography experience with a professionally trained photographer. Prints are produced within minutes of a portrait session so that guests can leave after a session with a souvenir.

Front Porch Fest:  Sept 2-4 near Stuart, VA.
Headliners include Zach Deputy, The Hip Abduction, Laura Reed, Trongone Band and Big Daddy Love.

--Brian Paul Swenk

If you enjoy, please sign the email list on the left and follow:
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Twitter




***If you are new to podcasts here is a quick explanation. Podcasts are basically a recorded radio/audio show that can be downloaded and/or streamed to your phone, tablet, or computer.  If you have an iPhone, you have a podcast app on there already. Open it and search "Lonesome Banjo Chronicles." If you click "subscribe," the latest episode will download automatically when you're connected to wifi, or you can manually download any episode whenever you like. If you have any other type of phone, download the Soundcloud app, search for Lonesome Banjo Chronicles, and you can stream from there.  Hope this helps. Thanks for the support!***

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Jerry Garcia Symphonic Celebration featuring Warren Haynes, Bethel, NY, 8/6/16 FULL SHOW




Set 1:
Dark Star
Bird Song
Crazy Fingers
Shakedown Street
Here Comes Sunshine
China Cat Sunflower
Scarlet Begonias
Morning Dew

Set 2:
Uncle John's Band
Touch of Grey
Days Between
West L.A. Fadeaway
Drums
Blues for Allah
Terrapin Station
Slipknot!
Terrapin Refrain
Encore:
Ripple

--Brian Paul Swenk

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