News

Autumn 2016

I’ve found some colleagues here in Asheville who have been seduced (as have I) by Scots tunes of the 17th & 18 C. Michael Garner is a fiddler of long experience with Irish and English country dance music. Chris Abell, a “weel kent” flute maker, is a fine player as well and rounds out our trio in playing some of this challenging music. Here’s a sample from a rehearsal of a suite I cobbled together: “Goodnight & God Be with You All;” “Bonny Dundee;” “Bonnie George Campbell” and “Rory Dall’s Port” are collectively Caledonia Carolina Suite #1.

New Year’s 2016

2015 flew by just getting acquainted with the mountains and people of North Carolina, though trips to New England and South Carolina took much of the autumn. Local music-making is much more of a front porch activity here, but a weekend in Nashville playing at the Country Music Hall of Fame with duet partner Gene Bush reminded me of the high level of musicianship Tennessee offers….and mandolin wizard Mike Compton setting in didn’t lower the level a bit! Here’s a photo taken by Roby Cogswell:

Bush--Nemerov--Compton @ CMHoF 12-20-15 - Copy (2)

Spring 2014

All impedimentia has been moved into the Asheville house and I’ve started taking a few solo gigs for the spring. It’s also time to reconnect with some former musical associates living here and see what develops in this beautiful part of North America.

Winter 2014

Getting ready to move Headquarters from Tennessee to Asheville, North Carolina has kept me close to home since early December. Spackling & Painting are the watchwords here….and with the brutal weather, it’s good to be off the road.

In addition to wielding a putty knife and paint brush, I’ve made time to arrange some Scots tunes for guitar. Here’s a quick take of one: The Hills of Lorne, written by the late Charlie Hunter, a great fiddler from Argyll.
The Hills of Lorne

Fall 2013

My co-creator Evan Hatch and I have completed the NEA/ACCC MusicSprings videos. Seventeen of the twenty-three episodes are up and viewable on Youtube and several Facebook pages. Editor Katherine Campbell did a great job on the most recent nine titles. Here’s one that uses footage shot at a concert given by Amy Macy and myself. Professor Clare Bratten (Middle Tennessee State University/Department of Electronic Media) shot this in HD. Yikes!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKYxpWOtQiU

Summer 2013

The videos mentioned below–under the title “MusicSprings”–have been written, recorded and edited. The first eight (more released weekly) are up on Youtube and various Facebook pages (including those of producing organizations the Arts Center of Cannon County and the Center for Popular Music). All the episodes should be out by the end of the year. It was challenging fun to combine scholarly information with entertaining musical and graphic samples. Take a look.

Winter/Spring 2013

Work on a series of videos on the subject of southern music history is underway. With my co-conspirator Evan Hatch (Mississippi John Hurt “Discovery” CD and numerous other projects) we’re writing and assembling a couple of dozen 5 minute videos on everything from Uncle Dave Macon and DeFord Bailey to Thos. A. Edison and the Fisk Jubilee Singers. Great fun. They should be out on the ‘net later this year. Thanks to the National Endowment for the Arts for making this possible.

I had a great time gigging with my music pal Jeff Long in Jackson, TN, mid-February. The highlight for me, though, was playing gospel tunes at Jeff’s church. The congregation are a singing bunch who like the old tunes. Here are a couple of samples: When They Ring Those Golden Bells and Glory, Glory, Hallelujah

Summer, 2012

Some new performance opportunities on the horizon: At the end of August, I’ll be giving a concert with Amy Macy, a superb old-time banjo player, fiddler and singer. We’ll be at the Arts Center of Cannon County in Woodbury, Tennessee for a shakedown of some new (for me) music. I’ve become enthralled with arranging Scottish and Irish harp and pipe music for guitar–very challenging work. With Amy’s talent added, we’ll present a repertoire of Old and New World music at the Arts Center. If you’re in Middle Tennessee come join us.

In October Amy and I, along with the sublime Odessa Settles, will give a program of mid-19th century music at the Civil War sesquicentennial of the Battle of Murfreesboro at the Stones River National Battlefield. Much of the music of the era came from Scots/Irish immigrant composers. This program, Saturday, October 27th, is free and open to the public. Period dress not required!

Fall, 2011

The Fedora Bros. had a good time on our early November swing through East Tennessee and W. North Carolina. Geno and I played a nice set, live on Knoxville’s WDVX “Blue Plate Special.” We shared the hour with Walter Strauss who lives near my old Marin Co., CA stomping grounds. We had a good chat and enjoyed each others’ music. Then it was off to Asheville where we saw my daughter Marie and son-in-law Matt before heading up to nearby Weaverville and the Jack of Hearts. This new venue is in the old Weaverville fire station and is  beautifully restored as a restaurant and music club. Good stage and lights and a super audio tech who had his hands full with a capacity crowd in a Saturday night party mood (some of whom were up dancing to ragtime and country-blues tunes). Thanks Mike; we could hear ourselves fine! Back to Knoxville the next day and a brief stop at the Slow Foods Knoxville fund raiser. Looking forward to getting back up that way again. This trip caught the Fall colors near-peak going through the Smokies between Knoxtown and Asheville; what a beautiful part of America.

My Fedora Brother Geno (Gene Bush) and I had a great time at the Mississippi John Hurt Tribute Concert on July 30th. We played to a near capacity crowd in The Arts Center of Cannon County’s Wilma Adams Theater. Author Phil Ratcliffe was on hand (all the way from Dunoon, Argyll, Scotland–well done, Phil) to sign copies of his newly-printed biography of Hurt.

We were so pleased that Tom Hoskins’ sister Suzanne and her husband Joe made the trek from Smyrna, GA for the program. Suzanne is rightly proud of her late brother’s role in bringing John Hurt’s genius to public attention–well done, Tom! See below for a couple of sources that tell the story of Hoskins and Hurt

Discovery: the Rebirth of Mississippi John Hurt–the historic 1963 recordings made by Tom Hoskins at the Hurt home  in Avalon, Mississippi are now out on CD. These recordings were the start of Mississippi John’s “rediscovery.”  Designer Sharisse Steber has done a magnificent job with the photos, graphics and notes in the 28 page booklet. The notes tell the story of Hoskins’ search for the recording artist who was just a name on a few old 78 rpm records. The notes draw from the shared research of Phil Ratcliffe, whose 308 page biography of  Hurt is now out (University Press of Mississippi). It’s a great read. Order it from the usual places.

Order the CD from Spring Fed Records: http://www.artscenterofcc.com/Spring-fed/Discovery.html

At the end of September, I played a concert at the Ruffin Theater, a beautifully restored Art Deco movie palace in Covington, Tennessee. Jeff Long, my friend from Jackson, lent his harmony singing and string wizardry to the evening. Thanks to Mark and everyone at the Ruffin for an enjoyable night.

Links to the Ruffin concert:

Freight Train Boogie: http://www.youtube.com/watchv=JGUT9P5_ZpU&feature=related

Kentucky Blues: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfOq-Vo2PRo&feature=related

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The  new CD ZENO DREAMED has been out for a short while and has received some nice reviews on Amazon.com and in the UK’s premiere folk music magazine fROOTS where, with a thumbs-up, they said:

“His straightforward, no frills style has a homespun, archaic charm, and the overall effect is charming.”

Only the Brits could come up with that!

Americana UK has this to say:

AMERICANA-UK

Jeremy Searle

Friday, 07 January 2011

Bruce Nemerov “Zeno Dreamed”

(Spring Fed Records, 2010)

Reviewers Rating

8/10

Understated and charming American folk-roots

  • Despite having started playing professionally in the Sixties and been a musician ever since this is Bruce Nemerov’s first solo album. Which is a pity, as it’s a lovely little thing, mixing traditional songs and tunes with originals in a rural folk style full of quietness and grace. Accompanied by just his delicately plucked acoustic guitar Nemerov sings in an understated way that forces you to listen and makes you hear even hoary old standards like “Greensleeves” anew.
  • You can hear a lifetime of playing and experience in these songs and tunes, and craftsmen like Nemerov are the people who keep this music alive. It’s not an album of highlights but more one of consistent high quality, though a strong version of “The Dreadful Wind & Rain”, familiar in many guises and from many countries and here given a quietly mournful treatment, and a live, stompingly good-time take on “Kentucky Blues” are both noteworthy. Nemerov’s music doesn’t shout or demand your attention but just quietly sets up and gets on with it and gradually you’re drawn in. Charming, laidback and a joy to listen to, this is a lovely album.

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After many years as a sideman, on stage and in recording studios with headliners like Jeannie C. Riley, Bill Monroe, Phil Harris, Vassar Clements, Norman Blake and many others, Bruce has finally stepped out front with his inaugural solo offering, Zeno Dreamed, on the feisty independent label Spring Fed Records.

The eleven tracks of original and “recomposed” traditional songs and tunes, including two performances from live radio broadcast, combine with a colorful booklet of stories and song notes to give Zeno Dreamed the narrative of a concept album. The concept? Music in the South — uniquely appealing music — is born of a peculiar mix of cultures and history. To quote Bruce:

“Whites and Blacks… and Mexicans and Cubans too… whoever can play is welcome. Stone hillbilly coalminers and black-as-midnight cotton-pickers will share a 12-string guitar with a Mexican and drink out of the same bottle. Down here, with music at least, it’s Mix and Mingle… Stir the Stew… Jumble the Gumbo.”

In addition to his history of recording and performing with others, Bruce is a Grammy winning writer, record producer and theatrical music director. He is a cast member, as “Professor Zeno,” in the show Riders Radio Theater, starring Riders in the Sky.

And now it’s time for Zeno Dreamed, Bruce’s musical collection of Southern stories on Spring Fed Records.

Zeno Dreamed [SFR 1001]; distributed by City Hall; Release date 9/21/10  Now on sale at: http://springfedrecords.com and all the usual places, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. But we’d prefer you support our friends at Spring Fed. Thanks.