Avant Garde Artist Tony Conrad’s Music and Films Explored on Tom Needham’s the Sounds of Film

THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2017
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Tyler Hubby, the director of Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present, will be Tom Needham’s special guest this Thursday at 6 PM on the Sounds of Film on WUSB.

For more information, visit: http://www.longisland.com/news/03-22-17/tony-conrad-tylyer-hubby-sounds-...

Noam Pikelny on Country Pocket

For Steve Martin, comedy and singing came first. Then he embarked on a career as an acclaimed banjoist. Though Noam Pikelny is very much still actively pursuing his interest in banjo playing, he’s also picking up on a few of Steve’s old tricks.

Early in Winter 2016, I had the pleasure of seeing Pikelny on his first solo tour on what had to be the coldest and windiest night in recent memory. At the very least it was the most brutal that I’ve attempted a walk from a train station to a theater. There in Bayshore, Pikelny filled the space between songs, including many on this album, with standup comedy. There were memories of senility at the Opry and an idea for using the slide guitar to prevent suicide. The crowd, including myself, thought he was consistently hilarious. When I spoke to him for the March 20 episode of Country Pocket on WUSB, Pikelny had a different theory.

“It’s possible that it was hypothermia that led you to enjoy my banter,” Pikelny said, deadpan. “Maybe that was all fueled by some sort of primal survival instinct that laughing would maybe keep you alive.”

While not touring and recording solo, Pikelny is the banjoist for Punch Brothers. The two roles have made him somewhat of a universal favorite in the world of progressive bluegrass, particularly since he released the incredibly titled Noam Pikelny Plays Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe. His latest album, which happens to be called Universal Favorite, finds him singing on one of his records for the first time. Pikelny admitted he doesn’t have the most natural bluegrass voice.

“So much of bluegrass vocals kind of hinges on the high and lonesome sound and singing at the top of people’s ranges,” Pikelny said. “Well, the top of my range is still in the subterranean zone. I found music that seemed to fit my voice that I felt comfortable singing that would also be a springboard for instrumental playing.”

Pikelny chose exceptionally well when it came to which cover songs he sang on. “Old Banjo” worked exceptionally well thanks to Pikelny’s exception ability to convey dry humor while singing. “My Tears Don’t Show” and “Sweet Sunny South” benefited from the deep, glum notes not many other bluegrass singers could hit. “Folk Bloodbath,” a Josh Ritter tune, used a little of both of those traits. It’s only “I’ve Been A Long Time Leavin’ (But I’ll Be A Long Time Gone)” where Pikelny runs into the limits of his voice on a few stretched out notes and some fast spoken words.

As to be expected, the best part of Universal Favorite is the banjo playing. Pikelny is pictured standing alone on a small island on the album’s cover, which is appropriate considering he’s the only musician on the album. It’s hard to tell on lush tracks like “Hen Of The Woods” and “Moretown Hop,” both of which blend twang and classical music the way one might expect progressive bluegrass. “The Great Falls” is a serene track played on a slide guitar and the attention-grabbing “Waveland” is almost unrecognizable as a banjo tune but just as graceful.

He described his approach to this album as wanting to provide an “intimate glimpse of the banjo.”

“There are a lot of things that the banjo can do that don’t necessarily happen when there’s a five piece band,” Pikelny said. “The banjo can actually be very warm and can sustain when just played solo. It was a chance to write music in a different fashion and come up with tunes that would stand up without interpretation from a band. It delivered me to a spot where I was making music that was very direct, and I wanted that to be encapsulated on the record.”

It’s Pikelny’s ability to showcase the lesser known qualities of the banjo that will likely make this album a favorite among new grass fans.

Pikelny will be playing Bowery Ballroom at a seated show on Friday, March 24. There will be sublime banjo playing and probably more than a few laughs, preferably without any hypothermia. And listen below to Pikelny explain his history with “Old Banjo” before the show airs.

Antje Duvekot & Natalia Zukerman in WUSB's Sunday Street Series

Sunday, April 2nd at 5 P.M.

A co-bill of two outstanding singer/songwriters with unique voices.

Antje Duvekot has achieved recognition for her songs with awards from the Boston music scene and the Kerrville Folk Festival, leading to appearances at The Newport and Philadelphia Folk Festivala. Her latest a;bum, Toward The Thunder, draws upon the talent of folk luminaries like Richard Shindell and Anais Mitchell to showcase her unforgettable voice and beautifully-crafted songs. (www.antjeduvekot.com)

Of Natalia Zukerman, The New Yorker says that “Natalia’s voice could send an orchid into bloom while her guitar playing can open a beer bottle with its teeth.” The daughter of classical musicians Eugenia and Pinchas Zukerman, Natalia is proficient on slide guitar, lap steel, and dobro, putting those instruments to good use in her grasp of folk, jazz and blues influences. (www.nataliazukerman.com)

Advance sale $23 through Friday, March 31st  at www.sundaystreet.org with tickets at the door (cash only) for $28

Aloe Blacc, Maya Jupiter and Tony-Award Winning Actor, Bill Irwin, on Tom Needham’s the Sounds of Film

THURSDAY, MARCH 16, 2017
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM EDT

International Superstar Aloe Blacc, wife Maya Jupiter and legendary actor, Bill Irwin, will be Tom Needham’s special guests
this Thursday at 6 P.M. on WUSB’s the Sounds of Film.

For more information, visit: http://www.longisland.com/news/03-14-17/aloe-blacc-bill-irwin-interview-sounds-of-film.html

Port Jeff Documentary Series Spotlight on Jazz On The Air

This Sunday, March 12, Mr. Edison will not only be celebrating women in jazz who've done incredible things but also women in our neighborhood who do incredible things..

Some of the ladies who help run the Port Jefferson Documentary Series will be showing up on the show to talk about the latest season of engaging fact based films, the kinds of films that got the Port Jefferson Documentary Series named Long Island's Best Film Festival despite being out promoted and out spent by various other film festivals here.

Jazz On The Air airs 3:00-6:00 p.m. (interview will be around the 5:00 mark)

For more information about the Port Jefferson Documentary Series, visit http://www.portjeffdocumentaryseries.com/