As promised, here’s another clip of The Double Cuts performing as part of Street Folk Sessions. This tune is older than your grandparents, so feel free to share it with them. It’s a tin pan alley standard called Ain’t She Sweet.

Early last month I was fortunate enough to record several tunes with The Double Cuts as part of a Street Folk Sessions video series. The first of five videos has surfaced, and I’ll be sure to share them all as they come along.

Having a little fun with my new friends in The Boxcar Boys:

Two very special birthdays today, March 6. The city of Toronto celebrates its 180th year of incorporation, still going strong despite our recent comically absurd appearances on the world stage. Also the great visionary, fiddler, bandleader and forefather of Western swing Bob Wills would have celebrated his 109th. Living in one and inspired by the other, I hope anyone reading this finds some small way to celebrate the places we live and the people we admire. “Ah… hahh!”

It took a chance encounter with a record shop in Birmingham UK to find an album’s worth of Willy Girard material. A contemporary of the early jazz violinists, Girard held a long stint with former Duke Ellington trumpeter Louis Metcalf whose international bebop band would regularly perform at Cafe St. Michel, a reputable jazz hole in the bustling musical community of 1940s Montreal. 

Available for the first time on YouTube, a well spirited performance of a Willy Girard original resurrected from relative obscurity and digitized forever (lest we forget!)

Yours truly bobbing his head alongside Toronto’s only remaining Western Swing band, The Double Cuts. Here’s a standard called Fan It, originally penned (I think) by Frankie Half-Pint Jaxon in 1928.

Eddie Condon & The Dixieland All-Stars - Theme From Swan Lake
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In compiling an intermission playlist for my show The Double, I leaned heavily on Eddie Condon & The Dixieland All-Stars, whose album Midnight In Moscow does well to treat swarthy continental melodieslike Dark Eyes and Meadowlands in a wash of uproarious New Orleans-inspired jazz. The liner notes tell of a casual day in the studio under the laid-back leadership of Condon, whose recording philosophy is described in two words: “Be there.” The buoyancy of the performance coupled with the playfulness of the arrangements is balanced against the elegance and regality of the melodies with less effort than a breeze through wild flowers. Presented here for your consideration is Theme From Swan Lake, as cheerfully interpreted by one of America’s great bygone jazz masters. 

From “The State of Poetry” by Roger McGough

From “The State of Poetry” by Roger McGough

Billy Joe Shaver - Chicken on the Ground
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He’s missing a few fingers and he’s shot a man in the face. Here’s a nugget for chicken enthusiasts everywhere.

I confess myself refreshed to hear Paula Deen respond “Yes, of course,” when asked if she used the word “nigger.” We have conditioned ourselves on a kind of magic wherein we believe that racism is a matter of kindness and prohibitive vocabulary—as though a hatred of women can be reduced the use of the word “bitch.” But what does a country which tolerates the terrorism of Southwest, Georgia expect? What does a country whose left wing’s greatest policy achievement was made possible by an embrace of white supremacy really believe will happen to children raised in such times? What do we expect in a country where many find it entirely appropriate to wear the battle-flag of the republic of slavery?