Discovering Jordie Lane:
On Being John Hammond For a Day
In Concert at The Mint
May 13, 2013
Who wouldn’t want to be John Hammond for a day? The man who discovered Billie Holiday, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen? Well, that’s how I felt last night at The Mint on Pico Blvd just west of Fairfax, where folk singer Jordie Lane, newly arrived from Down Under was giving his American concert debut. He put on a great show and now I also know how it felt to be Robert Shelton at Gerdes Folk City in 1961, whose rave review alerted John Hammond to the new kid in Greenwich Village.
Like Dylan camping out on Dave Van Ronk’s couch when he first blew into town (recounted in Talking New York on his first album) Jordie Lane also had a story to tell: he and his girlfriend (who covered her Suzie Rotolo locks with an impressive headpiece) spent their first night sinking into an inflatable bed that mysteriously developed a hole and started losing air until by morning they were flat up against a hardwood floor. Hard times in LA Town, one could almost hear the song a-birthing.
Pan Pipe Revelations
Nearly one year ago on a sweltering June evening in Riverside, I was waiting for a performance of Mayupatapi to begin. It felt as if the air-conditioning was not functioning in the small theater of the UCR Arts Building. Having been accepted into the graduate ethnomusicology program for 2012-13, I wanted to see a performance of the Andean music ensemble that I would be joining in the fall.
The members of Mayupatapi did not walk out on stage. They ran. Clad in black jeans and tops over which they wore heavy colorfully embroidered vests, they ran in a circular formation while playing the pan pipe.
I slumped in my seat. How could I ever hope to do what these ensemble members – young enough to be my children – were doing? Probably it was hotter under the spotlights on the stage than it was in the rest of the theater. Round and round they went for about three minutes until they came to a standstill and played the entire melody again with great verve.
Ed Haley’s Rebel Raid
Old Time Grind House Fiddle Lesson
I’m ecstatic about sharing an Ed Haley fiddle lesson with y’all! He’s one of the very best fiddlers to have ever lived. Few people actually carry his torch in my mind. His recording of this tune features all the classic Haley elements. His control of melody, bowing and stream of consciousness variations are ever present and so wonderful to listen to. In this lesson, I present the tune with a few built-in variations. Nothing is simplified. A couple particular bow patterns are highlighted. The idea is to get you playing the tune without being overwhelmed by all the possibilities of Haley’s playing. I’ve selected one of his A Section melodies as the foundation for the section, which can be perfectly articulated with several shuffle patterns. The B section will retain its notey attributes with a focus on this shuffle bow pattern concept. There are many options but I’ve kept things under control so as not to create an hour-long lesson with too much of a focus on the infinite possibilities. So here’s Rebel Raid in a bite-sized tablet for your edification and enjoyment.
David Bragger is a Los Angeles-based instructor and player of old time fiddle and banjo music. He also photographs, films, and collects the lore of traditional artists, from puppeteers in Myanmar to fiddlers of Appalachia www.myspace.com/davidbragger