Kandia Crazy Horse

Songs of flesh and faith

Revelations from Josh T. Pearson, last of the genuine country gentlemen

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arts@sfbg.com

MUSIC Some cowboy angels have been crying into their beer for salvation; meantime, some of us singing cowgirls who are also in struggle push onward to save ourselves. Texan-in-exile Josh T. Pearson's new Last of the Country Gentlemen (Mute) is very much the answer record for that divide, its harrowing, beautiful 60 minutes transmuting into a sonic angel and devil's advocate for both sides.Read more »

In the Whispering Pines

 L.A.'s singing cowboys and sistagirls ride the tide of roots revival

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This is the year when your scribing cowgirl returns wholly to the barn — or at least the fabled Cabin-in-the-Ppines where folks used to pick, grin, and get up to no good throughout my father's youth in southwest Georgia. And sho'nuff the Whispering Pines' fine, self-released debut, Family Tree (self-released), will be in tow alongside the potbelly stove, vintage Akan gold weights, and patchwork spreads courtesy of my late great-aunt, the hedonistic quilter Kate.Read more »

Son of the source

Jonathan Wilson and California as muse
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California my way: Pacifica in all her roaring glory; "Bluebird"; Gene Clark suffering for his art at the Troubadour; Arthur Lee perched atop Laurel Canyon as dark magus of the Sunset Strip; "Free Huey!"; George Hunter and the Charlatans giving birth to the '60s in Frisco and Virginia City; redbones holding it down at Alcatraz; Barry White's boudoir epics vs. War's low rider country-funk; r.i.p. Read more »

Out of the blue

And into the black -- renaissance via Neil Young's Archives
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a&eletters@sfbg.com

ESSAY This is the briar patch, the place from which all funky thangs flow. On the anniversary of the death of my Afro-Algonquin Southern (re)belle mother, my bare feet are planted in the dirt. Since it's also the last days of Black Music Month, I am out of my head, thoughts swirling across the amber waves pondering the intersections of family, flesh, and funk, questing after new sounds and cultural concepts even as I journey into my sonic past. Read more »

Ain't I a werewolf?

AFRO-SURREAL: Diaspora consciousness in the Underworld trilogy
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AFRO-SURREAL Stylistic rigor and as full an embrace of progressive technologies as budgets allow have made Underworld Trilogy (Sony Pictures DVD, $93.95) a pleasurable extension of epics from fang-face past. Yet perhaps the most significant aspect of Len Wiseman's cycle about immortals warring for supremacy is an updated recognition of the post-1960s liberation strides of blacks and women in our society. Read more »

Electric gypsies

A Day in the Life charts the decline of the West and the search for another country
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a&eletters@sfbg.com

Tommy Weber ( Thomas Ejnar Arkner, 1938 — 2006) was a trickster, so I cannot help but love him.

Comin' from where I'm from — three tribal peoples: Pamunkey, Scottish, mystery African — I have always adored the Afro-Kelt über alles, and been at least inchoately hip to the centrality of the trickster, whether Eshú Elegbara, the Diné Coyote, or the Danes' own Loki and his spawn Fenrir the apocalyptic Wolf. Read more »

Sisters from another planet

Labelle reignites their silver streak with the testamental Back to Now
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A few weekends back, I rose at the crack of dawn to see Allen Toussaint perform at Joe's Pub in Manhattan for the venue's 10th anniversary celebrations. Although it was Sunday morning and the show was free, nary any Negroes on site for the New Orleans master. However shameful this lack, the show was well worth it, especially for Toussaint's mesmerizing extended version of "Southern Nights," replete with rich anecdotes about midcentury black life in Louisiana's parishes. Read more »

Great northern

Singer-Songwriter Issue: Serena Southam conjures that old-timey magic
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After the gold rush of her July residency at National Underground on Manhattan's Lower East Side, I recently sat in the sunny, sub-level kitchen of singer-songwriter Serena Jean Southam's East Village flat, listening to Jerry Garcia, playing with cats, and admiring her father's old Martin guitar as she proceeded to explain her band's name:

"It came from Jimmy, our drummer," Southam said. "The Whiskey Trippers were the old bootleggers [in the South]. And both Gitano [Herrera, her lead guitarist and writing partner] and Jimmy love the NASCAR. Read more »

Scramble for Africa 3.0

Indie bands lead the charge in sonic imperialism
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› a&eletters@sfbg.com

Africa is not a monolith. Africa is not even Africa: the outsider bastardization kicked off in earnest when the Roman misnomer of a finite North African region was allowed to stand for the entire continent. Read more »

Flowers for Kathleen Edwards

Happy trails to the Canadian roots rocker
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Being of so-called American Indian and African descent, I have never believed in borders. These imperial lines have only wreaked havoc and sealed our fate. Still, I'm always amused by just how much Canadian roots rockers seem to out amber-wave many Americana acts in the Lower 48. Read more »