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Positive Reviews of Songbook cd are rolling in

Here are links to two recent reviews of the Old Town School’s SONGBOOK cd’s Vol. 2 and 3:

L.A. Daily News:

The L.A. Daily News review was also picked up by these papers, total circulation appx. 600,000.

Whittier Daily News (Whittier CA)
San Gabriel Valley Trib (Covina CA)
Pasadena Star-News (Pasadena CA)
Press-Telegram (Long Beach CA)
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (Ontario Can)
Sun (San Bernadino CA)

Full text of each review follows:

The Old Town School Songbook CD is out today

By Kenneth Rainey. Filed under: News, TweedBlog.

The Old Town School of Folk Music Songbook Series Volumes Two and Three, featuring TangleweedThe Old Town School of Folk Music Songbook Series, Volumes 2 and 3 is out today (July 31). We’re very pleased to have our performance of South Australia leading off the collection. We’ll be leading off Sunday’s release show at the Old Town School as well.

There’s more information about the CD on the Bloodshot Records web site:



Paul joins Magnetosphere on stage

By Scott. Filed under: GigBlog, TweedBlog.

Besides playing in Tangleweed, I also play in a rock band called Magnetosphere. We played our first public show in over a year this past Friday at Quenchers Saloon. Tangleweed’s own Paul Wargaski joined us on stage to add accordion to our original country waltz, “Beyond the Reach”.

This was also my first time playing banjo on stage with Magnetosphere. Mind you, I’m no Ryan Fisher, but my crude two-finger style seems to work on this tune, so the guys let me get run with it.

Big thanks to Paul for working this one up on short notice, and I promise to do a better technical prep with him next time. We need to get his electric accordion into the mix a little better (his audibility was variable depending where you stood in the room – I heard everything from “it sounded great!” to “I couldn’t hear it!”).

Paul and Scott on stage with Magnetosphere


The Dubliners play Dirty Old Town

By Kenneth Rainey. Filed under: TweedBlog, video. Tags: , ,

This is a great vocal performance from the late, great Luke Kelly. It’s utterly fearless. Although the Pogues recorded a brilliant version of this on Rum Sodomy and the Lash, one would be hard pressed to find a better sung version of Ewan MacColl’s classic song than this.

On an unrelated note, Dubliner Barney McKenna is a brilliant banjo player, but man oh man is that thing loud.

Previous Dubliners posts


Planxty play Jolly Beggar Man

By Kenneth Rainey. Filed under: MandoBlog, TweedBlog, video. Tags:

This is a stunning performance — well played and well sung. Note the use of condenser mics on all the instruments. Nary a pickup to be found.

A few words on mandolin technique: Andy Irvine’s left hand technique is a bit unorthodox, and causes him to work harder than would otherwise be necessary. While one can’t fault his playing — it’s excellent — the angle of his left hand causes his fingers to come way off the fretboard with each note. One can usually play faster and cleaner keeping the left hand more or less parallel with the fretboard, and keeping the fingers close to the strings ready for the next note.


The Cumberland Ridge Runners play Goofus

By Kenneth Rainey. Filed under: TweedBlog, video. Tags:

The Cumberland Ridge Runners, staples of Chicago’s National Barn Dance pull off some of the most impressive instrument switching I’ve ever seen in this 1935 performance. Fiddler Slim Miller holds it all together while the guitar, mandolin, and bass change hands every 16 measures. You can find this clip on the excellent Yazoo video Times Ain’t Like They Used to Be.


Save the Spindle

By Kenneth Rainey. Filed under: OffTopic, TweedBlog.

The Spindle in Berwyn IllinoisThe beloved Spindle in Berwyn, best known to non-Chicagoans from its appearance in the film Wayne’s World, is slated to be torn down to make room for a new Walgreen’s. From

The Plaza is now slated to be redeveloped and the current location of the sculpture is set to be re-purposed for a Walgreens store. Concerned citizens of Berwyn, Illinois are actively seeking to make sure the town does not lose this landmark and looking to work with city officials and the owners of the sculpture to ensure that the Spindle is not only retained, but also preserved and maintained for future generations of residents and visitors alike.


The SuitBass, part III: the SuitBass is good for the environment.

By Kenneth Rainey. Filed under: GigBlog, TweedBlog. Tags:

Paul used his newfangled SuitBass, fashioned from an old string bass neck and a pink Emelia Earhart suitcase, at two shows this weekend. Its maiden voyage was for the second and third sets at the Charleston Friday night. We were all immediately struck by how good the thing sounded. Paul used my old Trace Elliott acoustic preamp, and ran the SuitBass though a California Blonde bass amp. It had a very pleasing solid low end, good balance, and good sustain.

Saturday, we headed up Wisonsinward for the Badgerland Bluegrass Festival. Ordinarily, we would have to take two cars for a show like that, as we can’t fit all five of us and the acoustic bass in one vehicle. The slim profile of the SuitBass changed all that, though. It slid neatly into the van, and we all piled in together. No second car needed. The amazing SuitBass is good for the environment: it’s made of 100% recycled materials, and can help reduce our dependency on fossil fuels. Good work, Paul.