Tag Archives: Leon Russell

Lauren Adams : From Troubadour to Somewhere Else

Lauren AdamsHow many ways are there for a performing songwriter to “make it?”

You could hit the Top 40, as Ed Sheeran did.

A big-name recording artist could cover one of your songs, like when country superstar Dierks Bentley made Travis Meadows‘ song “Riser” the title track of his last album.

For Americana singer-songwriter Lauren Adams, it was when she met a fan who had tattoo’ed a line from one of her songs onto her foot. “I’ve shared the stage with some pretty big names and even had my song in a major motion picture but this girl’s foot is easily the most satisfying milestone of my career,” she said with a chuckle.

That kind of audience appreciation is what keeps an artist going in the absence of big-time success. From her first guitar lesson as a Florida teenager to her arrival in Los Angeles to her new album, Somewhere Else, Adam’s has always kept going.

Adams’ musical journey began on the stage of the world-famous Troubadour in West Los Angeles with a performance that was so tentative, she was completely caught off guard by the waves of applause. “The response was so positive,” she said, “that I realized, ‘Hey, I could actually do this.’” That was summer of 1978, when the club still hosted its open-mic “Hoot Night,” where songwriters could get up and play a few.

Since that time, Adams has opened shows for Leon Russell in Fort Lauderdale and for Rita Coolidge in Southern California; Gigged regularly (some would say “relentlessly”) at clubs and festivals across California, Texas, Colorado, and in Nashville, Tennessee; Released three albums of her own songs; Had her song “Thirsty” featured in the Lion’s Gate film Peaceful Warrior (starring Nick Nolte); And she has hosted LA’s longest-running Americana music event, the Americana Song Circle for 10 years.

On her newest album, Somewhere Else, Adams delivers quality songwriting in the Carol King/Eagles/Lucinda Williams vein: deep Americana roots and vivid storytelling delivered by a group of tasteful, compassionate players including her producer and friend Nick Kirgo (Nels Kilne of Wilco, JD Souther, Vonda Shepard, Pocket Goldberg and Dave Fraser).

Recently, KC Cafe Radio Music Director Kathy Forste talked with Adams via Skype. They talked about growing up with music in her life, brushing with greatness at the Trroubadour, and the uniquely rewarding connection she has been afforded between her life and her songs.

Listen to the interview here:

Download the interview here: Interview: Lauren Adams

Music by Lauren Adams on KC Cafe Radio:

 

FAR-West 2016: Best of the West Awards

FAR-West 2016 Conference LogoKC Cafe Radio’s live coverage from the 2016 Folk Alliance Region West music conference continued on Saturday, October 15, with an event that celebrated folk music’s finest in the great West.  This year’s Best of the West (BOTW) honorees were legendary songwriter/performer Danny O’Keefe music educator Peter McCracken with the Centrum Foundation, and the Seattle Folklore Society.

Danny O'Keefe (Photo: Jeanette Lundgren)

Danny O’Keefe (Photo: Jeanette Lundgren)

Danny O’Keefe, the FAR-West BOTW Performer Honoree, has released a string of albums since the early 70s that have cemented his reputation as one of the best songwriters of his generation. Although casual fans remember him best for his Top Ten hit, “Goodtime Charlie’s Got the Blues,” or Jackson Browne’s version of “The Road” on his classic Running on Empty album, his story didn’t end in the 70s. He has continued to record the occasional brilliant album and recently returned with “Light Leaves the West,” released in September 2015. Danny’s songs have been recorded by a veritable Who’s Who of legendary artists over the past thirty-plus years including Elvis Presley, Cab Calloway, Charlie Rich, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Earl Klugh, Chris Hillman, Conway Twitty, Leon Russell, Dwight Yoakum and Jerry Lee Lewis among many others. He has also shared his knowledge and experience with students and other musicians through classes and workshops that he has presented throughout the West for more than thirty years. As a prime mover in the Songbird Foundation, Danny has taken an active role in successfully preserving habitats for Western Songbirds and has selflessly held numerous benefit concerts in support of the environment, Native American rights, and other key social issues. For over four decades, Danny O’Keefe and his music have been a source of inspiration and delight for colleagues and fans throughout the world.

Danny O’Keefe joins previous Best of the West Performer Honorees Cris Williamson, Barbara Dane, Chris Hillman, Eric Lowen & Dan Navarro, Utah Phillips, Rosalie Sorrels, The Kingston Trio, Joe Craven, John McEuen, Laurie Lewis, and Barry McGuire.

Peter McCracken (Photo: Jeanette Lundgren)

Peter McCracken (Photo: Jeanette Lundgren)

Peter McCracken and the Centrum Foundation were the BOTW Ambassador Honorees. The Centrum Foundation of Port Townsend, WA, is a unique arts education and advocacy program that promotes creative experiences that change lives through intergenerational workshops, bringing together aspiring and master artists to foster creativity, provide mentorship, and build community. Peter McCracken has long been an integral part of this inspiring organization, serving in many capacities over the years including Arts Program Manager and Traditional Arts Program Manager. Peter has established and led the Foundation’s Country Blues, Voice Works, and Ukulele programs and has organized many other short, themed, focused workshops. In 1992 he started the Blues Workshop and Festival and in 2000 he led the initial curatorial project for Centrum’s Festival of American Fiddle Tunes Preservation and Stabilization. As a visionary and administrator, Peter McCracken has influenced and inspired thousands of musicians from the western states and around the world through his brilliant leadership.

Peter McCracken and the Centrum Foundation join previous Best of the West Ambassador Honorees Russ & Julie Paris, Cassandra Flipper and Bread and Roses, Ed Pearl and the Ash Grove Foundation, Roz & Howard Larman, Steve Baker, Clark & Elaine Weissman, Mike McCormick, Bob Stane, Cloud Moss, Phil & Vivian Williams and Chris Strachwitz.

Seattle Folklore Society (Photo: Jeanette Lundgren)

Seattle Folklore Society (Photo: Jeanette Lundgren)

Seattle Folklore Society received an Organizational Achievement Award in recognition of 50 years of service to preserve and foster awareness and appreciation of folk and traditional arts in the Seattle area. A non-profit folk organization, founded in 1966, SFS has one of the largest and most stable memberships in the country. They produce folk music concerts, dances, song circles, camps and a newsletter. Many members are active concertgoers, dancers and players of the acoustic guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, dulcimer, ukulele and other folk instruments. The award was presented by Victory Music founder and Ancient Victorys president, Chris Lunn.

Listen to the ceremony here:

Part 1:

Download Part 1 here: Best of the West Awards Ceremony, Part 1

Part 2:

Download Part 2 here: Best of the West Awards Ceremony, Part 2