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February 14th, 2010

On Going to a Jack Rose Show

In December 2007, I got the opportunity to see Jack Rose perform for the first time. He was going to be playing a free show with Donald Miller at the Live Oak Friends Meeting House in Houston at 5:15 PM. The time was picked so that the show would coincide with the sunset. It was a mild day. I would even say it was comfortably warm.
I spent the day at home and out back, and as the afternoon rolled around a couple of friends of mine came over and we drove out to the show. After a while we arrive at the place: a Quaker meeting house, a church. We walked around outside, talking to one another, took a look inside, bought a few of Jack’s records. He had just released his self-titled album of slide guitar. We eventually took a seat in the church pews as more people started to show up. 
I think Donald Miller played first, and he put on an amazing show. He set up multiple ebows (electric bows) on multiple guitars and proceeded to place circular rings on different surfaces of the guitar bodies, finely adjusting them, as layers of deeply resonating harmonies and chord emerged. The likes of which I had never heard before. This went on for time untold until he picked up one of the guitars and started playing it with his fingers. At some point he finished his set and everyone applauded.
We milled about during the in-between, stepping outside into the warm evening, talking together quietly, smiling, and returning to our seats.
 Now, before I continue, I feel that I should mention a few things about Jack Rose’s guitar playing. 

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Cathedral Et Chartres (Live 11/13/04)” from I Do Play Rock And Roll

He is very clean. Always. In fact, he is as clean live as he is on any recording. Also, his playing is very expressive, and in this respect he is rivaled by few, if any, other solo guitar players. Lastly, when one listens to solo guitar being played live (rather than in a recording), there is so much more to be heard within every chord, within every single note. The harmonics ring in a million shining pieces. Unbounded. Impossible to explain.
So, Jack Rose begins his set. His guitar playing fills the room. I think he was mic’d, but he probably didn’t need to be, so loud and clear is his playing. My eyes close, and I begin to feel a powerfully transcendent feeling.
 A feeling of the universal and the individual. Visions of homelands, and pasts.
This went on for a long time and it felt really good. Eventually, with my eyes still closed, my head tilted upwards, and my face in what could only have been an expression of complete transcendental joy, I recall (to my complete surprise) that I am in the room and that I am listening to Jack Rose. And so, I opened my eyes. Jack is there in the middle of the room playing the guitar, and all around in the church pews are people with their eyes closed, heads tilted back, expressions of transcendental joy on their faces.
 I close my eyes.
My friend later told me that he cried. He said that he didn’t know something like that existed. An interesting sentiment considering he already had Jack’s records and liked them.
It’s very fitting that the show was held in a church. It was a religious experience. An ecstasy. Jack Rose’s guitar playing could do that to a room full of people.
 At some point near the end of the set Jack went into “Dark Was the Night”. Wow. What a… a thing. It was beyond song. It was the song of songs.

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Dark Was The Night” from Jack Rose (2007)  
 And so… that was a lot of fun.

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Teoc” from Dr. Ragtime (2002)
Jack’s last record, Luck in the Valley, will be out in two Tuesday’s (February 23rd) on Thrill Jockey . You can pre-order it on LP or CD here.
May 21st, 2009

Jack Rose & The Black Twig Pickers LP

Rose & Twigs

Head on over to Klang Industries to pick up a copy.

From Klang:

Raw and rocking collaboration between Jack Rose and the Black Twigs with some of the most swinging, hard-hitting string music waxed in many a decade. Rose’s solo playing has always had a tough edge, with his prodigious technique often employed in the service of dropping right-hand bombs – his use of a thumbpick originates from his years of duets with Twig Mike Gangloff, struggling to make his guitar heard over Gangloff’s crashing banjo. The front line of Rose and Gangloff’s strings are joined by Isak Howell’s no-nonsense guitar and harmonica and Nate Bowles’ variety of expert percussion. The four players lock together with a sure-footedness honed by frequent touring and a singularity of intent to rock. Gangloff takes the vocals, howling out standards like “Little Sadie” firmly in the old-time tradition – without reserve. A few of the tracks here are updates of Rose & family classics, with the group turning the stately “Kensington Blues” upbeat and an issuing an assured take on “Bright Sunny South,” first recorded by Pelt (w/Rose and Gangloff) back in 2001 on their gonzo classic double “Ayahuasca.”


April 15th, 2009

Peter Stampfel and the Ether Frolic Gang, Jack Rose and Ian Nagoski

Saturday, April 25

Special twilight garden show featuring…


JACK ROSE (solo guitar)

with Ian Nagoski spinning vintage 78s

2037 Frankford Avenue (enter around back on Sepviva Street)

suggested donation $5 * bring your own whatever

This will be the Philadelphia debut of New York City’s Peter Stampfel and the Ether Frolic Gang who, Stampfel promises, will “stick our hands up the ass of American music, grab it by the throat, and pull it inside-out. It’s 21st century 19th century American music played in a vast variety of 20th century styles.” We’d expect nothing less–Mr. Stampfel is a founding member of the Holy Modal Rounders and The Fugs, and Frolicker John Cohen is a founding member of the New City Ramblers. (That’s them in the photo above.)


March 4th, 2009

More on The Black Dirt Sessions

The Black Dirt Sessions

From Three Lobed…

let’s get the dirty work over with first. the black dirt sessions is, all hyperbole aside, jack rose‘s most complete and telling work to date. those who have been following this philadelphia wanderer’s development and growth as a solo artist (both live and on record) know that such a statement is strong praise, as rose’s catalog is certainly not devoid of unqualified classics.

the album takes its title from the studio where it was recorded – jason meagher‘s black dirt studios located in westtown, new york. old friends rose and meagher developed a good working relationship and full understanding of each other’s work habits and styles over the course of a spring 2008 joint tour between rose and one of meagher’s bands, d. charles speer & the helix. rose, that eternal road warrior, booked some time at black dirt between tours in august, september and october of 2008 to lay down some new and fully realized material. this album is the complete result of those sessions.

rose’s prior albums have tended to both pick and remain true to a musical theme. the black dirt sessions excels by displaying fully honed examples of all of rose’s various styles and themes – traditional, raga and ragtime. central to the album’s spirit is the absolutely epic “cross the north fork.” this thirteen minute revisiting of a track first laid down on the great kensington blues is a winding, thoroughly engrossing journey. this new version is the product of rose’s perfectionist streak which constantly pushes him to re-explore and re-visit his prior works. as presented on the black dirt sessions, the “new” track is full of rich nuances from rose’s years of additional scrutiny of the original composition. much like rose himself, “cross the north fork” is certainly comfortable in its skin and helps make it a welcome neighbor to the album’s other splendid joys ranging from the jaunty and infectious “fishtown flower” (featuring a guest appearance from d. charles speer & the helix’s hans chew on ragtime piano) to the pensive and appropriate melancholy punch of “box of pine.”

the album’s artwork is somewhat of the yin to the yang of rose’s 2008 release on three lobed, i do play rock and roll. bearing the same overall design aesthetic as that prior release albeit presented in a contrasting white with black print, the black dirt sessions features a photo of rose performing in new york in 2006. the lp is pressed on 180g rti vinyl and housed within an “old style” high gloss stoughton cover. the record will be from a one-time pressing of approximately 2000 copies. the black dirt sessions is targeted for a late march/early april release.

You can pre-order a copy here for $19.

[download] Fishtown Flower

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February 17th, 2009

Arthurdesh aka Chapter XIII


via Arthur

Desh is a hindi suffix that denotes a sense of home or country. This special chapter of The Story literally themes as a benefit for the magazine, which in the current depression has been forced to go out of print and take it online. This is unacceptable to myself and many other Arthur readers, as Arthur is the only great American publication to currently be seeing print. The days of Rolling Stone are over, the high-era of rad zines has passed; Arthur stands alone as a sole halcyon of rugged American individualism and the timeless values associated with nature, consciousness, and evolution into higher human potential. Their struggle today is as much a part of The Story as the metaphysical concepts we’ve been discussing up to this point with the series, and we hope that this show will directly turn around real funds to get the mag back on earth.

About the bands…

Read the rest of this entry »

February 6th, 2009

February Mixtape from J. Emery Blatchley


Another month, another amazing mixtape from our contributing guitarsmith and all-around good guy J. Emery Blatchley. “Stride” is the second in what should prove to be a long, fruitful lineage of mixes, a bloodline of songs that will extend from J’s ears to yours each month.  This time around, the sonic emphasis is placed on a time in music history when alternating-thumb, fingerpicked polyrhythms weren’t the exception…they were the rule. Kinda. There’s also a hand-picked potpourri of contemporary envelope-pushers to enjoy for those less keen on the Joplin jive.picture-12

Download “Stride” from J. Emery Blatchley


February 5th, 2009

Jack Rose The Black Dirt Sessions

The Black Dirt Sessions

Jack Rose’s new LP, The Black Dirt Sessions, will be available in March or April on Three Lobed Recordings in an (LP only) edition of 2000.  The album contains six original compositions by Rose, with Hans Chew contributing piano on “Fishtown Flower”.  Also, Klang Industries will release Jack Rose And The Black Twig Pickers in May in an LP edition of 1000, with a CD to follow later in the year.  The album consists of traditional songs and two of Jack’s originals, “Revolt” and “Kensington Blues”.

The Black Dirt Sessions

side 1
dusty grass
cross the north fork

side 2
fishtown flower
song for the owl
box of pine
the world has let me down

recorded by jason meagher westtown, ny aug-oct 2008

Jack Rose And The Black Twig Pickers

side 1
little sadie 
sail away ladies / i shall not be moved
hand me down my walking cane
soft steel piston
some happy day
ride old buck

side 2
revolt (rose)
kensington blues (rose)
special rider blues
bright sunny south
goodbye booze

recorded in ironto, virginia 2008

mike gangloff- banjo, fiddle, vocals
issak howell- guitar, harmonica
nathan bowles- percussion, vocals, banjo
jack rose- guitar

[download] Fishtown Flower

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November 20th, 2008

Jack Rose: Tour + New LPs


hey folks​,

.​.​.​.​I’​ve got a few gigs comin​g up, hope some of you can make it to one or 2. the 1st tour consi​sts of 13 gigs barns​tormi​ng throu​gh europ​e.​ the 2nd tour is a brief​ south​ern xmas jaunt​,​ maybe​ I’ll play a xmas song in the set. the dr ragti​me and pals lp is final​ly here,​ relea​sed on the vener​able tequi​la sunri​se label​ in an editi​on of 960. I still​ have plent​y of copie​s of the i do play rock and roll lp, but I would​n’​t blink​ for too long,​ as they will be histo​ry soon.​ My new solo lp is compl​eted and will be out in may via 3lobe​d.​ Beaut​ifull​y recor​ded by jason​ meagh​er at his black​ dirt studi​os in the late summe​r/​early​ fall of this year.​ hope this messa​ge finds​ every​one well and happy​.


11.​29.​08 kunst​encen​centr​um belgi​e,​ hasse​lt
12.​01.​08 passo​s manue​l,​ porto
12.​02.​08 merca​do negro​,​ avier​o
12.​03.​08 caber​et maxim​e,​ lisbo​n
12.​05.​08 dougl​as hyde galle​ry,​ dubli​n
12.​06.​08 stran​d,​ stock​holm
12.​07.​08 afk in gothe​nburg​ (​ideal​ priva​t)
12.​08.​08 tba, copen​hagen
12.​09.​08 landm​ark,​ berge​n
12.​10.​08 cafe lobby​,​ aarhu​s
12.​11.​08 gronl​and kirke​,​ oslo
12.​12.​08 podiu​m,​ oslo
12.​13.​08 paard​ van troje​ state​ forms​ x festi​val,​ the hague
12.​16.​08 1st unita​rian chape​l,​ phill​y
12.​18.​08 night​ light​,​ chape​l hill
12.​19.​08 harve​st recor​ds,​ ashev​ille
12.​20.​08 odess​a,​ memph​is
12.​21.​08 tba, new orlea​ns
12.​30.​08 mohaw​k,​ austi​n
1.​03.​09 avenu​e b rehab​,​ nyc

I got a chance to see Jack Rose play last time around.  Words could never describe the sublimity of his performance.  I’m definitely going to make it out for this one!


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