Arts, Entertainment, Living

Robert Johnson -- almost 100

Thursday, 05 May 2011 12:00 AM Written by

robert_johnsonIt's almost May 8, which, in addition to Mother's Day, will be the 100th anniversary of the birth of blues legend Robert Johnson. You get to decide which one means more to you, but here today, we'll focus on Mr. Johnson.

I was reminded of this when I ran across this piece in USA Today, offering the thoughts of some fine musicians on how Johnson inspired or influenced them.

So I looked for some more, and found this thoughtful piece in the Chicago Tribune talking about the mythical implications of Johnson's work and that of Bob Dylan.

And this lengthy article from the LA Times about Johnson's legendary life.

Meanwhile, just about every place but Pittsburgh will be hosting some kind of Johnson memorial/tribute this weekend (okay, I was exaggerating a little bit there).

There will be some new releases of the body of Johnson's work. Obviously, there are no new recordings, just new packaging. But if you've got a spare $349, you can buy a limited-edition four-CD box set, "Robert Johnson: The Complete Original Masters Centennial Edition," with all of his 29 recordings and 13 alternate takes, newly remastered, together with a two-disc "Rarities From the Vaults," featuring roots artists who recorded during the same sessions as Johnson, and rare tracks by his likely influences, including Tommy Johnson, Memphis Minnie and Blind Willie McTell.

Here are a few of the events you might want to get to:

• Greenwood, Miss., where Johnson reportedly died, will host a four-day celebration starting today, highlighted by a seminar, tours of blues heritage sites and a concert Saturday afternoon featuring the Warren Haynes Band, Johnson contemporary David "Honeyboy" Edwards and Keb' Mo'.

• At the May 4-5 Blues Awards/Hall of Fame ceremonies in Memphis, "Love in Vain" will be inducted (joining five other Johnson songs) and his heirs will be given plaques.

• The Chicago Blues Festival June 10-12 will explore Johnson's life with a panel discussion led by Johnson's grandson, Steven, and a tribute concert featuring Edwards and Hubert Sumlin. 

Here's one of my favorite quotes among all the things I've read about this, from David "Honeyboy" Edwards:

On white performers adapting to the blues: "They've got good fingers, but most of them don't have the voice. Let me tell you something, the blues was meant to be played slow. And they play it too fast. The slower it's played, the more things that you can pour into it from your own lifetime of experiences."

Here's one of my favorite Robert Johnson songs -- I love the vivid imagery:

Join the conversation:

Join the conversation:

'Justified' concludes its second season

Wednesday, 04 May 2011 12:00 AM Written by

Timothy_06_024FX's "Justified" (10 tonight) closes its second season with an episode that follows on last week's all-about-family outing that saw the Bennetts give up their new-found fortune in an effort to get Dickie (Jeremy Davies) out of jail. The show also introduced a mysterious elderly woman -- perhaps her identity will be explained tonight?

It will be interesting to see how the season ends. Clearly it's a showdown between the Bennetts and Raylan (Timothy Olyphant, right). "Justified" has a knack for doing season-long arcs, so presumably the story of the Bennetts will come to a close tonight -- unless producers decide to extend this particular story to the show's third season.

Read more after the jump. ...


Join the conversation:

Lawerenceville Blossom Tour This Weekend!

Wednesday, 04 May 2011 12:00 AM Written by

Looking for some last minute Mother's Day plans? Or, are you looking to just get out of your house and celebrate Spring?  Well, if you are, head down to Lawrenceville this weekend for the Blossom Tour.  

The Blossom Tour is a community celebration in support of the local businesses in Lawrenceville. There is an official tour map available to download that will give you the locations of businesses that will be handing out free seed packets.  The seed packets are responsibly and sustainably grown and specifically chosen to grow in the Pittsburgh climate. How cool is that?! Just remember to water them after you plan them!!! 

Some of my favorite Lawrenceville businesses are having some special events during Blossom Tour and here is just a few of the special events:

WildCard will he holding crafting demos all weekend. on Saturday, Amber Coppings, the designer behind Xmittens, will be showing how to create accessories out of recycled fabrics, and on Sunday, children and adults can participate in making buttons out of their own drawings.

Pageboy will be hosting a truck show of upcycled leather clutches and dresses by designer, Karen Garalde of Kalai Kai. More information can be found on Pageboy's website here

To download a copy of the tour map, visit the Lawrenceville Cooperation's website here. Have a great Wednesday and be sure to check back on Friday for another Clutch post!! 

Join the conversation:

Test Kitchen Tuesday - Cajun Chicken Cakes

Tuesday, 03 May 2011 11:22 AM Written by

cajun-chicken-cakesTonight is Test Kitchen Tuesday! This is the night we try something new and expand our family's tastebuds! To help your kiddos participate, have them wear "Judge's badges" and issue a Thumbs up or down. My kids love doing this! I guess maybe we watch a little too much Food Network at times. So far they have not given my "The Chop." Tonight's dinner is Cajun Chicken Cakes - it is kind of like a crab cake and kind of like a burger but made with ground chicken. The end result is delish!!! Please be sure to check the recipe again - I had to adjust a small part. Just be sure you add the egg to the mixture or it will not bind together! Surprised

How was last night's dinner??? Spinach, Tomato and Gorgonzola Pasta ... Incredibly delicious! The meal seemed almost too gourmet for a weeknight but then again how easy was it to put together??? Right??? I hope you enjoy the rest of your week!


Join the conversation:

Bet on it. Very shortly we'll have few rock, rap and country "good riddance" songs regarding Osama Bin Laden appear in the next month, from the grassroots and from established acts.  And  hey, why not?  He's not only worthy of the honor, these songs are part of a continuum in American music going back through our earlier wars against psychotic dictators. That includes the Cold War era, when iron-fisted megalomaniac Joseph Stalin ran the Soviet Union. 

Join the conversation:

How does 'The Voice' compare?

Tuesday, 03 May 2011 12:00 AM Written by


NBC's "The Voice" (9 tonight before moving to 10 p.m. Tuesday next week, WPXI) debuted last week to terrific ratings -- it even beat "Glee" in the young demos -- and really staked out its own territory by making some very different choices that helped distinguish it from "American Idol."

The biggest difference was putting the judges/coaches with the backs to singers so they'd truly only judge them at first based on their voices. Having their chairs spin is a gimmick but it's a striking one, especially as these judges are competing to line up singers for their "teams."

Read more after the jump. ...

Join the conversation:

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Fest

Tuesday, 03 May 2011 12:00 AM Written by

Blues photographer Joe Rosen roams the blues scene looking for great photos. He's on his way to New Orleans for the 2011 Jazz & Heritage Fest. Meanwhile, here are some of his excellent pics from the 2010 festival.

Joe is a CMU grad, and former Pittsburgh photographer and blues fan, going way back to the late '70s. His work always seems to capture the essence of the music and the musicians.

Join the conversation: