Monthly Archives: November 2013

Iris DeMent, a perfectionist of spirit, comes to a musical crossroad

Iris DeMent // Photo by Pieta Brown

By Barry Gilbert
Special to Go! Magazine

ST. LOUIS – The saying “good things come to those who wait” epitomizes folk singer Iris DeMent as well as her fans. It took 16 years for DeMent to release her fourth studio CD, last year’s “Sing the Delta.” And that gap says volumes about DeMent and, as she put it, “my music career, if you want to call it that.”

DeMent, who performs with a full band Friday (Nov. 22, 2013) at the Sheldon Concert Hall, is a perfectionist of spirit. If her writing doesn’t move her, she won’t record it.

As the years passed after the release of “The Way I Should” in 1996, “I kept trying to write, but there was just no life to it,” DeMent says by phone from her home in Iowa City, Iowa. “And I didn’t feel like making a record that was just a bunch of songs that didn’t have life and spirit to them. … My secret fear is that I’m a lazy ass, but I don’t think that’s it, because I (put in the work).”

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Lights, latkes, action: Food, music, social causes highlight Brothers Lazaroff’s Hanukkah Hullaballoo

Hullabaloo rhearsal-6
Rabbi James Stone Goodman at Hanukkah Hullabaloo rehearsal.

By Barry Gilbert
Special to the St. Louis Jewish Light

Brothers Lazaroff’s Hanukkah Hullabaloo, which began just three years ago as a humble holiday party after a Kinky Friedman concert, has grown into a music, dining and cultural experience bringing together multiple strands of the St. Louis Jewish community.

The event has broken out of the confines of its original home at Off Broadway in south St. Louis and moved to the Plush restaurant and nightclub in midtown. The third edition Dec. 4 will offer a separate-admission “tish,” or teaching dinner, led by rabbis; music ranging from rock, doo-wop and hip-hop to klezmer and acid-jazz; special readings; and DJ sets.

The centerpieces of the first two Hullabaloos will return: latkes prepared and served live onstage; and a performance of Rabbi James Stone Goodman’s Hanukkah epic “Eight Days,” backed by the Eight Nights Orchestra: Brothers Lazaroff with members of the Funky Butt Brass Band, Will Soll’s Klezmer Conspiracy and the Vaad.

The big change this year is the inclusion of several organizations, or presenting partners, representing the arts, social justice activists and creative entrepreneurs.

All proceeds from the general admission ($10 minimum donation) and the tish ($36 per person) will go to One Life-One World, an organization founded by Goodman at Congregation Neve Shalom that offers programs in prison outreach, mental illness and addiction. Last year’s Hullabaloo raised $1,500.

David and Jeff Lazaroff say the expansion of the Hullabaloo and the move to Plush are basically a happy coincidence.

“We were surprised by the community turnout (last year), and they wanted to sit,” David Lazaroff says.

Continue reading at the St. Louis Jewish Light



Garland Jeffreys: ‘R.O.C.K.’ in Chicago

The Garland Jeffreys Band performs at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago on Nov. 16, 2013 / Photo by Barry Gilbert

By Barry Gilbert

CHICAGO  (Nov. 16, 2013) // Some fans had waited for years, even decades, to see Garland Jeffreys on Saturday night. And that wait was more than worth it when the veteran rocker took the stage at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago.

Jeffreys, who wears his New York City hometown like a suit of armor, came out at full speed with “Coney Island Winter” from his 2011 comeback album, “The King of in Between”: “Politician kiss my ass/ your promises break like glass,” he sang, the poetry and beat slamming at a country in crumbling decline.

But every song about liars, scam artists and abusers also showed the way toward redemption, truth and love. Jeffreys is ultimately a powerful, positive artist who radiates warmth and honesty and gets it back in kind from his audience. This show ended in a love fest that included a spontaneous third encore – his band had already tossed set lists into the crowd, and it took a few minutes for the players to heed the boss’ call to return.

Jeffreys, 70, also made a deal with his audience regarding his daughter Savannah, 16 (yes, 16!): “When my daughter comes to Northwestern (University), I expect you all to watch out for her.”

“We will,” the crowd answered.

Jeffreys is a Brooklyn, N.Y.-born singer/songwriter who has released just 12 studio albums in his 43-year career. His mixed heritage – Puerto Rican and African-American – is mirrored in his music, which embraces rock, soul, R&B and reggae. His lyrics often deal with the challenges and responsibilities of being “other,” such as in “I May Not Be Your Kind,” “It’s What I Am” (“… too white to be black, too black to be white … I’m one of them, it’s what I am”) and in “Hail Hail Rock ‘n Roll”:

Father of coal, mother of pearl/
Never too black to blush to pick up a white girl/
The color of you, the color of me/
You can’t judge a man by looking at the marque/

His set spanned 16 songs and almost 90 minutes, backed by an excellent four-piece band featuring Mark Bosch on guitar, Brian Stanley on bass, Tom Curiano on drums and Gray Reinhard on keyboards.

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