|CABBAGETOWN BALLAD - THE NEW CD
"Cabbagetown Ballad" is Joyce's newest recording of all original songs. Produced by DeDe Vogt and Elise WItt, it features Kentucky's REEL WORLD STRING BAND (see BIO below) on 8 of the 15 songs. The other 7 songs include performances by Atlanta musicians DeDe Vogt (bass and vocals), Linda Bolley (drummer with Michelle Malone), Elise Witt & Melanie Hammet (harmony vocals), Jez Graham & Mick Kinney (piano), Johnny Mosier (guitars), and horn section Don Erdman, Maurice Turner & Adam Mewerther.
Song titles include:
* My Memories
* Cabbagetown Ballad (click for a mp3 sample)
* Only Through the Music
* Knight in Shining Armor
* A Place to Rest My Heart
* John Phillip Sousa
* Love Crisis
* Lila Mae
* Guardian Angel
* Out of Sight, Out of Mind (click for a mp3 sample)
* Overcome with Memories
* Urban Pioneer
* God Bless the Homeless
* and a fascintating interview with Joyce produced by singer/songwriter Melanie Hammett
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REEL WORLD STRING BAND
"You don't see many people up on stage who've got fire. But you girls have got it. Lord, you girls are good!" Lily May Ledford, Coon Creek Girls
Monumentally influenced by traditional and old-time music with a touch of country, swing, blues, and jazz, Reel World's soulful songwriting and instrumental virtuosity make for American roots music with a rare fire and authenticity. With Sue Massek on banjo, Bev Futrell on guitar and harmonica, Karen Jones on fiddle, Elise Melrood on piano, and Sharon Ruble on bass, the band brings together classic fiddling, bluegrass harmonies, and a keen eye for lyrical detail.
"The Reel World String Band is ideal for dancing and just generally letting loose the spirit" The New York Times
The Reel World String Band celebrated its 25th anniversary with the release of the vinyl years, 1981-1984. The CD compilation Mountain songs: Reflections, from The Reel World String Band (Vetco, 1981), Long Way to Harlan (Vetco, 1982), and In Good Time (Flying Fish, 1984), reflects all the joy and commitment of the band's early years. The songs celebrate Appalachian grit. "Evergreen" from the 1981 recording is dedicated to the International Ladies Garment Workers of Olive Hill, Kentucky. "Cranks Creek" extolls the rising up of a community in Harlan County, Kentucky, against the flood of debris caused by strip mining/ mountain top removal. Other cuts are traditional gems like "Sally Ann" and "Banjo Pickin' Girl" and original compositions dedicated to the women pioneers within the family tree of the band members: "Holy" by fiddler Karen Jones' brother Christopher Jones, "Prairie Rose" by banjo player Sue Massek and "Ouachita" by guitarist Bev Futrell. Present band members Sue Massek, Bev Futrell, and Karen Jones span all 25 years with Sharon Ruble, on bass, returning after a short absence. Elise Melrood on piano joined the band full time in 1996. Mountain song: Reflections also features Belle Jackson, one of the original members of the band.
Reel World's other CDS include Appalachian Wind 1989; They'll Never Keep Us Down (various artists); whatnots 1996, and The Coast is Clear 2001. From the vinyl years to present, the band takes us on a journey of southern culture, from its fiddling roots, to its political activism. The songs connect the band to, and help define, the New South; from environmental concerns as expressed in "Last Chance Lullaby" The Coast is Clear, to celebration of the new roles for women as defined in "Little Omie Done Got Wise" and "James Alley Blues" The Coast is Clear.
Aside from the numerous recordings, the band has provided songs for the soundtracks of various independent movies: The Southern Sex, You Got to Move, and From Calumet to Kalamazoo. Many of their songs have also been published in Sing Out!, Southern Exposure, and Speaking for Ourselves. In 1984, an effort to document coal mining songs culminated in a compilation Rounder record "They'll Never Keep Us Down; Women's Coal Mining Songs." Reel World collaborated with Hazel Dickens and Florence Reece (writer of "Which Side Are You On") to produce an insightful look at the problems and issues of the Appalachian coalfields.
The band is featured in "Kentucky Women: Two Centuries of Indomitable Spirit and Vision," 1997, edited by Eugenia K. Potter, along with musicians Loretta Lynn and Helen Humes, giving credence to the band's longevity and contribution to the rich musical heritage of Kentucky. Since the beginning of the Reel World, the band has spread its southern musical roots to picket lines and folk festivals. In 1978, the band was booked at Englishtown Music Hall in New Jersey, and the New York Times, fascinated by the novelty of this "all-female group" from Kentucky, featured the band in an article "In Jersey, Five Women of Bluegrass". By 1980, the band was back in the NYC area playing at the Lincoln Center. They returned in 1985 to share the stage with David Bromberg after both had appeared at the Philadelphia Folk Festival. The year the Reel World released its first album, a tour was set up with the Osbourne Brothers "The Bluegrass Extravaganza", and the band was compared to the "Go Gos" in the L.A. Times as one of the few bands comprised of all women, still a novelty in 1981. But as time went on, the band was less a novelty act and more a mainstay of American folk music as the band appeared at almost every big folk festival in the United States and Canada. In 1991 the band toured Italy, playing in city centers and town squares as part of a U.S. tour that also featured Lionel Hampton. The tour was sponsored by the Coop: an Italian cooperative of retail stores. They are a mainstay at the Cincinnati Festival at Old Coney Island and Camp Pleiades.
The individual members are as diverse as the musical styles they encompass. Sue Massek learned banjo from old timers in West Virginia and Kentucky after she hitch-hiked from the Flint Hills of her native Kansas. In her song "Sally's Song" The Coast is Clear Sue describes the stories she heard first-hand from women in Clay County, Kentucky and she adopts the style of Blanche Coldiron, banjo player living in Crittenden and a contemporary of Lily May Ledford (Coon Creek Girls), both of whom have been Sue's friends and mentors. The Sears' guitar of Bev Futrell hung on the wall after her graduation from a Houston High School, but by 1977, while raising a family, she tuned it up and has been singing her songs ever since. Her song "Mama Used to Dance" Appalachian Wind is a song for all deferred dreams, while "The Taking" whatnots demands justice for homeowners facing environmental destruction by coal companies. She also loves to sing Texas style swing as you can notice from "Silver Dew on the Bluegrass" The Coast is Clear. Karen Jones, a Midwest Norwegian, adopted her southern home while attending Berea College, Berea, Kentucky. She was a country dancer and began her own dance troupe in Covington, Kentucky while studying fiddle with Guy Blakeman (of WLW and WLS fame). Sharon Ruble, college buddy of Karen, studied clarinet as a youngster growing up in Henry County, Kentucky, and in the Reel World moved from wash-tub to acoustic bass. Elise Melrood, the latest member of the Reel World, mixes her Jewish roots with honkey-tonk, blues piano. She met the other members of the Reel World during a tour in Virginia and now plays full-time with the band since her move to Berea. With the instrumental "Velvet Stomp" The Coast is Clear she debuts her composition. With the energy of an old-time dance, the tight vocal harmony of Bluegrass singing, the infusion of American jazz and blues styles, and lyrics that reflect the politics of a changing South, Reel World is an undeniable force in the folk music scene.