Amassing rare and forgotten music is a peculiar sort of hobby -- one that slowly transforms into an addiction. It's not that I don't love mainstream music. It's just that the thrill of listening to some forgotten gem that everybody else has overlooked is powerful. It also feeds into the collector's impulse I have to overturn every stone to find that song, and my love of complete collections. Not surprisingly, I also like to collect comic books. I guess I'm the type. In any event, here are five lesser-known musicians that I believe everybody should give a listen to, dating as far back as the 1920s and focusing on jazz, folk, and blues.

Mississippi Joe Callicott (1899 - 1969)

Callicott was not your typical North Mississippi blues musician. Musicians from the hill country tend to vamp on a few chords, focusing on a droning, almost hypnotic sound; Callicott was a fingerpicker in the vein of a Piedmont guitarist, with a dash of Jimmie Rodgers. He recorded three songs independently in 1929 and 1930: "Fare Thee Well Blues," "Traveling Mama," and "Mississippi Boll Weevil Blues", the last of which went unreleased. Two additional tracks were recorded with Garfield Akers, the "Cottonfield Blues" -- and here, his finger picking is energetic and nimble, bordering on aggressive.1 After the 1930 session, he went unrecorded for 37 years. He was not totally forgotten, however, as his songs started to appear in anthologies of Delta Blues. He was eventually found in Nesbit, Mississippi by George Mitchell, who recorded several songs with him in August 1967. These became the basis for a number of records and re-releases, the best of which was probably Fat Possum's Ain't a Gonna Lie to You. Unfortunately, his guitar playing had diminished somewhat by this time, but his voice had matured beautifully. His singing on "Frankie and Albert" is expressive and full of sadness yet was beautiful and nuanced throughout. After these sessions, he recorded several songs for Blue Horizons which were a bit lower-quality and rougher. He died in 1969 and was only recently given a proper headstone. Purchase Mississippi Joe Callicott Albums On Amazon Mississippi Joe Callicott - "Cottonfield Blues" [audio:/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Joe-Callicott_Cottonfield-Blues.mp3|titles=Mississippi Joe Callicott - Cottonfield Blues] Mississippi Joe Callicott - "Frankie And Albert" [audio:/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Joe-Callicott_Frankie-And-Albert.mp3|titles=Mississippi Joe Callicott - Frankie And Albert]  

The first annual CounterPoint Music and Arts Festival was held about 20 miles South of Atlanta, GA on a well-established horse farm along the Chattahoochee river. The venue was nestled upon green-topped pastures and surrounded by woodlands and a scenic waterfront, altogether under a spacious sky. In the festival foreground stood a monstrous dual main stage for quick back-to-back set transitions. The mid-ground had carnival rides, live art installations, event sponsored amenities, and local goods and food vendors galore! (The jumbo turkey legs and lamb crepes were delicious!) Lastly, two whopping tents were situated in the background, along with a water-filling station that constantly had a line that seemed comparable to one for the latest iPhone release.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY IWALLY PHOTOGRAPHY
It seemed very appropriate for me, as a first-time festival camper, to attend the first ever CounterPoint! Festival goers not only brought their camping essentials, but more importantly, they brought an electrifying energy and all the feel-good vibes the east coast had to offer. Some even made the trek from California! I admired their dedication and gave them some well-earned candy bracelets. There was an undeniable multi-dimensional sense of community that was brought on by the shared love for connections with like-minded people, an escape from our daily realities, and above all, the love of music. I went in with no intentions of reviewing any specific acts, but instead I was going to attend as many sets as I could, well-known or otherwise, and would cover those that left a lasting impression. Those include Crystal Castles, Beats Antique, Skrillex, Zoogma, Adventure Club, and Abakus.

As the unfavorable clouds finally passed over Portland to introduce the splendid few weeks of summer we're afforded each year, outdoor happenings of every sort become a commodity Portlanders are all too eager to take advantage of. Trips to the river, frisbee sessions at the park, and of course, outdoor music. And there's no better example of this than the early summer tradition at East End. Their two-day outdoor Block Party is something of a rarity in the city, especially as its located in the heart of the now bustling inner-SE district. So as the sun began to set on Saturday night, sandwiched between a couple of empty warehouses, a few friends from Brooklyn and a terrific group from Mississippi took to the stage. When I arrived just before The Babies' set, there was a typical East End band playing to a gathering crowd; the day was merely beginning for the all day mini-fest. Crust punks and general misanthropes gathered round, and as whatever band was playing their tired, expected punk rock, it was easy to see the crowd was in for a bit of culture shock once The Babies and Dent May finally began their respective sets.

 

July 7th, 2012 - East End Block Party @ East End, Portland, OR

 

Mississippi Studios Portland, OR 2011 - 04/12 Cults are the prime example of a remarkable hype-driven story -- of a faceless band lacking a full album, yet still manages to land a high-profile gig like Coachella. I can't tell you who exactly is in the band due to...