Holger Peterson started Stony Plain Records 40 years ago at his kitchen table with partner Alvin Jahns. It’s grown into one of the most respected independent labels in history, balancing a roster of legendary artists like Maria Muldaur, Ian Tyson and Long John Baldry with up and coming acts.
To celebrate, they’ve released 40 Years of Stony Plain, a 3-disc set highlighting artists on the label, plus some rare and unreleased tracks. We also talk about putting together this great collection, and the resurgence of physical music.
Maria Muldaur has made a career out of shifting from one genre to another – folk, blues, jazz, classic R&B and even jug band music, while all along garnering critical praise and multiple Grammy nominations. Her latest venture returns her to New Orleans and the blues – Steady Love, reuniting her with long-time collaborator Dave Torkanowski. The 13 tracks on her new disc have a raw immediacy lacking in the majority of blues-based recordings that get released every month. Icon Fetch talks with Muldaur about choosing the songs for the new record, recording the album on a “tweezer” budget, and what is was like trying to followup her 1974 hit “Midnight at the Oasis.” She also gives us a preview of her next project.
Maria Muldaur’s Garden of Joy (Stony Plain) CD review —
What? Jug band music in this day and age? You betcha. For Maria Muldaur it’s sort of coming full-circle; she first rose to prominence in the early Sixties with the Even Dozen Jug Band before going solo with the surprise 1974 smash “Midnight at the Oasis.” Muldaur has always been a lover of classic American folk music, so it makes sense for her to return to her roots.
With Garden of Joy, she’s enlisted the help of some old friends, including John Sebastian of the Lovin’ Spoonful, Dave Grisman, who’s worked with a lot of people including Jerry Garcia, and bluesman Taj Mahal. Also joining Muldaur is Dan Hicks, who duets on the hilarious medley “Life’s Too Short / When Elephants Roost in Bamboo Trees” (I’m really not sure how she keeps a straight face!). She’s also discovered a young jug band enthusiast Kit Stovepipe who plays some stunning ragtime guitar.
In listening to this disc, the first thing you notice is how much fun it is. It’s downright infectious, sure to put a smile on your face. Even the more gloomy stuff isn’t really that down. The other amazing thing is how relevant some of these old songs are. Take for example “Bank Failure Blues,” originally written in 1929, the sentiment is still pertinent today. The production is clean and earthy (it was done in her living room). In lesser hands, this type of an album would be an absolute mess. But, with Garden of Joy, Maria Muldaur proves once again that she has a keen ear for making the old sound new again. –Tony Peters
Maria Muldaur – Barnyard Dance: Jug Band Music For Kids (Music For Little People) CD Review
My wife and I have two young boys still in elementary school, so we’ve had our share of children’s music blasting in the house. My main complaint with the majority of this genre is that it lacks something musically. If you dig deeper, it makes plain sense: most kids’ performers first failed as adult entertainers (just do a search for the history of the Wiggles to see those guys with mullets!). That’s what makes Barnyard Dance – Jug Band Music For Kids such a triumph: finally a children’s record the whole family can enjoy.
First off, this album is a no-brainer; a logical followup to her first jug band collection in over forty years, Maria Muldaur’s Garden of Joy, which garnered a Grammy nomination and was a whole lot of fun But don’t be fooled – this music may sound simple, but it’s incredibly intricate and well-played by the same guys that helped serve up her last one. Guitars, banjo, mandolin, kazoo all add to the wonderful flavors of the record. If this music doesn’t get you skipping around the room, you are most likely tone-deaf or brain dead. –Tony Peters
Maria Muldaur is best known for “Midnight at the Oasis,” her quirky hit from 1974. She’s led an eclectic career that’s seen her receive high praise and multiple Grammy nominations for her recent excursions into American roots music. Her latest CD, Maria Muldaur’s Garden of Joy, is a collection of jug band music reuniting her with John Sebastian of the Lovin’ Spoonful and Dave Grisman; musicians she first played with way back in the early Sixties. This latest project has just been nominated for yet another Grammy. Icon Fetch talks with the multi-faceted singer about reuniting with old friends, recording music for children, and the true story behind “Midnight at the Oasis.”