Posted in blues, Folk, Jazz, Music, Uncategorized

Snave and The Third Stream – Tin Can Fish House

by Rhetta Akamatsu

In 1957, Gunther Schuller described the Third Stream as a place where jazz and classical music meet halfway. For Snave and the Third Stream, that definition expands. It is where jazz, pop, country, blues, Cajun, folk and rock come together.

And they do merge beautifully on Tin Can Fish House. The name comes from the restaurant in Sandy Springs where it was recorded. The musicians are long-time Atlanta vocalist, guitarist, and flute master David “Snave” Evans and well-known and respected bassist Jon Schwenke, saxophonist Tim Crump and percussionist Will Groth. Lucky for us, all of the songs give the musicians ample room to display their prodigious talents.

Things kick off with the classic “Summertime,” which allows everyone to shine in the long instrumental breaks, while Snave handles the vocals ably. Then, we slide into a Zydeco groove with “Goin’ To New Orleans” which leads into the very jazzy “Little Birdie,” written by Vince Guaraldi for a Peanuts special, which has an especially tasty saxophone and distorted guitar, excellent percussion, and rock steady bass. There is nothing at all wrong with the vocals on this recording; it is just that the music is so spectacular!

Then we take a trip into the blues with the Mose Allison song “Mind on Vacation,” and here the vocals and the sax do shine even while that “wah-wah” guitar takes a fun turn as well. But we can’t leave ballads out of the stream, so next is a beautiful rendition of Little Country Giant’s “Just A Little Bit,” with gentle guitar, tender sax. and some nice harmony on the refrain. The song is perfectly suited to Snave’s plaintive vocal.

Just in case you think things are getting too mellow, they are about to get seriously heavy. Wait till you hear what the band has done to Donovan’s “Season of the Witch!” I am seeing this one finding its way onto many Halloween playlists! It is followed by a blazing version of Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower.”

This is an excellent collection of songs and styles, beautifully performed. No matter what your taste, you will find a lot to love here. Well done!


Posted in Books, Folk, Music

Book review: ‘Stand Up and Sing! Pete Seeger, Folk Music and the Path to Justice’ by Susanna Reich

Rhetta Akamatsu

Summary : iThis s a picture book intended for children in grades 3 through 7. But, like the music and message of Pete Seeger himself, it is really a book for everyone

Stand Up and Sing! Pete Seeger, Folk Music and the Path to Justice by Susanna Reich is a picture book intended for children in grades 3 through 7. But, like the music and message of Pete Seeger himself, it is really a book for everyone. Adam Gustavson’s beautiful illustrations alone, capturing Seeger throughout his life, make this a book that belongs in every school and public library, and one to be shared and passed down from parent to child.

Add to that the masterful way that Reich tells the story of Pete Seeger’s life and his profound belief in human rights and the power of music to change the world, as well as his steadfast courage to stand up for what he believed was right, and you have an important and timely story.

Yet both the words and the illustrations manage to convey all this without ever being preachy, talking down to children or making Seeger more than what he always wanted to be: a sinple man with a banjo and a head full of songs who loved to sing and entertain people, and maybe bring them all a little closer. A man, who with the faith in human goodness, built a ship with his friends and sailed it on the filthy Hudson River until people were inspired to clean it up.

He is a man children and their parents need to know. Our folk heroes are important and now Pete Seeger is no longer here to spread his message of love, equality, joy and peace for everyone, it is urgent we spread it for him. Which is what Reich and Gustavson do so admirably in this book.

If you are a teacher, this book along with some of Seeger’s music would be perfect for any class concerning the fight for the Unions, against McCarthyism, Civil Rights, the folk movement of the ’50s and ’60s, or the Vietnam War. If you have children between the age of 8 and 12, buy one for them and one for their school. They will love it, and so will you. Seeger was a man of the people, and this is a book for the people.