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Fiddler Tex Logan, former Bluegrass Boy, dies at 85

2015 April 24
by Steve Ide

Tex Logan’s daughter Jody posted this information at 10:50 p.m.:

RIP Dad passed away peacefully just 30 minutes ago in my
arms. I was singing “Wayfaring Stranger” and told him to let himself go
and cross over … I am at hospital hugging him one last time … I will
make funeral arrangements later I was blessed for 58 years I will always
be your little girl.

Tex Logan

Obituary from The Newark Star-Ledger:

BENJAMIN LOGAN

1927 – 2015 | Obituary Condolences Gallery

BENJAMIN LOGAN Obituary
Benjamin F. ‘Tex’ Logan Renowned bluegrass fiddler and retired Bell Labs mathematician who bridged the gap between highbrow academics and country music, 87 Benjamin F. “Tex” Logan of Madison, N.J., died peacefully in the arms of his daughter, Jody, in Morristown, N.J., on April 24, 2015, at the age of 87.
The memorial service is Thursday, April 30, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Madison Memorial Home, 159 Main St., Madison, followed by a celebration of his life and legacy.
Born in Coahoma, Texas, on June 6, 1927, to Benjamin and Mabel (Hood) Logan, Tex earned a B.Sc. in electrical engineering at Texas Tech University, an MSc. from MIT (1956), and a Ph.D. from Columbia University. In 1956, he joined Bell Labs in New Jersey, where he developed advances in digital audio, patented an echo canceller used in satellite communications and, with colleague Larry Shepp, developed the Shepp-Logan phantom (1974), the standard for computerized tomography (CT) image reconstruction simulations of the head.
Dr. Logan retired from Bell Labs as a research mathematician in 1993. On weekends and evenings, especially during the summer, that same Dr. Logan, smartly attired in a cowboy hat and boots, took out his fiddle, and in foot stompin’ spirit was off to a bluegrass festival. He thus transformed into Tex Logan, one of the best fiddlers in the history of bluegrass music.
In 2008, Tex was honored in Owensboro, Ky., as one of the legends of bluegrass, and on Sept. 30, 2010, received the International Bluegrass Music Association’s distinguished achievement award.
Tex Logan played with Bill Monroe, Stoney and Wilma Lee Cooper, Mike Seeger, The Lilly Brothers & Don Stover, The Charles River Valley Boys, Peter Rowan and the Green Grass Gringos, as well as his own band, the Northeast Seaboard Blues Band.
Tex wrote “Christmas Time’s A-Coming,” a song made popular by Bill Monroe that has been recorded by many performers, including Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, Sammy Kershaw, Rhonda Vincent, and Patty Loveless, among others; and “Diamond Joe,” recorded by Stoney and Wilma Lee Cooper, The Jerry Garcia Band, David Nelson, and the New Riders of the Purple Sage.
The jam-band generation adopted Tex as one of their own through his connection with big daddy Jerry Garcia, with whom he performed and recorded on several versions of Old & In the Way’s new-grass projects. Tex Logan was a man who possessed the ability to bridge the gap between the highbrow academic worlds of mathematics and electrical engineering, and at the same time dazzled audiences and enthused fellow musicians with his high-energy virtuoso fiddling.
He will be profoundly missed. Mr. Logan is survived by his daughter, Jody Logan, and grandsons, Jamie and Ryan Berlin, of Madison, N.J.; brothers, Russell H. Logan and Samuel H. Logan, and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his wife, Peggy, and his daughter, Laura Logan. The family would like to thank all of those who have sent their prayers and support. In lieu of flowers, donations to St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center, 575 Woodland Rd., Madison, N.J., in Tex’s memory would be appreciated.

Published in Star-Ledger on Apr. 29, 2015

– See more at: http://obits.nj.com/obituaries/starledger/obituary.aspx?pid=174744157#sthash.sO4vXwlQ.dpuf

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VIDEOS: Q&A with The Honey Dewdrops, in Mansfield on Saturday

2015 April 15
by Steve Ide
Rose Garden Coffeehouse

On Saturday, the Rose Garden again plays host to The Honey Dewdrops, a couple from Baltimore, Maryland that has managed to develop a singular sound that is both magical and hard to define. From simple blending of their voices to complex riffs on guitar, banjo and mandolin, the pair plays off one another seamlessly and the results are pure and innovative.

I asked them a few questions to try and get into the head of these talented performers in advance of the show. For more information about the show, visit the Rose Garden website.

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International songwriters performing benefit for folk organization

2015 March 31
James Keelaghan ~ Photo by Stephen Ide

Archie Fisher, James Keelaghan and Jez Lowe. Three of the world’s finest songwriters and most respected singers have decided to take their friendship on the road. Meeting on a cruise, they found that their music has a great synergy. When they again found themselves staying in the same house last autumn, the idea for the tour was born. The trio will perform individually and together at 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 9, 2015 at the Somerville Armory, 191 Highland Ave, Somerville, Mass.

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VIDEOS: Unique Michigan-based stringband visit Mansfield on Saturday

2015 March 19
by Steve Ide, with press material
Lindsay-Lou-and-The-Flatbellys-200thm

When I first heard of Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys, my first reaction was: who? I’ve heard of a lot of stringbands over time, and a roots ensemble from Michigan was not on my radar. But as a volunteer at Mansfield’s Rose Garden Coffeehouse for some 25 years, I’ve come to expect the unexpected. It was only a few years ago that the coffeehouse’s artistic director, Mac McLanahan, introduced me to the music of the Steel Wheels — another stringband I had never heard of. I gave them a chance and now have come to love that band, and I’ve seen them perform multiple times. With that in mind, I started listening to Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys — and I’ve not been disappointed.

Lindsay Lou and her band will perform this Saturday at 8 p.m. in the Rose Garden, now in its 26th season and one of the premier coffeehouses in the state. This remarkably fun, young roots ensemble has a snappy sound, tight harmonies as the perform folk, pop, Americana, bluegrass and original songs. Lindsay Lou’s sweet, powerful vocals, tinged with blues and jazzy undertones, leave a lasting impression. You just have to hear this band to appreciate that they will be going places. read more…

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Acoustic band Driftwood to perform March 6 at me & thee coffeehouse, with opener Laney Jones

2015 February 23
by Kathy Sands-Boehmer
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MARBLEHEAD, Mass. — On Friday, March 6th, the me & thee coffeehouse is happy to open the doors for a concert with Americana and roots band, Driftwood. The opening act is Laney Jones, a Berklee College of Music student who is turning heads all over the country with her original homespun music.  Doors open at 7:30 PM for this 8:00 PM show at the me&thee coffeehouse which is located at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Marblehead at 28 Mugford Street.

From the Binghamton, New York music scene comes Driftwood, a band with a rock n’ roll soul and a folk art mind. Carving out a name for themselves with electrifying live performances, they bring one of the most unique, raw sounds to today’s music scene. Incorporating upright bass, banjo, acoustic guitar and violin, the ghost of traditional American folk music lives in their palette. But the melodies, the harmonies and the lyrics are something else entirely. read more…

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VIDEOS: Les Sampou, with opener Random Chants on Saturday, Feb. 28 in East Weymouth, Mass.

2015 February 16
by Victor DeRubeis
Music at Sanctuary Hall, Weymouth

Chase away those winter blues with, well, some blues when singer-songwriter Les Sampou appears at East Weymouth’s Music at Sanctuary Hall on Saturday, Feb. 28.

Sampou, whose Americana music is full of twang and blues, has a musical career that has spanned five recordings and countless listening rooms, bars, and festivals as well as over several hundred thousand miles of road, is making her first appearance at the Jackson Square music venue, held in the sanctuary of East Weymouth Congregational Church, 1320 Commercial St. read more…

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VIDEOS: Rhonda Vincent, Del, Seldom Scene top Joe Val Bluegrass Festival for 30th year

2015 February 5
2015 Joe Val Bluegrass Festival

Over the years, I have watched music festivals come and go. Organizers change or pass on, and music events that seem like they will live on forever vanish, leaving fans wondering what happened. The Boston area, however, has been treated to a bluegrass festival that has grown and flourished. When the Joe Val Bluegrass Festival runs from Feb. 13-15, 2015, it will be celebrating its 30th year.

This year featuring award-winning acts such as The Seldom Scene, Jim Lauderdale with Della Mae, the Grammy-award-winning Del McCoury Band and Grammy-nominated Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, the highly touted Joe Val Bluegrass Festival not only has endured, it’s become a launching pad for bands, many of whom will land gigs on bigger stages nationwide as the year progresses. read more…

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VIDEOS: Singer-songwriters Cosy Sheridan with winner Zoe Mulford at Mansfield’s Rose Garden on Saturday

2015 February 2
by Steve Ide
Cosy Sheridan & Zoe Mulford

On Feb. 7, 2015 the Rose Garden welcomes two fine singer-songwriters, one a veteran performer who is renowned for her thoughtful and insightful music, the other a talented performer an clever songwriter who won the Performing Songwriter Competition last May.

New Hampshire’s Cosy Sheridan first performed at the Rose Garden in the early 90s, about when she was catching the attention of national folk music audiences. She has been called “one of the era’s finest and most thoughtful singer-songwriters,” and she has won prestigious awards from the Kerrville Folk Festival and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival’s Troubadour Contest. read more…

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VIDEOS: Acoustic blues of Rishell & Raines in Mansfield, Mass. on Saturday

2014 November 6
Annie Raines ~ Photo by Stephen Ide

In the more than 20 years since Paul Rishell and Annie Raines met in a Boston bar, they have sung and played the blues. It’s been a magical mix of acoustic blues guitar, harmonica and vocals that have propelled the duo to national acclaim. They return on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014 to the Rose Garden Coffeehouse in Mansfield, Mass.

Paul Rishell is widely regarded as one of the best country-style acoustic guitar players around. Annie Raines’ harp playing (harmonica) has been compared to some of the greats such as Charlie Musselwhite and James Cotton. They’ve been working together for about 21 years, and they’ve got the country, old-timey blues thing down cold. They met in 1993 during the recording of Paul Rishell’s album “Swear to Tell the Truth,” and have released several albums as a duo including, “I Want You To Know,” “Moving To The Country,” “Goin’ Home,” and “A Night in Woodstock.”

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AUDIO: Garnet Rogers to perform in Mansfield; talks about his latest CD

2014 October 10
Garnet Rogers performs at the Rose Garden Coffeehouse in Mansfield, Mass., in 2008. Photo by Stephen Ide

Canadian folk singer Garnet Rogers returns to the Rose Garden Coffeehouse in Mansfield on Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. The performer recently released a new CD, “Summer’s End,” his first since 2007’s “Get a Witness.” The CD came after the passing of his parents, Valerie and Al Rogers, in 2012 and 2013, respectively, and the loss of a close friend, which made the folk singer look through a notebook of songs about his life that had not seen the light of day.

I emailed Garnet with a several questions about the new CD and his take on his music. As usual, he was candid and quite forthcoming. I’m looking forward to the Mansfield show.

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NC group Balsam Range named bluegrass Entertainers of the Year

2014 October 3
by Steve Ide

North Carolina’s Balsam Range were named on Thursday night as bluegrass music’s top entertainers of the year and vocal group of the year during the 2014 awards ceremony held Thursday night, Oct. 2, 2014 in Raleigh, N.C.

I first saw Balsam Range a few years ago at the IBMA’s World of Bluegrass. They were dynamic then, and have since just grown in musicianship and popularity.

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Videos: New season, friendly faces at Rose Garden

2014 September 17

Antje Duvekot - Photo by Stephen IdeAn old friend rejoins the Rose Garden Coffeehouse to start the 2014-2015 season. Antje Duvekot, who has played at the venue four previous times, will bring her talents to the Mansfield acoustic listening room on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014.

Antje Duvekot (AN-tyuh DOO-va-kot) is a lovely match for the Rose Garden, which enters its 26th season. The German-born folk singer’s intimate, soul-searching music and vocals are the embodiment of the singer-songwriter spirit that the venue has always fostered. The Rose Garden has always featured and nurtured acts that are up-and-coming. Antje seems to have bridged that gap and become better known, but it wasn’t long ago that she was a newcomer to the region’s folk scene. read more…

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GITLIN: Bill Keith deserving of award for distinguished achievement

2014 August 14
by Ira Gitlin, guest columnist

Bill Keith really needs no introduction within the bluegrass world, but just for completeness’ sake, here’s a brief outline of his musical life.

Keith was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1939. He took piano lessons as a child, then learned to play the tenor banjo and plectrum banjo. As a student at Amherst College he taught himself to play the five-string banjo. After college, he played locally in New England, then moved to Washington, DC, to play with Red Allen and Frank Wakefield. In 1963 Bill Monroe hired him to play banjo with the Blue Grass Boys. (He beat out Del McCoury for the job, but that’s another story.) After eight months with Monroe, he played and recorded with various artists, most notably the short-lived supergroup Muleskinner. At present Bill Keith lives near Woodstock, New York. Although he doesn’t perform regularly, he remains active in bluegrass music.

Among the many highlights in Keith’s long and varied career, two achievements in particular stand out. One has expanded our music’s expressive range, while the other has extended its reach throughout America and around the world.

Bill Keith at Grey Fox 2013, Photo © Copyright 2013 Fred Robbins

Bill Keith at Grey Fox 2013, Photo © Copyright 2013 Fred Robbins

The first of these achievements is the development of “melodic style” banjo playing, the most important and widely used extension of Earl Scruggs’ three-finger technique. Melodic banjo playing uses ingeniously coordinated right- and left-hand fingerings to allow the player to execute fast scales and scale-based passages smoothly and efficiently. Keith initially developed this approach in the early 1960s while trying to figure out a note-for-note banjo arrangement of the fiddle tune “Devil’s Dream.” He quickly recognized that it could be used to play any fiddle tune, and much else besides. It was this new approach to the banjo that earned Keith his job in the Blue Grass Boys in 1963.

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Veteran songwriter, singer Jonathan Edwards in Mansfield on Saturday

2014 May 14
by Steve Ide
Jonathan Edwards thumb

In the 1970s, tucked between the sounds of Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd and a host of rock bands, Jonathan Edwards was a voice of folk-country-pop clarity. His pulsating rhythm guitar, riveting harmonica playing and crisp and tender vocals, was an escape for a country post-Vietnam, and he offered a dose of originality and simplicity few have brought to the airwaves since.

Edwards, who plays the Rose Garden Coffeehouse in Mansfield, Mass., on Saturday, has not rested on the laurels of his 1971, self-titled gold-record debut. Sure, the songs from that LP remain in high demand, songs like “Sunshine,” the pot-loving “Shanty” or the tender “Sometimes.” He has since been a part of more than 20 projects, from CDs to DVDs, and thankfully, has continued writing. read more…

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Jesse Winchester, American songwriting icon, dies at 69

2014 April 11
by Steve Ide
jesse_winchester.promo-thm

Jesse Winchester, a folk icon and singer-songwriter beloved for many songs from the heart, died at his home in Virginia after a battle with esophageal cancer. He was 69. It was confirmed today on his Facebook page.

Condolences poured in across the Internet today and on Facebook. Joan Baez wrote “Thank you Jesse Winchester. You will be missed.” Jerry Douglas: “Godspeed to gentle soul and precious friend, Jesse Winchester.”

American Songwriter Magazine: “You can’t talk about the best songwriters and not include him,”Bob Dylan once said of Jesse Winchester.

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David Mallett returning to Mansfield’s Rose Garden Coffeehouse on April 19

2014 April 11

David Mallett, one of America’a most revered songwriters, has a song called “Greenin’ Up Real Good” that shows how spring is finally born in New England each year. This will no doubt be a favorite (and a welcome one at that) when he plays the Rose Garden Coffeehouse in Mansfield on Saturday, April 19. read more…

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VIDEOS: Buskin & Batteau calling it quits again

2014 April 9
Buskin & Batteau logo

David Buskin, co-writer for the folk/pop group Buskin & Batteau has announced that his partner, Robin Batteau, will no longer be performing in the band. Buskin, meanwhile, will return to performing with the folk-comedy trio Modern Man. The change seemingly marks an end to a musical collaboration that has existed, on and off, for about 35 years. read more…

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VIDEO: Bill Staines and Sally Rogers tonight in Marblehead

2014 April 4
by Steve Ide
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Folk music fans are in for a treat if they head up to Marblehead tonight. The show at the Me & Thee Coffeehouse features Bill Staines, a warm, lefty troubadour whose songs Peter, Paul, and Mary, Makem and Clancy, Nanci Griffith, among many others. Splitting the bill will be Sally Rogers, a performer of traditional, contemporary and original ballads. read more…

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VIDEO: The sound of silence

2014 March 20
by Steve Ide
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When The Steel Wheels, a Virginia-based Americana/roots band, played at Mansfield’s Rose Garden Coffeehouse on Saturday night, there was something special in the air. The band had performed in 2012 at the venue, located in the Congregational Church on the town’s South Common, to a small crowd of 80 people. Fast-forward two years and more than 200 people filled the church’s sanctuary on Saturday night. read more…

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The Steel Wheels offer great music and a big heart

2014 March 5
by Guest column by Mac McLanahan
Rose Garden Logo

When The Steel Wheels played at the Rose Garden Coffeehouse in Mansfield two years ago, they participated in a charity bike ride to raise money for a Stage 4 cancer patient. We thought they were special then, but now we know it. They return to the Rose Garden Coffeehouse in Mansfield on Saturday, March 15, for an 8:00 pm show. read more…

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