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Introducing our annual Festive Collection! Again we thank our friends and Medicine Show Family fold for a wonderful eclectic selection of different takes on Christmas. Please do share and enjoy 

The album is free to download (pay what you want) Listen Here 

The Medicine Show Festive Collection 2015 (Free Christmas Gift) The Medicine Show Presents - Christmas Times A' Coming 
Released November 2015, featuring various Medicine Show artists singing their unique blend of Christmas songs.


Stephanie Urbina Jones, Charlie Roth, Ed Romanoff, Brian Ashley Jones, Beth Wimmer, Dark Green Tree, The Kitty Black Band, Dougie Burns, Dick LeMasters, Kevin Dooley, Brigid Kaelin. 

Album Artwork by Mark Gerking

Our Festive Collection "Christmas Times A'Coming" is now available on CD exclusively from Fish Record for £2 + P&P , with all funds going to help the refugees. The CD will also be given away free with all purchases over £20 from Fish Records

(for all your folk roots music requirements this Christmas)

Californian group Dead Rock West are built around Cindy Wasserman and Frank Lee Drennen. They clearly have no intention of being too constrained by a particular style, being happily categorised as Americana, alt-country or roots rock but who cares, anyway? Question is, how good are they? The answer is that they're plenty good enough to be worth checking out and that with this second album they're doing something rather interesting. It seems that the first album was success enough to drive their career for the next couple of years but maybe that success jaded their appetite for what they were doing. So, come the time to go back to recording, they were inspired to make a gospel album, to re-visit some songs which are lurking in most Americans' cultural hinterland. Cindy Wasserman says she wanted to "get back to the simplicity of life by connecting with the source" and, atheist that I am, I can understand what she's getting at there.

         Now there are many strands of what might be called gospel music in its broadest sense but you might expect that a country-rooted music act might delve into the riches to be found in Appalachian music and be content with that. Not so with these guys; Angel Band is in there, for sure, as well as June Carter Cash's Wings Of Angels and Johnny Cash's Ain't No Grave but the core of the album is built around gospel music from the other side of the racial divide: there's two songs from Blind Willie Johnson and the original, spiritual version of This May Be The Last Time that the Stones changed beyond recognition for their early hit.  Three more songs from the spiritual tradition suggest they've searched long and hard for songs that suited their purpose but it's the two songs from outside the tradition that are the eye openers. Peter Case is their producer here and it's his song, co-written with Tom Russell and Bob Neuwirth, that is the only one on the album that isn't explicitly Christian; Beyond The Blues happens to have been a favourite of mine for a while, a song with great dignity that suggests that love is the answer to take us "beyond the blues". It's not specified in the lyric but it's a small assumption to make that it's God's love we're talking about here, so that's why it fits right in amongst this gospel company. The other "outsider" here is The Jesus And Mary Chain's song, God Help Me. In contrast with the strong faith expressed elsewhere, this song is a raw plea for that strength from a man all too aware of his doubt and his sin; the spiritual honesty contained in the lyric is a welcome contrast to those songs which suggest faith always comes easily. There are hints of that struggle in some of the other songs chosen, perhaps most notably in Blind Willie Johnson's song, God Moves On Water, which deals with the sinking of the Titanic. The lyric hints that the disaster was the result of man's presumption but the real purpose of the song is to confront a crisis of faith that comes in the wake of such a disaster.

           So what about the sound that Dead Rock West are making? Well, it doesn't really sound like a gospel album I would say. Angel Band is kept pure and simple, and is the song that most sounds as if it's genuinely imbued with faith.  Otherwise, I'm tempted to characterise the sound as a Californian version of the T-Bone Burnett approach; Ain't No Grave opens the album and is a strong contrast with Johnny Cash's own take on the song. This version is full of youthful defiance and the stirring arrangement is first, or maybe second, cousin to the more forceful sounds to be found on Raising Sand. Generally speaking these performances impress more with their vigour and muscularity than with any soulful spirituality and when the slide guitar on God Moves On The Water develops something of a whirling dervish intensity then it is very much in tune with where these guys are at with this material. There is something compelling about what's happening and my guess is that this will come over more strongly in live performance. There'll be an opportunity to find out because Dead Rock West are heading for Britain in March with the full band in tow. 

John Davy


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Tags: Dead, Rock, West, davy, john

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The House Concert Hub was founded by (me) Rob Ellen of Medicine Music; Publicist, Promoter, Presenter. Here are some of the artists Medicine Music and I have the privilege to work with, and links to their music and our mailing list. Please consider joining, be first to know what's happening. All of our artists are confirmed House Concert fans and available for your consideration. Also follow our rolling news below in this column.

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Artists If you want to connect directly with hosts promoters, DJ's and publications who are really active on this site and FSR and off. I can help, have a look at our enhanced membership group, I can connect you with and help you maintain your support structure here in Europe, thats what I do.

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booking House Concerts

Joseph Parsons (USA) - UK April 2016

Hi Folks!

Joseph Parsons here. I'm finally coming to the UK for a short run of shows in Southern and Northern UK, April 2016. I'm looking to add a few House Concerts in between or some other ideas.  Any help is much appreciated!  I've been making records and touring Europe & the USA for years and it's been such a great adventure. Thankfully, I've had so much support. I'm hoping I can find a 'home' in the UK!

I have a private website for booking info that can…

Got LIVE if you want it?...

Singer songwriter Gary O’Dea…booking for 2016 solo acoustic or with additional musicians. Brand new album FLY out now Perfect vibe for intimate friendly pubs / restaurants / clubs / bars / house parties / get togethers / bbqs / barmitzvahs / weddings and even the occasional wake smile…

Pistol Pete Wearn - Acoustic Blues Artist looking to add some house concerts to 2016 Scottish tour

Hi - I'm Pete, a Midlands based acoustic blues act. I'm going to be in Scotland for a tour this forthcoming March & I would really like to include some house concerts in the proceedings.  At the minute I'm looking to fill 5th, 7th & 9th March. 

about pistol pete…

Dumb Instrument - Looking for house concerts in the UK

Hi Folks,

We are Dumb Instrument and come from Ayrshire in Scotland and are looking to play house concerts anywhere in the UK. We actually perform as anything from a 2 piece up to an 8 piece and play a variety of musical styles however the main focus of our material is definitely Tom Murray's lyrics. Much like hamsters we are very low maintenance, don't require much food and like to keep ourselves clean.....

Please get in touch to let us entertain you at…


To Book Kete Bowers


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