DarielB – Flying Under the Radar

Dana Cooper at South By Southeast Nov. 1

Posted in Music Stories by darielb on October 30, 2008
(Top to Bottom): Singer/songwriter Dana Cooper (Photo by Anthony Popolo); Cooper's CD, 'Made of Mud' (2005).
(Top to Bottom): Singer/songwriter Dana Cooper (Photo by Anthony Popolo); Cooper’s CD, ‘Made of Mud’ (2005).
I have to admit, when I got a phone call from Dana Cooper to tell me he’d be performing at the Train Depot in Myrtle Beach, I had no idea who he was. No matter, though. If South By Southeast organizers Jeff Roberts and Seth Funderburk are bringing him to town, that’s good enough for me. Besides, I love a musician who can dial his own phone.
Dana Cooper, it turns out is a passionate singer/songwriter with kind of a wistful endearing voice. He’s been called things like “Nashville’s best kept secret” (—Vic Garbarini, Playboy) and “an undeniable power-pop gem” ( —Bob Cannon, Entertainment Weekly).
Cooper is touring in support of his 2005 CD, Made of Mud, released on King Easy Records. It’s really a writerly sort of recording. Insightful lyrics are front and center. Track one, titled “Step Into the Light,” was written some 30 years ago about the Vietnam War. The title track speaks to the notion that people are more alike than different.
Dana Cooper is clearly an accomplished guitarist and harmonica man. Listening to the 11-track CD, I very much look forward to his show at the Train Depot.
According to his website, Cooper was playing clubs in Kansas City by the time he was 16. He earned an art scholarship, but then passed it up in favor of life on the road. In 1973, Electra Records in Los Angeles released his debut album which featured legendary players like Russ Kunkel, Leland Sklar and Jim Horn. Next he moved to Texas and hooked up, musically speaking, with longtime friend Shake Russell. The duo produced a number of very successful folk-rock albums and performed together at numerous venues including Austin City Limits.
Miracle Mile, released in 2002 on Compass Records, is probably his most critically acclaimed recording. It was nominated for a Nashville Music Award for Best Pop Album and was chosen by Performing Songwriter as one of the top 12 DIY recordings of the year.
Tickets are $20 if you’re a SXSE member and $25 if you’re not. It includes the show and a potluck dinner (Bring something to share, if you’re so inclined.). At press time, I hadn’t be advised of the opening act. Dinner starts around 6 p.m. The opener should take the stage by 7 and Dana Cooper will go on at 8 p.m.
Contact Dariel Bendin at darielb@atmc.net or visit her MySpace page at http://www.MySpace. com/culturejunkie .
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Meet CWB – Again

Posted in Music Stories by darielb on October 30, 2008

We all remember when Craig Woolard formed the Craig Woolard Band. It was 2004. Craig had left his lead singer slot with the Embers after some internal strife and a dispute over contractual differences with Bluewater Recordings, with whom the Embers had just signed an exclusive recording contract. (How’s that for a long-winded, yet quick and understated synopsis?)

Craig, of course, was lead singer in the newly created Craig Woolard Band. Mark Roberts was on vocals and horn. J.K. Loftin handled guitar chores and vocals. Terry Nash played keyboard (and vocals). Frank Mills was on bass guitar (vocals, too), and Scott Harrell was the drummer. The group quickly became a mainstay in Beach Music World. They evolved into a dynamic, exciting beach band with a vocal powerhouse out front. CWB released Making Waves, which included the singles “I’ve Got a Feeling,” “One Drop of Love,” and Mark Roberts’ “Dixie Moon” and “Hey There Lonely Girl.”
“Till the Day After,” released during Fall SOS in 2004 climbed to No. 1 on the beach charts and stayed there. The fledgling CWB earned Group of the Year at the 2005 Carolina Beach Music Academy (CBMA) Awards. It was also during this year that Greg Watson stepped in when bass player Frank Mills left the band and Tony Mallard replaced Scott Harrell on skins.
The Craig Woolard Band was filling the clubs with fans who shagged and sang along with their favorite Craig Woolard tunes including “Love Don’t Come No Stronger,” Craig’s solo release (while he was still with the Embers) and “What Am I Gonna Do Without Your Love,” both which Craig had co-produced with Chris Biehler of Forevermore Records. In January 2007, talented hornplayer Keith Stone joined the group, adding even more depth to the CWB sound .”
A month later, drummer Sam Bryant surprised fans and many insiders by jumping from Coastline Band to CWB, filling the Tony Mallard spot. Sam brought his own distinctive sound and penchant for finding the pocket with him. CWB was tight and rockin’.
But something was stirring. Vocalist Mark Roberts wanted to step out of the role as a supporting vocalist, and decided in June 2007 to move to Coastline Band where he would play a more prominent role. That left CWB with a definite hole to fill. Craig immediately hired Andy King, who brought an entirely different energy to CWB.
The band released Come Get To This during Fall 2007. Charting singles include “I Can’t Dance,” “Money Honey,” “River of Love,” “What You Gave Me,” “Coast Is Clear,” “On the Beach,” Bet You’ll Never Be Sorry,” “Color Away” and the title track. The band thrived.
Until late 2007, that is, when Mark Roberts announced he was leaving Coastline to form his Mark Roberts & Breeze. And that J.K. Loftin and Terry Nash would be leaving Craig Woolard Band to join him.
By February 2008, they were gone and Craig was filling in with temporary players and trying out different musicians – all while he was trying to keep his obligations, and his fans.
Over the next several months, he downplayed the hit he had taken, and worked hard to find the right players … with the right fit. I kept nagging him to do an interview with me. I wanted to know what was going on, but he didn’t want to talk for the record just yet.
Finally about a month ago, Craig said to me, “I think I’m ready to talk to you. I’m feeling really good about this band.”
Craig Woolard (lead vocals, flute and saxophones, what am I forgetting?), Greg Watson (bass guitar and vocals), Andy King (trumpet and vocals), Keith Stone (horn and vocals) and Sam Bryant (drums) are now joined by Don Jordan (lead guitar and vocals) and Andy Swindell (keyboards and vocals).
Craig says,”These guys are tops. We can sit down and jam, but when we’re onstage and I need them to be consistent, they are just so tight …”
Andy Swindell, from Durham, North Carolina, spent almost ten years in the Embers with Craig. They share the same influences: Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Bobby Womack. “Andy’s got a great soulful voice,” says Craig. “He fills in the bottom on the harmony section. He can play boogie woogie or a screaming B3 and he’s got great chord knowledge … he’s a little too tall, though.”
Guitarist Don Jordan is from Pfaftown, North Carolina, just outside Winston-Salem. He also sang with the Embers, for about a year. “He’s got a great blues feel and is really adding something to the group … Robert Cray … and he has that new country thing nailed, said Craig. “We played a county fair recently and got a request for a number I wasn’t too familiar with, Don stepped right up and was great … this George Jones song, he went right into it, lick for lick.
“I had to wait for the right guys, but I feel good.”
He must feel good about the CBMA nominations for 2008, too. Craig’s been nominated for Male Vocalist and Entertainer of the Year. CWB is in the running for Group of the Year, and Come Get To This has been nominated for Group Album.
Just for the helluvit, take a looksee at how many CBMA awards Craig has collected over the years (and I’m not even counting what the Embers took home):
• Male Vocalist: 2006, 2005, 2004, 2002, 1997 and 1996;
• Entertainer: 2004;
Song of the Year: 2006, “I’ve Got a Feeling”; 2002, “Love Don’t Come No Stronger”;
• Group of the Year: 2005, Craig Woolard Band;
• Ballad/Smoothie: 2006, CWB Featuring Mark Roberts for “Hey There Lonely Girl”;
• Collaboration: 2004 for “Cruisin’” with Marsha Hancock; 2002 for “That’s Summertime To Me” with Gary Brown, Johnny Barker and JD Cash;
Duo Recording: 2002 for “That’s Summertime To Me” with Gary Brown, Johnny Barker and JD Cash (didn’t I just say this?); 1996 with Debbie Dobbins for “Bring It On Home To Me”;
• Producer: 1996 with Chris Biehler for “Love Don’t Come No Stronger”; and
• Group Vocalist: 1996.
No doubt about it, Craig Woolard is a mighty tall talent.

CBMA Nominations: Surprises, Kudos, Glaring Omissions

Posted in Music Stories by darielb on October 30, 2008
(Top to Bottom): Albert Rogers' 'Satisfy My Soul' has been nominated for Smoothie of the Year; Duane Neese, a strong addition to Holiday Band; and Redd Cottle, the dynamic frontman for the mighty Tams. (Cottle Photo by Hany Hosny)
(Top to Bottom): Albert Rogers’ ‘Satisfy My Soul’ has been nominated for Smoothie of the Year; Duane Neese, a strong addition to Holiday Band; and Redd Cottle, the dynamic frontman for the mighty Tams. (Cottle Photo by Hany Hosny)
The nominees for this year’s Carolina Beach Music Awards have been sent out to industry and associate members, and as always they’re causing a stir. I love the ladies noted in the female vocalist category. I think before long, though, they’ll be making way for Belinda Owens from Subway and Becky Fox Baldwin. These two powerhouses won’t go unnoticed for long.
Butch Barnes is deservedly included in this year’s entertainer category, but where is Redd Cottle from the mighty Tams? Think about it folks. He should be there and maybe in the male vocalist category, too.
I was surprised, too, that Mark Roberts wasn’t on the list for male vocalist. If anything, he’s grown stronger since forming Mark Roberts & Breeze, which was nominated for new band.
There’s one other omission I have to mention, and maybe it’s just that enough folks haven’t heard the CD. But the production value on Let My Peoples Dance by Reverend Bubba D Liverance is topnotch. Rev. Bubba produced and Billy Decker was the engineer. I’m floored that it’s not included in both categories.
I asked Willie C if he thought there were any big surprises.”I was happily surprised that Calabash Flash was included in the solo CD category,” he said, “His singles have been charting and people love him.”
I’m glad Albert Rogers’ “Satisfy My Soul” is nominated for smoothie of the year. He’s such an integral member of Coastline that we don’t often acknowledge his individual strength as a vocalist and bass player.
I’m also happy to see Holiday Band getting some notice. Duane Neese has proven to be a great addition to the band – as both a performer and a songwriter.
One last thing, kudos to Jim Quick for declining King Tyrone & the Graveyard Ramblers’ nomination for new group of the year. I think it was the right thing to do.
The major awards ceremony and performances will take place at the Alabama Theatre on Sunday, Nov. 9. Tickets must be purchased at the Alabama Theatre in Barefoot Landing, and run from $38 to $58.
Industry awards will be given on Saturday, Nov. 8 at the Spanish Galleon in North Myrtle Beach. Admission is $5 or free with a CBMA weekend ($50) or day pass ($20). For more information visit http://www.cammy.org.
If you haven’t seen the whole list, check it out for yourself. Here are the nominees.
People’s Nominees
Female Vocalist: Molly Askins; Karen Clayton; Rhonda McDaniel; Pam Russell; Susan Trexler.
Male Vocalist: Butch Barnes; Chuck French; Clint Horton; Jim Quick; Craig Woolard.
Favorite New Artist: Fabulous Hot Dog Daddy O’s; Hip Pocket; Legends of Beach; Mark Roberts & Breeze; Wallstreet.
Song of the Year: Fool If You Think It’s Over (Holiday Band); Mama’s Drinking Liquor Again (King Tyrone & the Graveyard Ramblers); Shadow Shaggin’ (Tommy Black & Blooz); Walk Away From Love (Sea-Cruz); Why Am I Crying? (Rhonda McDaniel).
National Dance/Shag Song: Cupid Shuffle (Cupid); Do That Thang Again (Archie Bell); It Only Hurts Me When I Cry (Raul Malo); Hey Mr. DJ (Lonnie Givens) There Goes My Baby (Kenny Vance).
Group Album: Come Get To This (CWB/Sisbro); Got It Bad For You (Holiday Band/ Ripete); King Tyrone & the Graveyard Ramblers (self titled/KHP); Let My Peoples Dance (Rev. Bubba D Liverance & the Cornhold Prophets/ Ain’t Bad Records); Nothing To Lose (Magnificents/KHP).
Solo Album: Beach Walking (Tim Cashion/Beach Cottage); Nu Soul Stew (Angel Rissoff/ Angel Music); Rhonda McDaniel (Rhonda McDaniel/ KHP); Flash Flood (Calabash Flash/B&F Records); Under One Roof (Gary Brown/KHP).
Internet Radio Show: Beach Music Café (Willie C); Carolina Sounds (Butch Halpin); Simply Shaggin’ (Kyle Beam); Southern soul.com (Keith Houston); Way Down South (Neil “Soul Dog” Furr).

Entertainer: Butch Barnes; Scott Fine; Jim Quick; Bo Schronce; Little John Thompson; Craig Woolard.
Smoothie: Callin’ (Jim Quick & Coastline); Forever Is As Far As I’ll Go (Gary Bass); I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (Magnificents); Satisfy My Soul (Albert Rogers); Shadow Shaggin’ (Tommy Black & Blooz).
Compilation: Coast To Coast (KHP); Forever Summer II (KHP); Keep On Shaggin’ (Ripete/KHP); This Is It (KHP).
Blues Song: A Little Meat On the Side (Sea-Cruz); Mama’s Drinking Liquor Again (King Tyrone & the Graveyard Ramblers); Motor Under the Hood (Holiday Band); Sure Cure For the Blues (Miranda Louise); That’s My Story (Cracked Ice).
Industry Nominees
Producer: Keith Houston & Julian Fowler (Coast To Coast CD / Various); Marion Carter, Keith Houston, Julian Fowler (Forever Summer II CD /Various); Keith Houston (It’s You/Fabulous Hot Dog Daddy-O’s); Keith Houston (Why Am I Crying/Rhonda McDaniel); Keith Houston & Julian Fowler (This Is It CD/ Various).
Engineer: Keith Houston (Coast To Coast CD/Various; Jeremy “Big Jerm” Thomas (Nothing To Lose CD/ Magnificents); Keith Houston (Forever Summer II CD/Various); Keith Houston (Rhonda McDaniel CD/Rhonda McDaniel);Keith Houston (This Is It CD/Various).
Collaboration or Duo: Memories and Souvenirs (Donny & Susan Trexler with Mark Black); Stop Look and Listen To Your Heart (Rickey Godfrey & Rhonda McDaniel); Like To See My Baby (Angel Rissoff & King Tyrone); The Boys Are Back In Town (Young Guns); Over At Mary’s Place (Cliff Ellis & Oscar Toney Jr.).
Songwriter(s): Kim Todd (Baby There’s Something/ Magnificents); Mike Taylor & Duane Neese (Got It Bad For You/Holiday Band); Jim Quick (Mama’s Drinking Liquor Again (King Tyrone & the Graveyard Ramblers); Duane Neese (Motor Under the Hood/Holiday Band); Tommy Black (Shadow Shaggin’/Tommy Black & Blooz).
Michael Branch Award: Julian Fowler (Ripete/KHP); David Hicks (Different Drummer); Keith Houston (KHP ); Willie C (Beach Music Café); Mike Perkinson (Behind the Music).
Instrumentalist: Mark Black (Sax/Legends of Beach); Glen Tippett (Keyboard, Sax, Various) Jim Quick & Coastline; Dino Fair (Keyboard/Sea-Cruz); Jimmy Matherly (Bass/Magnificents); Donny Trexler (Guitar/Donny & Susan Trexler.

Roy Roberts On The Horn

Posted in Interviews by darielb on October 30, 2008
Every once in a while I get a phone call from Roy Roberts … just to bring me up to date on what he’s working on, who he’s producing, what’s on his mind. And I always say, “When are you coming to the beach, Roy?” And, sure enough, he says, “Oh, I don’t expect to be playing the beach.”
I’m kinda bummed. I think the last time I saw him was in 2004, when he earned CBMA’s Blues Song of the Year for “I Slipped, Tripped and Fell In Love.” I love that bluesy voice of his.
Roy Roberts has not only been honored by CBMA in 2004 and again in 2006, when he received the Pioneer Award and was inducted into the Hall of fame. He has also earned a Living Blues Producer of the Year award and Italy’s Franco Rubegni award for soul music.
Gary Erwin, president of the Lowcountry Blues Society, said, “A Roy Roberts Show is an irrestible musical odyssey, a sweat-drenched pilgrimage through the back alleys of the blues and the glory years of soul music. There aren’t many performers on the scene today who know the importance of ‘entertainment’ like Roy Roberts.”
Originally from Tennessee, Roy says he used to listen to Nashville’s WLAC radio. He loved the blues; he loved R&B. He worked on a farm in order to earn enough money for his very first guitar (a mail-order Sears Silvertone, according to his website).
After he moved to Greensboro, North Carolina, at the ripe old age of 18, Roy was fortunate enough to see The Iceman Jerry Butler perform, and once again he was inspired to improve his own skills. Soon, he would be playing various beach and soul venues with Guitar Kimber’s Untouchables and backing up some of the artists that came through town. One such artist was Solomon Burke, who would go on to become the legendary soul singer known all over the world.
Roy began to tour with Eddie Floyd, Stevie Wonder (Little Stevie Wonder in those days), Dee Clark and Otis Redding. During this time, he also had his own band, the Roy Roberts Experience, which played a lot of regional beach clubs.
The death of Otis Redding hit Roy hard, and prompted him to record his tribute to the late soul singer.
Hanging in there through disco and country, Roy credits Robert Cray with bringing him back to the blues. His efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. In 2001, he was also honored by the Piedmont Blues Society.
Roy formed Rock House Records in 1996. The label roster includes Chick Willis, Floyd Miles, Priscilla Price, Johnny Rawls, Skeeter Brandon, Tommy Thomas, Maria Rolls and Mark Van Mourick. Roy also produced Becky Fox Baldwin’s “Just the Way You Are” in 2007, and has just finished producing her latest single, “Through Lovers’ Eyes,” which will be released on KHP’s compilation, Carolina Beach Girls this fall. Other recent recordings by Roy Roberts include It’s Only You (2008), Man With a Message (2007), Roy Roberts & Friends Blues & Soul Review (2006) and Sicily Moon (2006).
Roy has been busy touring Europe. And, of course, he plays Pinehurst and Greensboro. In fact, he’s been doing gigs with Barbara Carr, which brings me back to why he called me this time.
If you’ve been listening to The Surf, you may have heard the duet he’s put out with Barbara, “It’s Only You.” It’s a real smooth R&B tune with a definite shag groove for all you SOS-ers in town for Fall Migration. (Interestingly, this is also the title track for his latest CD, but not the duet version.) 
Barbara Carr began singing as a child in church in St. Louis, Missouri. She and her sisters sang throughout Missouri as the Crosby Sisters. She got her first record deal with Chess Records, where she recorded. While with Chess, she would record “I Can’t Stop Now” and “Think About It Baby.” In 1984, she recorded Good Woman Go Bad at Wishbone Studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama – on her own BarCar label. Following that, she released Street Woman. In 1996 she signed with blues and soul blues label Ecko Records, where she has recorded eight CDs, including her compilation Best of Barbara Carr. Currently Carr is recording with Hollister Entertainment Group. She has been twice honored by Living Blues magazine as Female Artist of the Year.
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