“Aisches chayill mi yimtza v’rachouk m’pninim michra/Batach b’alev b’alala v’schalal lo yechsar . . . .” For two weeks in October, the rotunda in Montreal’s Square Victoria metro station rang with these words, sung a cappella in a rich, mild, female voice. The song was broadcast from a tape recorder hidden in a kiosk, and its content, for many, was as veiled as its source. Minimally, one would have been aware that this was an ethnic song, drawn from what Quebecers call a “cultural community.” Perhaps one would have known well, upon entering the space, that the song’s language was Hebrew. Plaques at the rotunda’s entrances identified it as a prayer sung by Orthodox Jewish men before the Sabbath meal in homage to their wives. Untranslated, dislocated, the song was sufficient – or inadequate enough – to make a few passersby stop and weep.
The portrait painting was part of photo to painting, a service sponsored jointly by Paint My Photo and Cobalt Art Actuel, organizers of a city-wide tour of artists’ studios. Recapitulating the now-classic modernist move of taking public space as one’s atelier, Neumark let the site and its transient population shape the art. The concrete ceilings and floors of the rotunda gave the song an eerie, resonant tone. The brick walls lent form and support to the visual component of photo to paintings: a photo-based mural depicting fragments of handmade oil paintings from photos. Cut into hundreds of canvas paintings that conformed to the shape of individual bricks, stuck to the wall by removable oil paintings, the custom portrait from photo could be arranged as the artist had designed it: into a horizontal band that stretched neatly around the circumference of the rotunda, with photos of sculptural heads grouped on one section of the wall, canvas wall art of torsos on another, and images of lower limbs on another. Or the oil painting could be disarranged and recomposed by pencil drawings. One day, two women, invited by the artist to do what they wished to the painting from photo, took it apart completely, until no images into paintings or order were apparent. Each day, a few metro passengers and members of the studio tour elected to move a photo into painting or two themselves, perhaps placing a piece of portrait painting near a virgin’s knee, or returning a bit of hair to a devout mother’s head.
How might an ethnic song, a Hebrew song, a song sung on the Sabbath by Orthodox Jewish men to their wives relate to this public space, this fragmented painted portrait, these picture paintings, fleeting acts? What light can modernist elements like concrete architecture, mechanical reproduction, and the exercise of converting photo to canvas painting, and dog portrait paintings in particular? Viewed from one of the piece’s most interesting paintings of pets, they cast no light at all. In Trace(s), modernist elements served as something other than charcoal portraits. They acted as screens or stains behind which a custom portrait painting from photo – wedding portrait – faded.
Voice has become a primary marker of female ethnicity in modern North American culture, whose Jewish sweethearts are, at present, that grande dame of blockbuster musicals, Barbra Streisand, and TV’s “flashy girl from Flushing,” Fran Drescher. Voice is made to mark an equally caricatural female type in Orthodox Jewish culture: the dangerously carnal woman. Thus, Orthodox wives are forbidden from singing songs in public – religious songs included – on the grounds that they might incite sexual desire in men other than their husbands. In Neumark’s piece, voice also marked femininity, ethnicity, and sensuality; but here these terms were disassociated from big hair, loud clothes, profane blood, and any other typically fetishized Jewish female attributes. The recording of Aisches Chayill – sung by trained vocalist Helene Engel and mixed with the aid of musician Danielle Boutet – contained no hints of the sort of trauma or excess that one tends to search for, fixate upon, and try to own like a kitsch object in contemporary representations of Jewishness and femaleness alike. One apprehended the song as a series of moderate echoic traces, reverberating against unreflective, nonmirrorical concrete surfaces and Christian photo to oil, then fading out.
This fading was accompanied by an enactment of mourning that occurred quite apart from the funereal icons in the space. Indeed, these monumental paintings of glorified Christian femininity had been sent through a computer editing program, where they were twisted, broken apart, and otherwise altered before being sent through a laser printer and cut into hundreds of little brickshaped pieces. Hovering between the extreme poles of ideality and aggressivity, these images suggested what resistance to loss and grief can look like. By contrast, the artist’s performed interactions with the piece showed mourning happening. For short periods each day Neumark interacted with the recording of Aisches Chayill, pacing in slow circles around the kiosk at the rotunda’s center. Sometimes she sang along with the tape in her quirky, alto voice, searching out a harmony with the absent singer or her song. Occasionally she responded to the call of the tape by stomping her feet and shouting out hard, guttural syllables – “chaaaa,” she would yell out. Most often, she paced in meditative silence.
There were many ways to interact with Trace(s). One could fix on its transgressive aspects, attending to how the piece redefined the artist’s studio and metro entertainment in one blow. One could treat the lyrics of its song – which, translated, reference a “woman of valor” who is industrious, wise, strong, and, consequently, worth “far more than rubies” – as affirmative expressions of Jewish feminist identity. One could wonder at the technology the artist had employed, contemplating its hand-painted oil painting from photo like a good citizen of the global village. Alternately, one could weep, as I did, while the syllables “ai-sches-chayill-miyim-tzah” receded behind these things.
Burrito Deluxe has established themselves as one of the top country rock bands working today. Esteemed Music Row critic, Robert K. Oermann says of their latest album; “Absolutely essential listening – sounds like an instant classic.” And All Music Guide recently called Burrito Deluxe “A country music supergroup.” Chances are, you’ve been listening to these guys for a good part of your life, possibly, without realizing it. Their combined resumes read like a “Who’s Who” of popular music.
Carlton Moody and Walter Egan combine their amazing musical and vocal talents to create the magical sound at the heart of Burrito Deluxe. Moody, of the multiple Grammy® nominated Moody Brothers is featured on guitars, mandolin, and lead vocals. He has performed at such prestigious settings as the White House and the Grand Ole Opry. Egan, best known for the 1978 million-selling single “Magnet and Steel,” shares the electric guitar work and adds lead and harmony vocals. He has performed with Jackson Browne, Spirit, Wanda Jackson, and Linda Ronstadt.
Burrito Deluxe was founded in 2000 by Moody and “Sneaky” Pete Kleinow, pedal steel guitar legend. “Sneaky” Pete was also the co-founder of the Flying Burrito Brothers along with Gram Parsons, Chris Hillman and Chris Ethridge. The Flying Burrito Brothers innovative California-style sound heralded the arrival of country rock and influenced a whole generation of later bands, including the Eagles, Pure Prairie League, Poco, and many others. Burrito Deluxe has a long history of featuring legendary musicians in the band, including, Garth Hudson, the keyboard genius from The Band, and the amazing Richard Bell, who worked with Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, The Band, Bonnie Raitt, and Ronnie Hawkins.
Burrito Deluxe continues to feature individuals who have illustrious musical pedigrees. And, true to that, Moody and Egan hand-pick outstanding musicians and vocalists to join Burrito Deluxe in the studio and in concert, including, “Supe” Granda, one of the founders of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils on bass guitar and vocals, Joy Lynn White, an outstanding Country/Americana vocalist, and Marty Grebb, on keyboards and vocals, who has worked with Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Nicks, and many others. Together, they create a formidable sound that is winning fans across the U.S. and in Europe.
Burrito Deluxe has released three albums: 2002’s Georgia Peach, a tribute to Gram Parsons, 2004’s The Whole Enchilada, and their latest and best, the critically acclaimed Disciples Of The Truth, recorded for Luna Chica Records with producer Greg Archilla (Matchbox 20, Neil Young, Santana, Collective Soul). The CD also contains the historical final studio recordings of “Sneaky” Pete.
One listen to Burrito Deluxe proves that these musical trailblazers are still finding inspiration and new directions in the sound they helped create.
I TRAVELLED down to the Soul Café in Maidstone, Kent to interview Carlton Moody and Jeff “Stick” Davis of Burrito Deluxe. For the benefit of our UK readers who may not know of them I asked them a few questions.
MA: How was the band formed and where did the name come from.
CM: The band was formed about five years ago. We recorded an album called Georgia Peach, which was a tribute to Gram Parsons. We had “Sneaky” Pete Kleinow, (who was a co-founder of The Flying Burrito Brothers), Tommy Spurlock and myself. The three of us really started the band. We wanted to get Sneaky out playing a little more, as he had not been playing a lot. He had been working on his film career. Sneaky actually named the band after the 1970 Flying Burrito Brothers album, Burrito Deluxe.
MA: Was the band formed with any specific brand of music in mind.
CM: We first started, playing some good Country Rock Music, Americana, is just a mixture. Pete was a big influence on that in the early years. He gave us the chance to make a record and go start playing some gigs.
MA: Are you all original members of the band, or do you employ guest musicians from time to time.
CM: We do use guest musicians from time to time. For example on our new record. Disciples of the Truth, Sneaky Pete plays steel guitar on some tracks. We also used four other steel guitar players on it.
MA: What instruments do each member of the band play and who takes the vocals.
CM & JD: This is Carlton, I’m the lead singer or one of them, Walter Egan is also a lead singer. I play banjo, mandolin and some guitar parts, both Acoustic and Electric. Walter plays Electric Guitar and as I said he takes lead vocals and also harmony vocals. Stick plays bass, both stand up and electric and he also does harmony vocals as well. Bryan Owings plays drums. Unfortunately our keyboard player, Richard Bell, fell ill right before we left. He has a very serious illness. He’s a great keyboard player and has been playing with us for about a year, since Richard Manuel passed away. We wish him all the best.
MA: A lot of people in the UK will be familiar with the name Carlton Moody as you have toured over here with the Moody Brothers. Have any other members of the band toured over here with other bands.
JD: I certainly have, about fourteen years ago, I did three or four tours with Billy Joe Spears, played “Blanket on the Ground” many times. I spoke to her not long ago to see if she felt like coming back. Also I’m from a band, The Amazing Rhythm Aces. We have toured a few times. I have been over a few times playing blues tours. I have also been over several times with different artists. That also goes for Bryan Owings our drummer. He’s been over a few times with different artists. He’s toured with Delbert McClinton, Buddy Miller and the Rhythm Aces. Walter Egan has also been to England several times. We all like to come across the pond and play a little country music now and then, very appreciative audiences over here.
MA: I understand you have a new CD out, is this tour to promote this CD in Europe.
CM & JD: The album, entitled, Disciples of the Truth, has not been officially released yet, not even in the States, so this tour is more of a promotion, just to touch base and get back to letting people know we have a new album, that’s out, but not officially, this is a sort of preview.
MA: I have not heard the CD as yet, could you tell me a little about the songs on it, which ones are your favourites and who wrote them.
JD & CM: There are several great songs on there, some came from within the band and also some from great Nashville songwriters. We have a co-write amongst us in there, it’s called, “All Right on the Wrong Side of Town”. It’s a three quarters slow kind of song but it has a lot of energy in there and it’s fun to play. As we said there are a lot of great songs on the album. Carlton has written a couple of them and Walter has written several. As we said we do have some great songs from the Nashville songwriters that we brought to the table, these are all originals, no covers.
MA: Are you thinking of releasing any of the tracks as a single.
CM & JD: We have one out right now, called, “Midnight at a Red Light”, written by George Hamilton V, who’s a friend of ours. Yes that’s our new single for Europe and it’s out there as we speak.
MA: What else can you tell me about yourselves.
CM & JD: We just enjoy what we do. We love touring the world, taking American music styles to different countries, people seem to enjoy it and we’ll keep on doing that until something else comes along.
MA: Thank you very much for taking the time to talk to me, I hope you have a brilliant tour of the UK and Ireland and I also hope the new CD does well for you. I hope to see you over here again in the future.
I would recommend that everybody in the UK, goes to see Burrito Deluxe when they are next over here, they are absolutely brilliant. If any fans are looking for canvas art of band and music, try cheapwallarts.com, they have a large number of discount wall art online. Both of them have good price and customer service.
Fans “Freaked,” Gurus “Geeked,” Faces “Featured,” Tunes “Touted,” and “Righteous” Music Was Made by the “Disciples of the Truth,” Burrito Deluxe at CMA Music Fest 2007!
Fan Fair was a blast! We signed autographs at our booth, shook hands and kissed babies (or was that “babes”? ….well, babes of all ages!).
And we made some great music while almost 200,000 fans ate, drank, sweated, rocked, waited in long autograph lines, and generally had the time of their lives at the biggest gathering in Country music in Nashville, June 7-10.
One fan named Paul “Freaked” out when he learned that we had a connection to the Flying Burrito Brothers, and he spent some time with us at the booth recalling how he had seen the ‘Bros. in the early ‘70s, and practically every other County Rock band that was influenced by “Sneaky,” Gram and the boys at the time. Many other fans made the connection, but Paul wins the “Breakfast Burrito” award for being the most excited about it. Possibly decaf may be in the cards…. Just kiddin’ Paul – you Rock, dude!
Rhapsody Music Guru, Eric Shea, “Geeked” out with Carlton and Walter in an in-depth audio interview that will be posted on their website soon. Eric has to be the most educated media person about all things Burrito. What a cool guy!
Walter delighted Eric with many stories of his early days in D.C. spent with Gram and his muse, Emmylou Harris, and about the song he wrote for them, “Hearts on Fire” which was waxed as a beautiful duet by the pair on Gram’s Grievous Angel album. Carlton talked about “Sneaky” and why he was one of the most sought-after session steel guitar players that ever lived: “When “Sneaky” played, he went for it – you never knew what you were going to get — but you knew it was going to be great!” Carlon exclaimed. That is why everyone from John Lennon to the Bee Gees invited him to be part of their albums. Carlton also talked about one-time Burrito member, keyboard genius, Garth Hudson, and his amazing skills on the ivories, and his studio wizardry. Anyway, Eric is one straight-up guy.
We got lots of super “ink” during the week. Just in time for Fan Fair, the Nashville Music Guide “Featured” Carlton and Walter’s faces on their cover, and had a wonderful story about Burrito Deluxe in the June/July issue of the magazine. Thanks to Brad Fischer and Dan Wunsch for helpin’ us to spread some ”Burrito” love around town!
Country Weekly gave ‘Disciples of the Truth’ a hearty thumbs up, “Touting” our tunes with a 3 ½ star CD review in the June 18 issue. Thanks to Chris Neal and Larry Holden for getting the word out around the world!
We had 3 super live shows during the festival. The first one, on Friday morning at 10:30 am (is anyone really awake at this hour?) was at the Chevy Stage by the Nashville Arena.
Once we propped our eyes open with toothpicks and the adrenaline kicked in, we proceeded to rock the enthusiastic crowd of “early birds” with some “Righteous” music. We were joined onstage by “Deluxe” players, “Supe” Granda on bass (many of you know him from his great recordings and on-stage antics with the Ozark Mountain Daredevils), Bryan Owings on drums (check out his great grooves with Americana sweethearts, Buddy and Julie Miller, and on our own ‘Disciples’ CD), Marty Grebb on keys (he’s one great and talented man – folks like Eric Clapton and Stevie Nicks think so too), and steel man Tony Paletta. Afterward, Carlton, Walter and Marty signed autographs at the booth.
Friday night, we rocked at the Music Row haunt, On The Rocks, where we were joined by the multi-talented Justin David, who opened for us, then jammed with us on the fiddle for the whole night.
Wow! What a super guy. Watch for him on tour with Roy Clark, and at his own shows. Old friends and collaborators joined us for an evening of fun. Rick Schell sang with us on a tune (Rick was part of the groups Poco and Pinmonkey), and Earl “Bud” Lee (who wrote the barroom anthem, “Friends in Low Places” for Garth) brought some fun and laughter with him, and hoisted a toast to us. And lastly, but certainly not leastly? (is that a word?), Pittsburg, Pennsylvania songbird, Susan McCloskey, joined us onstage for a powerful duet with Walter of the previously mentioned “Hearts on Fire.” Wow!!! How about them apples? Too cool Susan!!! Did anybody have a recorder on?
Saturday night it was time to get down to business on “Lower Broadway” for an 8:00 o’clock show at Cadillac Ranch. The packed house really dug our grooves, and Susan joined us again for a reprise of the killer duet.
Eric Shea “hung” out and dug the scene, and many friends and well-wishers came to enjoy our tunes.
By the end of the festival on Sunday, we were exhausted – but happy to have met so many great people, and to have had the chance to make lots of new fans. We wish to thank our great “behind-the-scenes” Burrito Deluxe team for everything: Michael Montana for putting together such an awesome booth for us! You da’man, Michael.
Our new fan club President, Sidney Walls, for all of your hard work to keep the fans happy (and also to Jackie for helping us in the booth). Our publicity man, Clif Doyal, for all the ink that we got during Fan Fair. Our manager, Brenda Cline for making sure that everything happens – when it needs to happen! And finally, to our Luna Chica Records label head, “King Burrito,” Paige Cofrin, for making all of this possible – we love you man!
Well, until next time, “Keep it between the ditches,” and thanks for all of your support! You fans are the reason we do this!!!
Beloved Keyboard Player for Janis Joplin and The Band Will be Remembered on Sunday August 26 at Lyrix
(Nashville, TN) August 21, 2007 — Renowned Canadian keyboardist, Richard Bell, who played with Janis Joplin and The Band, will be remembered by fans, friends, and colleagues, in a “Celebration of Life” service at 2:00 p.m. this Sunday, August 26, at Lyrix Music Bar and Cafe, 94 Peabody St., in Nashville.
Bell, who passed away in Toronto on June 15, began his professional career in the ‘60s as a member of Toronto band, the Last Words. He joined rockabilly artist, Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks as a keyboardist in the mid-‘60s. In 1969, he was approached by Albert Grossman, Janis Joplin’s manager, and was recruited for her Full Tilt Boogie Band. He played on her final studio album, Pearl. Bell joined The Band in 1991, performing on their albums, High on the Hog, Jubilation, and Jericho, for which he penned “Caves of Jericho.” An accomplished musician on piano, organ and accordion, Bell played on over 400 albums during his career, and performed with Bob Dylan, Judy Collins, Joe Walsh, Paul Butterfield, The Cowboy Junkies, Bruce Cockburn, and Bonnie Raitt. In addition, he produced a number of albums and worked on several film soundtracks.
At the time of his death, Bell was a member of the country-rock group, Burrito Deluxe, performing and contributing songs to their recent CD, Disciples Of The Truth. He also had been continuing his work on stage and in the studio with long-time collaborators, Colin Linden, Blackie & the Rodeo Kings and Pork Belly Futures.
For more information, please contact: Colin Linden @ 615.594.7377 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org