It is August and every August my mind turns to the local festival "The Subdued Stringband Jamboree" an annual festival in these parts that I've been attending since I moved to Bellingham in 2004. By now, I suspect, I would need therapy if I missed a year as nothing would be quite right with me after it passed and I wasn't somehow witness to the revelry. But I digress. It is August and the Jam is on my mind and so are all of the fine musicians, circus performers, dancers and general ya-hoos ever-present at that spectacular. I was thinking that I would feature one of those performers for this month but could not decide which one to choose until I was out a few nights ago and there across the room sat Louis Ledford listening to a performer. Later I was walking when up shuffled Ledford's "So Long" from his album "Adious King" into my headphones like an order from a celestial head waiter. Reminded how much I love his work, my decision was made. Lewis Ledford it is for August.
Ledford is an incredible song writer. I have slipped one or two of his tunes on to compilation disks years ago in hopes people would recognize what a great talent he is and buy his music...or go see him play. He moved to Bellingham recently but he hails from the south and you can hear it in his song with the rich, mellow storytelling he employs. His songs are woven with the kind of poetry that begs more than just one listen. I always hear something new in his work each time I hear it and I never tire of it surfacing on my mp3 player. I'm no musician so I'm not going to make a fool out of myself talking what I don't know. What I can say about his playing is that every song is laced with a sense of intimacy that is so smooth and comforting that you really never even notice you've been worked on until the song has ended. He's got his weapons and he knows how to use them. The music delivers...the dreamy lure of fine musicianship and then the keen wording sinking the hook. I don't know how he does it but I know it is righteous. I see he's on the roster for this year's Jam and I'm looking forward to seeing him play.
Unfortunately, I can't find a widget to post for the month at the top of my blog so you will just have to look at his picture and hum along to the CD you buy here....or you can click on the picture and enjoy listening to some Amazon clips. Equally unfortunate there is not much video of Ledford out there that isn't lengthy, so you'll have to suffer my sad effort of capturing his work a few years ago. I took a couple of videos of him playing the Jamboree and posted them on YouTube before it occurred to me that some performers frown on that when you don't ask permission so I stopped the practice of posting what I record. This one went up before I became enlightened, however, and with apologies to everyone concerned for the poor quality, I offer it to you here. Buy his CDs. They will bring you great joy.
Lengthier videos with better quality are offered up by globalmojo here and here