Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Shopkeeper – A film by Rain Perry

Mark Hallman at Congress House Studio

A film by Rain Perry

I first discovered singer-songwriter Rain Perry in 2003 when Tom Russell sang her beautiful song “Yosemite” on a promo EP sent out in conjunction with his Modern Art album. I believe he recorded the song during the sessions for that album at Mark Hallman’s Congress House Studio in Austin, Texas. About a decade later, I wrote about Rain’s album Men, which was also recorded at Congress House with Mark as producer, principal accompanist and occasional songwriting collaborator.

Rain Perry
Rain’s latest project is a highly interesting and engaging documentary film called The Shopkeeper which, on the surface, tells the story of Mark Hallman’s career as a musician – he was a principal in the ‘70s band Navarro and worked extensively as a sideman with Dan Fogelberg and Carole King – recording engineer and record producer, and of his Congress House Studio, by now the longest-running recording studio in Austin, one of the great American music cities.

But, more than that, the film looks at how the music business has changed over the decades of Mark’s career and at the existential issues facing artists, recording studios and record companies in an era where the public wants to consume music without paying for it.

Rain effectively uses comments and commentaries from artists – some who I know well, some whose music is familiar to me, some who I’d not heard of before – including Mark Hallman, of course, Tom Russell, Eliza Gilkyson, Ani DiFranco, Andrew Hardin, Sarah Hickman, Iain Matthews and many others. These artists lend much insight both to the stories of Congress House and to how the underlying issues of a changing music business have affected them and their careers. There are several terrific segments where singer-songwriter Jon Dee Graham uses facts and figures (with charts) to show the financial changes in the music business over the years.

Along the way we get to hear some of the great music that has been made at the Congress House over the years and bear witness to Mark’s struggle to keep the studio economically viable.

The Shopkeeper is a film that should be seen by anyone interested in understanding what it means to be an independent roots music artist in these times.

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--Mike Regenstreif

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Saturday Morning with Mike Regenstreif – CKCU – Saturday September 16, 2017

Saturday Morning is an eclectic roots-oriented program on CKCU in Ottawa heard live on Saturday mornings from 7 until 10 am (Eastern time) and then available for on-demand streaming. I am one of the four rotating hosts of Saturday Morning and base my programming on the Folk Roots/Folk Branches format I developed at CKUT in Montreal.

CKCU can be heard at 93.1 FM in Ottawa and on the web.

This episode of Saturday Morning can be streamed on-demand at

Extended feature – Highway 61 Revisited – Revisited: Various artists reimagine the songs from Bob Dylan’s classic 1965 album.

Julian Fauth- Frankie & Johnny
The Weak and the Wicked, the Hard and the Strong (Electro-Fi)

Steel Rail- That’s How the Summer Slips Away
River Song (Crossties)
David Francey- Far End of Summer
Far End of Summer (Laker)
Chris Ronald- Everything Goes Green
Fragments (Borealis)
Laura Smith- My Bonny
B’tween the Earth and My Soul (Cornermuse)

KC Groves- Little Rain
Happy Little Trees (KC Groves)
Tom Rush, Jamie Hartford, Odetta, Emmylou Harris, Carolyn Hester, Nanci Griffith & Frank Christian- Wasn’t That a Mighty Storm
Other Voices, Too (A Trip Back to Bountiful) (Elektra)
Garnet Rogers- Hallelujah! The Great Storm is Over
Speaking Softly in the Dark (Snow Goose Songs)
Barbara Jo Kammer- I Can See Clearly Now
One Song at a Time (BJK)

John McCutcheon- The Machine
single (Appalsongs)

Matthew Byrne- Long Years Ago
Horizon Lines (Matthew Byrne)
The Jeremiahs- The Femme Fatale of Maine
The Femme Fatale of Maine (The Jeremiahs)
Tom Russell- All on a Belfast Morning
Folk Hotel (Frontera)

Bruce Cockburn- Looking and Waiting
Bone On Bone (True North)
Claire Lynch- All the Diamonds in the World
North By South (Compass)
Lynn Miles w/Keith Glass- Surrender, Dorothy
Road (Lynn Miles)
Shawna Caspi- Brave Parade
Forest Fire (Shawna Caspi)

Too Sad for the Public w/Suzzy Roche- All Along
David Myles- Dreaming
Real Love with David Myles (Little Tiny Records)
Beyond the Pale-Hora
Ruckus (Borealis)
Beyond the Pale- Bulgar
Ruckus (Borealis)
Christine Lavin- What the Hell was That?
Spaghettification (Christine Lavin)

Jodi Jean & Aylon- Like a Rolling Stone
Bobfest (Jodi Jean & Aylon)
Tim O'Brien- Tombstone Blues
Red On Blonde (Sugar Hill)
Colleen Peterson- It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry
Beginning to Feel Like Home (Capitol)
Ken Hamm- From a Buick 6
Live ’05 (North Track)
Ben Sidran- Ballad of a Thin Man *
Dylan Different (Bonsai) 

*Ben Sidran’s version of “Ballad of a Thin Man” was actually not heard because the CD would not play in either of the CD players in the studio. I left it on the playlist as it was an essential component of this extended feature.

Jimmy LaFave- Queen Jane Approximately
The Night Tribe (Music Road)
Joan Osborne- Highway 61 Revisited
Songs of Bob Dylan (Womanly Hips Music)
Tom Russell & Joe Ely- Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues
Folk Hotel (Frontera)
Chris Smither- Desolation Row
Train Home (HighTone)

Shelley Posen- Ram in the Thicket
Manna (Well Done Music)
Robin Greenstein- Here I Am (Hineni)
Tears and Laughter (Windy Records)

Ball & Chain- You’re Gonna Change (Or I’m Gonna Leave)
Trouble All the Time (Ball & Chain)
Dakota Dave Hull & Sean Blackburn- There’ll Be Some Changes Made
Rob Lutes- Rabbit
Walk in the Dark (Lucky Bear)

Kat Goldman- The One to Dream
The Sherman Holmes Project w/Joan Osborne- Dark End of the Street
The Richmond Sessions (M.C.)
Jack Tempchin- It’s Your World Now
Peaceful Easy Feeling: The Songs of Jack Tempchin (Blue Elan)

Dakota Dave Hull- New Shirt
Under the North Star (Arabica)

I’ll be hosting Saturday Morning next on October 14.

Find me on Twitter. @MikeRegenstreif

--Mike Regenstreif