C.W. Stoneking w/ Jazzputin at Portsmouth Book & Bar
From Australia to New Hampshire, C.W. Stoneking plays Portsmouth Book & Bar with opening support from local favorites Jazzputin. Music, stories and auditory adventures for all.
8pm Doors / 9pm show / $10 presale / $15 day of show
C.W. Stoneking is an artist for whom unexpected is probably the default setting. How else to describe such a fine purveyor of American roots music who also happens to be a towering, youthful faced white Australian man? He surprises first
time listeners, throws curveballs at long time fans,and
everything he does contains at least some background level of bafflement for all involved.
There are multitudes in Stonekings music. Its probably easiest to describe him as a blues artist, but the term disguises what makes his music special. Theres so much in there. A 1920s pre
war blues sound is key, but theres almost equal
helpings of New Orleans jazz, jug band music, hokum, country and calypso, and hes lately brought in elements of jump jive, early rocknroll and gospel. His gift is that he brings them all together without anything sounding out of place.
He finds the strands that connect all of these different styles and gently braids them together. Its what he values more than anything: Its getting everything to unify really. The music,
the flow of it, keeping it moving, with no dead
spots. Then I guess having the lyrics and the meaning that flows in that too, you know? Getting it all to knit together in a way that, if you didnt speak English maybe, youd still be able to feel the melody, or the sounds of the words. If you did, then the meaning would also flow. Thats sort of what Im
trying to do, I guess.
When so many on the blues scene are trying to sound
authentic whatever that is its that unity of sound that allows Stoneking to actually achieve it, and with apparent ease, too. Back in the day, no one was just a blues musician, or a jazz or country musician, and so neither is he.
Stonekings work can never really be second guessed; you never know what youre going to get.
After charming his audiences with acoustic parlour guitars,
National resonators, tenor banjos and a band laden with brass on his first two albums, he dropped all of that to go electric with his latest, 2014s GonBoogaloo, which was all about his Fender Jazzmaster and doo wop backing vocals. While acoustic is still in his plans (his most recent tour was a solo affair:
just him and a gorgeous 1937 Epiphone Deluxe), it seems like hes ditched the banjo for good; hes been known to go on the occasional but vicious antibanjo tirade. When I try to ask him about it, he suffices with I have to be careful
with what I say. People get angry about that sort of stuff.
Maybe hes been advised by his lawyers. Maybe its just part of his own epic, enigmatic legend.
Storytelling is one of his most potent powers. That man knows how to spin a yarn. He started his musical life in high school, but asked if he was a blues artist back then, he says: I wouldnt have said I was an artist of anything, except for maybe a bullshit artist! It would seem that never really changed.
He has the air of an old vaudeville master, a carnival caller or maybe a market huckster. By 2008, the UK was in the middle of a mini blues boom sparked by the successes of Seasick Steve, and a good story was all important.
Each artist had to have their own romantic blues myth for cachet, and Stoneking had the tallest tales in his backstory, rejecting the down home believability of the aforementioned Steve for way out parody. His thing was that he had worked for
a time as an assistant to a witch doctor in New Orleans, before getting drunk and finding himself on a ship bound for the Congo, only to get shipwrecked and land on a beach in Gabon...it was a saga that got more madcap and rambling with each retelling. Im sure I recall hearing some sort of narrative detour to a
dildo farm at one point. These are stories to be taken with a bucket of salt.
Portsmouth Book and Bar (View)
40 Pleasant St.
Portsmouth, NH 03857
|Kid Friendly: Yes!|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|