Tucson music showcase at SXSW



Forget Nashville. Austin, maybe, Portland, perhaps but Tucson is the city that really gets Blabber’n’Smoke salivating when it comes to fine music. We’ve mentioned several artists who are based there including Giant Sand, Naim Amor, Marianne Dissard (thanks to our friends at Vacilando ’68) and Calexico and regularly dip into the likes of Al Perry, Rich Hopkins and Tasha Bundy when we’ve a moment to spare. With honorary citizens such as the legendary Dan Stuart and Steve Wynn the Tucson connections spread far and wide and although there isn’t such a thing as a “Tucson” sound it’s fair to say that the city has been a hot bed of talent for the past few decades, Fish Karma included. So when the tickertape on our foreign affairs desk spewed out the news that the recently launched music label Tucson Music Factory was to showcase two events at the forthcoming SXSW Austin music festival we waited with baited breath for the details of our flight, sadly these were not forthcoming however we did feel honour bound to mention this.

Tucson Music Factory along with the Tucson Weekly newspaper and community radio station KXCI-FM are promoting two nights at the festival, the first on Wednesday 13th March at the Brass House, 115 San Jacinto and then on Saturday 16th March at the Speakeasy 412 Congress Av. Details of the line-ups are below and while it’s Giant Giant Sand who might be the attention grabbers we’d urge you to have a listen to the others especially the mighty Gabriel Sullivan & Taraf de Tucson who should be first in the queue for the next Tarantino soundtrack. These promise to be two fine nights of the finest south west/border music around with dusty trails and Mexican exotica leavened with a European sensuality and it’s with envy that we can only sit here in the old UK and listen to the records at the moment. If any readers do manage to attend do let us know and send a review in.

Brass House 115 San Jacinto Wednesday March 13th

Spain http://www.spaintheband.com/
Marianne Dissard & Budo http://www.mariannedissard.com
Sammy Decoster http://www.myspace.com/sammydecoster
Fredda http://www.fredda-music.com
Transcription Of Organ Music http://transcriptionoforganmusic.bandcamp.com
Naïm Amor http://naimamor.com/

FB event : https://www.facebook.com/events/252994248143719/

Speakeasy 412 Congress Av. Saturday, March 16th

Giant Giant Sand http://giantsand.com/
Y La Orkesta http://www.myspace.com/ylaorkesta
Gabriel Sullivan & Taraf de Tucson http://gabrielsullivanmusic.com/
Chicha Dust http://hotelcongress.com/music/chicha-dust/
Tesoro http://www.tesorotucson.com/
Andrew Collberg http://andrewcollberg.com/

FB event : https://www.facebook.com/events/130849980389037/

And just to whet the appetite here’s a slice of Gabriel Sullivan & Taraf de Tucson

Marianne Dissard. L’Entredeux.

A while back we reviewed Susie Hug’s latest album, recorded in Tucson with the help of Calexico, here Marriane Dissard performs a similar trick with an album produced by Calexico’s Joey Burns, recorded in Tucson and released on the same label, Vacilando ‘68.
Dissard is a filmmaker who relocated to Tucson with her then partner, Naim Amor, several years ago. She was the femme fatale vocalist who graced the Calexico song The Ballad of Cable Hogue on their Hot Rail album leading to her setting out as a recording artist in her own right. The title L’Entredeux can be translated as in between two and reflects her position as a singer very much in the French chanteuse tradition but recording with some of the cream of Tucson Americana musicians. Burns produces and plays guitar, bass and piano (and wrote the music for the majority of the songs), band mate John Convertino adds his unique shuffle and Willie Nelson’s harmonica player Mickey Raphael pops up on one song. In addition Dissard’s ex partner Naim Amor (another honorary Tucsonian) writes, sings and plays on several tracks.
While there is none of Calexico’s epic Mexicana forays on display, the committed listener will recognise Burns’ (and indeed Convertino’s) fingerprints all over the album. To Burns’ credit he has not produced an album of Cable Hogue retreads but added a deeply sensual backdrop to Dissard’s excellent voice. The songs are very much in the European tradition ranging from the Djangoesque Les Draps Sours to the Europop confection that is Les Confettis but any similarities to Eurovision pap are firmly stamped out as the players add layers and embellishments that drip with conviction. The best example is Flashback with its strong guitar outro while Merci De Rein Du Tout is sublime in its multilayered form.
Over it all is Dissard’s voice, strong, sultry, sexy, at times she sounds like a successor to Juliette Gréco, a soundtrack for anyone for whose vision of cool is early Godard, Gauloise cigarettes and left bank beatniks. When she sings on Sans Facon the effect is hair raising while Cayenne seeks out another (sometimes) French speaker from the Americas in the form of Leonard Cohen.
While Dissard sings all the words in French one doesn’t need to understand them in order to succumb to this album’s beauty.
Available via the internet for some time this UK release has two live songs added and is available here while Dissard’s website is here

Merci De Rein Du Toit listen